Rosa Blumenthal, a librarian from Jerusalem, is recovering from minor plastic surgery intended to restore the delicate lines of her face. She has chosen to spend her convalescence at the Golden Lion, a family-run hotel in the picturesque lakeside town of Kilchberg, not far from Zurich. How pleasant and quiet this place is, thinks Rosa. Not at all like the tense life in Israel. And yet, is this only a facade? Does evil lurk behind this spectacular landscape? Indeed, a murder is about to occur, followed by a set of puzzling incidents, throwing the lives of the hotel owners, the guests, and others into turmoil. Several colorful characters are entangled in the police investigation: elderly Ms Ulman, owner of the hotel; her son Hans, who wants to escape the hotel and his overbearing mother; Judith Sagiv, a musicologist on her way to a conference in Freiburg; the twin brothers, Basil and Endive, and their mother, Mimi Hemo-Abramowitz, a food critic who is about to reveal her secret book on erotic foods; Anthony McBain, a retired police officer; a strange and suspicious Russian; and the owner of a bookstore specializing in ancient books.
The mysterious death is followed by a series of equally mysterious events: computer disks are stolen, files erased, identities exchanged, hospitalization. As the plot thickens, the local police, a member of the Israeli police, Rosa the amateur detective and her collaborator McBain, follow the lead of an ancient manuscript, questioning the motives of each of the hotel`s guests. The novel reaches its unexpected conclusion when the true motive for the killing is discovered.
This is a sweeping novel with a complex plot, populated by colorful characters… Entertaining yet thoughtful… I loved the delicate, charged relationship between the two elderly people.
You can spend a pleasant evening with this book... There are also refreshing moments such as the instructive section on the history of printing, and the great recipes at the end of the book.