Kahn's second has no dearth of plot; once again, a murder lays itself at the very doorstep of Ruby Rothman (Fax Me a
Bagel, 1998), widow of Rabbi Stu Rothman, late religious leader to the Jews of Eternal, Texas. This time, it's Hubert Bogardis,
known as Bogie, baseball coach of Essie Sue Margolis's pet project, the synagogue's Center for Bodily Movement, who is found,
dead as a lox, in front of the Center's batting machine by Ruby and Eternal's lunkish new rabbi, Kevin Kapstein. And there are
plenty of memorable characters to push the plot along: Harmon and Hetty Poundburn, proprietors of the Fit and Rural Ranch,
where Bogie had hoped to snag the post of athletic director; Ardis Sommerfield, Fit and Rural's power-suited social director; and
spiritual director Angel Elkin, a space shot from Silicon Valley who seems well on her way to becoming the second Mrs.
Kapstein. What's missing is a firmer sense of place. Ruby's first-person narrative, bolstered by her e-mails to her mysterious
friend Nan, tells you everything you want to know about her opinions, but tends to crowd out description. What does Eternal look
like? What does Police Chief Purdy, Ruby's best friend, sound like? And, aside from being three-legged, what kind of dog is
Ruby's faithful companion?
It's a bit like being inside the head of someone you're not sure you get along with. In channeling Ruby, Kahn robs her story
of any real satiric bite, just as she robs readers of the chance to find out what really went on at Eternal's Ecumenical Diet Seder.