The Muse Book Review Archives

Chanuka Guilt reviewed by Alice Berger
Interview with Marcus Damanda by Pamela Jenewein
Loss of Innocence reviewed by Cheryl Malandrinos
Audio Classes by DDP reviewed by Lea Schizas
Interview with Michael Perronne
Cholesterol Down by Janet Bond Brill reviewed by Gene Berger
Diverting the Buddha reviewed by Barbara Ehrentreu
Launch Out Into the Deep reviewed by Mary Schneider
The Life Organizer reviewed by Alice Berger
Sixty-Minute Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing reviewed by Marcia Berneger
Swapping Paint reviewed by Christine I. Speakman
Through the Ages and The Sun is Hot reviewed by Christine Speakman


Genre:  Mystery

Title:  Chanukah Guilt

Author:  Ilene Schneider

Publisher:  Swimming Kangaroo Books

ISBN:  978-1-934041-31-4

Pages:  314

Price: $16.99

Rabbi Aviva Cohen, 50-something and twice-divorced, would never have chosen to officiate at an unpopular land developer’s funeral.  And his highly dysfunctional family won’t make it any easier on her, especially when one of his daughters asks to see her privately the day after the funeral.


When a second family member turns up dead, this time declared a suicide, the family starts to wonder.  Could both deaths have been murder?  Rabbi Cohen is dragged into the investigation when one family member threatens her with a lawsuit, and she’s compelled to search for answers.


Though the police are reluctant to reopen the two deaths as potential murder, they are forced to do so when Rabbi Cohen unearths some damaging evidence that supports foul play.  And her own emotional life is affected by her first ex-husband’s arrival to oversee the police department, as he involves himself in her efforts.


Amateur sleuthing is always dangerous, and Rabbi Cohen is lucky to survive the attempts on her life.  But she is successful in clearing her name as she figures out who would be willing to commit murder.


This story weaves Jewish culture and mystery in a delightful blend.  However, in portraying the rich and interesting social life Rabbi Cohen enjoys, both with her family and congregation, there are very many characters, occasionally causing some confusion to the reader.  But overall, this doesn’t detract from a well-crafted story and a satisfying conclusion.



Muse Book Reviewer: Alice Berger




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