More dastardly doings at Temple Rita, where the Homecoming for the Long-Gone is rudely interrupted by the recently deceased.
Conceived by Permanent Chair of the Board Essie Sue Margolis as a fundraiser for her synagogue in Eternal, Texas (so small they apparently don’t know from kosher), Homecoming brings reluctant current congregants together with those who’ve moved on to greener pastures for a weekend of festivities that are more culinary than religious. But when the centerpiece of the opening reception, Essie Sue’s chopped liver mold with cream cheese icing, disappears, it isn’t an irate mish giach who spirited it away; it’s a cold-blooded killer who left a corpse in its place. Why Ruby Rothman (Hold the Cream Cheese, Kill the Lox, 2002, etc.), widow of Temple Rita’s late rabbi, feels it’s her job to investigate the murder is anyone’s guess, but at least it brings two suitors, reporter Ed Levenger and police chief Paul Lundy, circling around her pronto. Which is a lucky thing, since as her investigation moves forward—she grills inept Rabbi Kevin Kapstein and pokes away at reunion guests until she inevitably alerts the killer—she needs all the help she can get to avoid becoming the next victim.
Kahn’s bagels-and-lox view of Judaism, which makes religious practice sound like an endless round of committee meetings, adds little to an otherwise conventional romance-with-a-murder-thrown-in.