Who's poisoning Passover guests in Crestfall, Illinois? When Julia Donnelly brings chopped liver to her Torah group friend Devorah's seder, she has no idea it will result in mass poisoning, murder, and a connection to past arson. Julia, wife of Crestfall's mayor, and Rabbi Fine, Torah study group leader, become involved in a mystery surrounding Sophie's Kosher Deli. Someone is trying to put her out of business. Is it Lester Pintner, a developer who wants to put up a building, her good-for-nothing son Milton who wants to transform the store into a pool parlor, Sweet Cheeks, a mysterious woman who has attached herself to Milton, or perhaps Nate, another deli owner who wants to buy Sophie's store.
Meanwhile, Julia must also deal with challenges on the home front when her son Sammy refuses to go to school. She has a full plate!
How does she cope with everything? By teaming up with the Rabbi, using powers of observation and logic from Jewish tradition to solve a confusing puzzle of danger and greed!
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She plants in her garden or sits with her knitting, keenly watching the town’s goings on, listening very carefully to prattling gossip, and crafts a perfect solution to the crime every time. By the way, Ms. Christie was an equal opportunity cozy writer, including Hercule Poirot, the charming, observant Belgian in her stable of standout characters.
A cozy does not offer confrontational sex, violence or profanity. These are comfortable books, hence the moniker “cozy.” Although these books continue in the 21st century, they have begun to push the envelope in sex, violence, and profanity, but do not fear, dear readers, in this Torah Mystery Series, they will not ruffle your delicate sensitivities.
"As we say in Yiddish, Plotsu zolstu-fun naches"-- May you explode from pleasure...after reading this book. Enjoy!"
"Van Dusen's delightful adventure connecting past and present underscores the value of family ties and of sisterhood that goes beyond blood. Unraveling a mystery is only a layer of this faith journey for these courageous and entertaining Torah group members."
"Tuck in your napkins as Julia Donnelly, the mayor's wife, and Torah leader Rabbi Fine rush to convince the Crestfall police chief that someone is wreaking vengeance on kosher deli owner Sophie by poisoning her Passover customers. A feast of frightening and funny scenes to a delicious conclusion"
"This is everything a cozy mystery should be (but many aren't)—it has an engaging heroine who solves mysteries and grapples with serious domestic problems. It has a mystery to be solved and a journey to the solution that takes the reader, Jewish or Gentile, on a fascinating and sometimes humorous exploration of Jewish traditions and history"
"Susan Van Dusen is an artist the way she weaves the mystery of the missing hand through the tapestry of Julia's life and Torah group lessons, and ties together all the loose ends of the plot."
"Droll descriptions, peculiar partners, and a twisty mystery combine to create a great read. Highly recommended!"
"Wrap yourself in these friendships, wind your way through a tale of blind corners, sudden turns, and buckle up because in Book One, the story has just begun."