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Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Choir: 06/05/19

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Choir

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Choir by Sharon Kahn marks the end of the Ruby, the Rabbi's Wife series. Temple Rita's choir is planning a trip to Banff and Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. They're trying to raise money with a poorly planned latke sale. Plans are further upset when one of their members collapses before her solo and later dies.

Despite her misgivings and her complete lack of interest in the trip, Ruby agrees to go on the choir road trip. It's actually a train trip through the Canadian Rockies. On the train a person is thrown overboard — yet another murder. Now it's clear that Ruby might be the next victim if she's not careful!

Honestly I can see why the series stops here. Ruby is so completely disinterested in all the aspects of the temple. Every thing Essie Sue does, Ruby goes along with not out of support for either a friend or for the temple. She's there to be a martyr. She's there to kvetch and nothing more. If she happens to solve a murder, so be it. Usually the amateur sleuth is more emotionally involved in the events of the murder.

While being a mediocre mystery at best, it does fit into the road narrative spectrum at a 663300 (marginalized, rural, interstate).

Ruby is marginalized (66) because she is no longer in a place of power in the temple because her husband's death. Through the course of the series she has lost more and more of her standing as the temple congregation moves in a new direction under Kevin and Essie Sue's leadership.

Banff being a small city of about eight thousand people in the middle of Banff National Park counts as a rural (33) destination. While it's surrounded by the wildlands, it's not itself the wildlands. The setting for the dramatic conclusion of the mystery seems like an arbitrary choice except for the out of the way railroad line with the dramatic cliffs for chucking bodies off.

Finally there is the route — the railroad. It for the spectrum counts as an interstate (00). It's a fixed path. Stay on the train and you'll arrive with little effort. Fall of the train or miss the train and you'll be stranded.

Two stars

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