Book: Fax me a Bagelby Sharon Kahn.
Genre/Category: Amateur detective mostly operating amid her friends and frenemies at her local synagogue.
Setup: Fortysomething widow Ruby Rothman is still known as “the Rabbi’s Wife” despite her husband’s death. When Marla, the sister of her nemisis on the synagogue board, is murdered, Ruby’s friend Milt is suspected. Ruby tries to figure out what’s going on – and learns more about her husband’s family in the process.
HAES message: Subtle. Ruby is healthy and comfortable with her size 14 self, despite the occasional needling of others at the synagogue: “I get to eat like a normal person, while Essie Sue calls a lettuce leaf lunch.”
Why’d I read it: Read a review on a web site :)
(warning: some spoilers follow)
- Good-natured, funny and smart mysteries.
- Ruby has a fun, readable “voice”.
- Ruby is healthy and in good shape. She swims, walks, climbs walls, and breaks up furniture when needed.
- Ruby is attractive.
- Ruby goes on dates and eventually maintains an ongoing relationship for several books.
- I like that Ruby is a freelance computer consultant – the tech field is pretty male-dominated, yes, but we women ARE out there!
- The plot is sometimes at the expense of consistent characterization.
- The synagogue scenes tend to focus on “nuttier” members of the congregation. This may be amusing or may make you wonder why Ruby’s there.
End message: Ruby is an average-sized woman who enjoys her life and isn’t obsessing about her weight.
Other notes: Never Nosh a Matzo Ball — the second book in the series — pokes fun at various diet groups, health spas, and weight loss programs, including:
- Diet Warehouse – “Diet Warehouse TV dinners are like your whole new life in a box, people….It’s all the groceries you need for a healthy life, except of course the fresh lettuce and veggies and fruit and stuff you need to buy at your regular grocery. Plus you get to report to your counselor for a fee. And for that same fee you get to buy all this stuff, people. And they’ll let you lose pounds for dollars.”
- “[A]t Snackers with No Names we get to lose weight for free. And it’s totally secret. Why, I can look around me at this very table and point out people who’ve lost over and over again.”
- There’s also Scale Gazers, where you can buy “advance admission coupons” to cover when you’re not there “because you might be cheating”.
I’m sure none of these sound familiar at ALL…! On a more serious note, one character goes on a crash diet, passes out, and wakes up in the hospital afterward. Ruby does not consider losing weight during the book (or any of other books to date).
Bottom line: I’ve bought the first book and have repeatedly read all the others from the library, so I’m starting to acquire the others too.