Knock Off the Old Block

Second in "Tension on a Pension" cozy mystery series
April 25, 202
By Carol Novis
Available on Amazon ($7.99), Kindle ($2.99) and Kindle Unlimited (free)
Reviewed by Eli Libenson  

Carol Novis continues to write delightful cozy mysteries. Knock off the Old Block is the second in her "Tension on a Pension" mystery series following Long in the Sleuth. The setting in both books is the Menorah Retirement Home in Aurora, Minnesota. The plot revolves around a distinctive piece of antique Judaica. The amateur sleuth in both books is Ellie Shapiro, a seventy-three-year-old resident of the home.

Carol dedicates her book to the memory of her late mother, Lil Matchan, "who inspired this book," and I can't help but think that Ellie Shapiro is a composite of Carol's mother's many virtues. This added an element of poignancy to my reading.

Knock off the Old Block is engaging and fun and includes a full cast of idiosyncratic characters that includes Tommy, the irascible and overworked non-Jewish chef; Ms. Robins, the prim and proper manager of the home whose overriding concern is the home's good name; Riva, the down-to-earth and blunt Holocaust survivor who is Ellie's best friend; and Hal, the bookish volunteer at the Jewish Community Archive who is Ellie's love interest (maybe).

Reading books about Jews of a certain age, especially when presented in a sympathetic and understanding way, can be very appealing. One reviewer of Carol's first book wrote, "This was a perfect cozy - just the right amount of suspense, a bit of not-too-gory murder, no bad language."

Another reviewer wrote, "The main characters have plenty of life left (until someone starts to murder them). I loved it." The same can be said of Knock off the Old Block.

I heartily recommend this book to the readership of ESRA Magazine. In addition to all of the above, Carol is a very active member of the magazine's editorial board and a frequent contributor to its pages. 



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