DEATH AND STRUDEL by Dorothy Rosen


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Oy, are there problems at Boston’s Charles Street Pharmacy for widowed salesclerk Belle Appleman to solve. Owner Harry White's wife Rosalie tells Belle she thinks Harry's having an affair; fountain girl Marcia is all weepy and may be pregnant by Dr. Revak; and Eddie Plaut, the nice young pharmacist, is madly in love with Clara, only both sets of parents disapprove and she tosses him over, just before staggering into the drugstore and collapsing from a fatally botched (and illegal) abortion. Between fixing herself tuna sandwiches and malteds, selling Coty's Emeraude perfume, and practicing her Mae West eyelash flutter, her Joan Crawford snooty look, and her soothing Loretta Young voice, Belle decides to find out which doctor is the abortionist who killed Clara. One doctor is a lush, another is a drug addict, and another is perfect, except that he's 40, unmarried, and still living with his mom. Then Dr. Revak is murdered; the doctor who drinks is pushed to his death; and the whole cast turns out to be better fitted with guns than alibis. Belle goes dancing to Jimmy Dorsey, attends a free dish night at the movies, and uncovers blackmail and medical shenanigans, though she does get injected with cocaine by a pair of miscreants before her pals save her.

Belle's double-negative dialogue, meant to be endearing, palls quickly. And it takes more than Fibber McGee on the radio to convey an authentic ’30s atmosphere. Still, if you liked Death and Blintzes (1985), this will probably also be your cup of Mogen David.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-89733-478-7
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Academy Chicago
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2000