Mrs. Israel Solves Another One
When Mrs. Israel, 92, a new detective on the Upper West Side, was invited by Rodrigo Esperanza to be his guest on his New York 1 show because of the murder she’d solved in her building, Rodrigo asked his viewers to call in murders for Mrs. Israel to solve. The viewers voted and chose an older woman, shot, in Washington Heights.
One surprising fact about Mrs. Israel, prim Talboty type, overly neat, in her early nineties now, a woman with nothing out of place: for 26 years she’d had a secret lover, a man named Joshua Rabinowitz. He lived in his own one bedroom apartment in Forest Hills.
Years ago, they met at Chase Bank, where she was a teller forever, and he was a frequent depositor. He ran his own one person law office when they met, practicing every kind of law. At the time, he was married. His wife had early dementia. She’d had dementia since she turned 58. Joshua Rabinowitz took good care of her. He never strayed, he never dated. It had never occurred to him but he would smile at Mrs. Israel when he made his deposits and she’d smile back. This went on for many years. One day that all changed. How is its own good story.
Turns out that the murdered woman in Washington Heights, Sophie Einstein, was Josh Rabinowitz’s cousin. Imagine the odds.
Mrs. Israel took the A train to Washington Heights. Sophie Einstein had been murdered on Cabrini Boulevard, in one of those beautiful apartments right on the Hudson River. An apartment full of light. Didn’t do her much good now.
She’d been shot. Was it a stranger? Was it just a crazy unfortunate death?
Sophie Rabinowitz had been a school social worker for years. Not the kind of person frequently murdered. Divorced. No children. No enemies. Two female friends. Sara and Adele.
Mrs. Israel found that out the very first day she went to the building, standing in front and doing her best to talk to anyone who walked out the door. For the most part, the neighbors seemed glad she was there. At first, her building believed she’d died in her sleep but when the super went in to check on her after Sara asked him for help, he found she’d been shot in the chest. The apartment looked immaculate. Nothing seemed stolen, or even moved around a little.
In their nightly phone call she told the story to Josh Rabinowitz, who wasn’t wild about the idea that Mrs. Israel had become a detective.
Are you crazy? He asked after murder number one. When he heard about Sophie – his mother Tillie’s sister’s daughter – hadn’t seen her in many years – he was completely shocked.
I know you won’t believe this he said, but I think I know who did it.
Was it Sara or Adele? Mrs. Israel asked.
Neither one of them would be a real suspect he answered. Sara is indecisive, and Adele is too nervous and anxious to do anything much. It was Boris he said, with certainty.
Who’s Boris she asked.
One of those handsome no goodniks. Never liked him. Worked on Seventh Avenue for years. Slick and insincere. She thought he was Gary Cooper. None of us could talk her out of Boris.
They were married for a while, and she finally asked for a divorce. The last thing he said to her was One Day You’ll Pay for This. He’s someone who seemed capable of murder. Let me call a friend of mine who can find out where he lives.
The next day Mrs. Israel and Josh Rabinowitz took a car service to Forest Hills, where they knocked on Boris Fishman’s door. He did not look especially surprised.
How did you know was all he said.
A better 2022 to us all.