Blog posts about the Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mysteries and their author Rabbi Ilene Schneider


No, the subject heading doesn’t mean I’ve found a great way to lose weight while still eating whatever I want. (I wish.) But J. L. Greger has. Her latest book is tantalizingly titled Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight.

Janet is a fellow Oak Tree Press author. I reviewed her previous book Coming Flu on Amazon, and called it “plausible and scary,” and recommended it to “anyone who does want something else to worry about.”ImageShe is well qualified to write medical thrillers. As a biologist and professor emerita of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Janet enjoys putting tidbits of science into her mystery/suspense novels. A third novel is on the way to join Coming Flu and Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight.. She lives in the southwest with Bug, her Japanese Chin, who is featured in her novels.

When I first saw the title of her new book, I immediately flashed back to the “Birthday” episode of “AbFab” in which Edina and Patsy are, of course, drunk and stoned, but also locked in the bathroom. They are convinced they won’t be found until they’re dead, by which time Edina will finally be her ideal weight. One of my favorite quotes (which I found due to the magic of Google, not through my non-existent memory): “You know, there must be a moment, about a week after death, when all those women finally achieve the figure they desire.”

Now, here’s J. L. Greger, disCussing her book:

Have you noticed – many Americans have schizophrenic attitudes about food. If you doubt me, flip on your TV and watch the ads. First there’s one for a restaurant with pictures of smiling people and sizzling steaks or pizzas dripping with gooey cheese. Next comes a commercial for a diet regime or exercise product. The presenter is smiling as she effortlessly performs ten abdominal crunches with some sort of rubber band contraption. After a small break for the program, the ads are back. 

Funny? Sad and pathetic? All of these? That’s why I wrote Murder: A New Way to Lose ImageWeight. 

Let me tell you a little about my new medical mystery/suspense novel. 

Dieting is hard; so is fitting into a new job where you aren’t wanted. Linda Almquist is trying to do both as the new interim associate dean of a medical school. Linda steps into a battle among the cliques of the medical school when she checks out allegations against two diet doctors. They may be endangering the lives of their obese patients by recklessly altering their patients’ gut bacteria. She realizes that’s the least of her problems when she discovers one diet doctor – dead. She and the police suspect the other diet doctor of the murder. Maybe they’re wrong. The murders might be related to something in the past – something involving her boss the Dean. While Linda fears for her job, the police fear for her life.

There’s plenty of action in this novel set in a medical school in the southwest: chases down long medical school corridors on weekends, nighttime whispered phone messages, chaos as faculty members and staff have meltdowns, and threatening doodling left almost everywhere. I was afraid Linda was getting so much exercise that she’d lose weight easily as she scrambled from one scene to another. 

So I set many scenes in real restaurants in Albuquerque. Remember Albuquerque is home to a lot of great southwestern cooking – burritos stuffed with everything but the kitchen sink and dripping in cheese, fried chili rellenos smothered in red or green chili sauce, and pork tamales with guacamole and sour cream on the side. And tension builds as the “dieting” Linda peruses menus and reluctantly chooses salads with dressing on the side.

Now I’ll help you lose your appetite for appetite for food and increase your taste for mystery and suspense. Murders in a medical school don’t have to be routine. Consider the medical examiner Omar Ortega’s comments to the investigating police Ben Hitchings:

“Motive?” Hitchings scanned the crowd and motioned Omar back to him. “Omar, do we even have a murder? Looks like natural causes.” 

“Can’t tell,” replied Omar. 

“But no bullet or stab wounds? So natural causes are likely.” 

“You’re in a medical school.” Omar walked closer to Hitchings and spoke more softly. “Everyone in this building probably knows how to kill someone without using a gun or knife. A complete tox screen will take weeks. And this woman was only in her thirties, pretty young to die suddenly.”

Satisfy your taste for mystery and suspense, order Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight on Amazon, visit my website, or blog, and maybe even consider visiting the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque (“the world’s premier balloon event”) on October 5-13. Then you’ll see how hard it is to control your weight in the midst of good southwestern cooking.




BUY Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight on Amazon:

BUY Coming Flu:





Comments on: "EAT! EAT! DIET! DIET!" (2)

  1. My pet peeve is the women’s magazines that feature cover headlines about gooey, high caloric, high fat dessert recipes next to headlines touting articles about losing 10 pounds in 2 days!

  2. Ilene,
    You’re giving another example of Americans’ schizophrenic relationship with food. It’s really amazing. And I’m hoping these examples annoy lots of other people – so they’ll want to read Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight. Thanks for hosting me.

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