Unleavened Dead is the second book in the cozy mystery series featuring Rabbi Aviva Cohen, a fifty-something, twice-divorced, child-free rabbi and reluctant amateur sleuth living in southern New Jersey.

A couple, members of Aviva’s congregation, are found dead, victims of what has been ruled accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, caused by a blocked dryer vent. A friend of the couple tells Aviva she knows the couple had an operating carbon monoxide detector and their dryer had been serviced not long before. Aware of Aviva’s success in investigating a supposed suicide sixteen months earlier, the congregant tries to convince her to look into the circumstances of these deaths. Aviva has also wondered about the deaths: the couple had information about a colleague who has been offered a new position, an offer that will be withdrawn if the information is revealed. She doesn’t believe her colleague would go so far as killing someone to protect his job, but she’s not as sure about his wife.

Aviva has a more pressing problem, however. Her niece’s partner, the director of the student counseling center at the nearby university, is the prime suspect in a deliberate hit-and-run death. The victim was a newly appointed dean who had just informed Sherry he was taking over as director, and she was being demoted, without cause, to a per diem counselor position. Witnesses heard Sherry threaten to kill the dean, after punching out a cubicle wall. Even more incriminating, her SUV, matching the description of the vehicle that had struck the dean, has a body-sized dent on the front.

As she looks into these two disparate cases, Aviva discovers they may be connected, in ways she never imagined. Her sleuthing takes a sinister turn that involves sexual abuse of young teenaged girls, money laundering, stolen identities, and an FBI investigation. Once again, her curiosity has put her life in jeopardy.


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