Thursday, December 4, 2008

Midlife Can Be Murder by Jane Isenberg

[I'm currently reading some older books that have been gathering dust on my bookshelves. Better late than never.]

In Midlife Can Be Murder, Bel is a middle-aged community college professor who, at the urging of a close friend, has decided to have her bat mitzvah. While at her study group at the synagogue, she runs into a former student, Ashley. Ashley's is upset because her colleague has died after a suspicious rock climbing episode. She convinces Bel to look into the matter. With her friends, Bel starts snooping by going undercover and investigating what looks like corporate espionage and other dangerous activities.

Good, fun read. I learned a little about Judaism, surveillance, "middle age malaise", and through Bel's profession a little about teaching in a community college. Isenburg's storyline was appealing and her characters were believable and hilarious. I especially liked the beginning of each chapter in which Isenburg features an email or similar correspondence from one of the other characters. Bel was my favourite character because of her dedication to her students, her commitment to her studies and her determination in solving the mystery despite her hectic and busy life. Other than Bel, there are a number of other wonderful characters in the book, but for me two of them stood out: Nathan and Illuminada.

Recommended for cozy mysteries lovers, especially if you're in midlife or interested in Judaism in funny situations.


  1. You know, Daisy, it's not often that you see the phrase "Judaism in funny situtaions". That peaked my interest, so I'll seek out a copy of this book based on that comment alone. You might also consider a book that my wife encourages all her friends to read. It's called "108th Street" by T.David Lee. Funny and sweet book about a 10 year-old kid growing up in the late 1950s. It's tough to find, though. My wife got it through on a whim and has passed it around to at least 10 of her friends.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll keep an eye out for it.

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