Page 200 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

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Raphael
192
of the slime of criminals, having been forced to the confront the
monstrous nature of violent death.
Many of the women populating these novels are marginally
identified as Jewish and are highly assimilated (as are the men), as
is the case in the real world. They include the Upper-Westside
lawyer Nina Fischman who first appeared in 1989, Marissa Pies-
man’s
Unorthodox Practices
, and Midge Cohen, a children’s fiction
writer living in Brooklyn, who first appeared in 1992 in Toni Brill’s
Date with a Dead Doctor.
There also is a St. Louis attorney Rachel
Gold, the creation of Michael Kahn, and a Philadelphia school
teacher, Amanda Pepper, the creation of Gillian Roberts.
A different view of the modern American Jewish woman can be
found in the traditional world of Rina Lazarus, the creation of Faye
Kellerman. Orthodox, and the widowed mother of two boys, she
falls in love with Los Angeles policeman Peter Decker and solves
one crime after another. The first in a growing series,
Ritual Bath
,
appeared in 1986. (Its originally proposed title was
Murder in the
Mikvah.)
Rina could match wits and prayers with Debra Laslow,
the daughter of an Orthodox rabbi and also in Los Angeles, and is
the creation of Rochelle M. Krich, who first appeared in 1996 in
Speak No Evil.
In both cases, the authors treat the reader to an in­
side view of traditional Jewish life in Southern California.
There are many more female sleuths worth solving crimes with.
Norma Gold (the creation of Herbert Resnicow), together with
her husband Alex, always finds a humorous way to solve the most
complicated Manhattan murders. Susan Isaacs, a well-known nov­
elist in her own right, has given us Rose Meyers, a public school
teacher, who outwits the Long Island police and solves the murder
of her ex-husband, in
A fter A ll These Years.
I particularly have en­
joyed the atmosphere and plot development in the Berkeley, Cali­
fornia, novels starring private eye Barrett Lake, created by Shelly
Singer. Finally, it is exciting riding in the cab with Boston P.I. Car-
lotta Caryle (the creation of Linda Barnes) who quotes her moth­
er’s Yiddish and refers to her father’s Irish ancestry.