Scribner, Sep 2002, 24.00, 290 pp.
In Eternal, Texas, Essie Sue Margolis persuades Ruby, the widow of the former rabbi, and the current rabbi Kevin Kapstein to host a Bar Mitzvah at Temple Rita for her two “lovable” third cousins, Larry and Lester Levee. Very quickly, Ruby and company find the two “terrible twelve” year olds to be monsters of the first order. However, with Essie masterminding the ceremony, the Bar Mitzvah should prove to be the social event of the season for the small congregation. To add luster, lox cutter grandmaster Herman Guenther will perform his miracle dicing and slicing.
Herman fails to show up at a meeting with Essie and Ruby so the two ladies journey to his home only to find the grandmaster murdered. While Essie bemoans the impact on the twin's Bar Mitzvah, Ruby investigates by back trailing where Herman has been to include Alaska and New Jersey. Ruby finds herself up to her gefilte fish in a lox conspiracy that dates back to the Nazi occupation of Denmark.
HOLD THE CREAM CHEESE, KILL THE LOX is an amusing cozy that provides the audience insight into pre-Bar Mitzvah training. The story line is humorous because of the actions of Essie groaning over the murder's impact on the Bar Mitzvah and the havoc caused by the non-mench twins. Though why Ruby and Essie gallivant to Alaska and New Jersey to solve the homicide seems weak, the motivation for murder is fun to follow. Sharon Kahn serves up a taste of Jewish American life with a few kibbutz to nosh on inside a cozy that is clearly not chopped liver.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner