Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review: A Pain in the Tuchis by Mark Reutlinger

A Pain in the Tuchis: A Mrs. Kaplan Mystery

By Mark Reutlinger
Publisher: Alibi
Published: Nov. 17, 2015

Amazon Synopsis:

Combining the classic charms of Agatha Christie with the delightful humor of M. C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin novels, Mark Reutlinger’s Mrs. Kaplan mystery series returns as a notorious crank meets an untimely fate.
Yom Kippur is a day of reflection and soul searching. But at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors, Vera Gold misses this opportunity to atone for her many sins when she up and dies. Indeed, Vera was such a pain in the tuchis to all those around her that when her sister claims Vera was deliberately poisoned, the tough question isn’t who would want to kill her—but who wouldn’t? 
Having already solved one murder with her dear friend Ida, Rose Kaplan has a sleuthing reputation that precedes her. It’s only natural that Vera’s sister turns to Mrs. K for help. So do the police, but when her conclusions conflict with theirs, they tell her to butt out! This case has more twists than a loaf ofchallah. And with a homicidal scoundrel on the loose, Mrs. K has to act fast—or she might be the guest of honor at the Home’s next memorial service.

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 My Thoughts:

When a cranky resident at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors dies at the end of the day on Yom Kippur, no one is really all that sad. After all, she is such a pain in the tuchis to everyone. But Vera Gold’s sister claims that Vera was deliberately poisoned and asks Rose Kaplan for help.

Mrs. K and her friend Ida have little to go on and so do the police when they are called in. However, knowing how helpful she was in their last investigation in a murder at the home they ask Mrs. K for help in drawing up a list of suspects of who might want Vera dead.

A Pain in the Tuchis is written from the first person point of view through the eyes of Ida, Mrs. K’s friend. It seems as though she still thinks in her native language as she uses many Jewish words, although she translates them until we get used to the meaning of them. It’s as though Ida is a new immigrant friend from Israel who is struggling with the English language. I thought it added an authentic cultural feel to the book. Without it, the speech would have sounded just like any other American speaking.

The case seemed to be solved quite tidily about halfway through the book, but Mrs. K was not happy with the solution that the police had come up with so, despite their polite request to “butt out” she kept sleuthing.

There were a few interesting little side stories in Mrs. K’s and Ida’s life while their investigating went on which gave us more insight into their characters and added humour into the story. The twists and turns in the plot were well carried out in leading us to whom the real killer was.

A Pain in the Tuchis was a fun cozy mystery read. I have given it a rating of 4 stars out of 5.

Thank you to the publisher via NetGalley for providing a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

Mark Reutlinger is the author of the novel Made in China and the "Mrs. Kaplan" mystery series. He is a professor of law emeritus at Seattle University. Born in San Francisco, Mark graduated from UC Berkeley and now lives with his wife, Analee, in University Place, Washington.

When not reading or at his computer writing, Mark enjoys tennis, biking, playing the clarinet (in the Tacoma Concert Band), sports cars, and various arts and crafts. He wishes he had time for it all.

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