Mimi Rosen was seeking peace and quiet when she started working in her father’s small diamond business following a divorce. When her diamond dealing cousin is murdered, however, Mimi isn’t convinced it’s a simple robbery gone wrong and turns amateur detective. What follows for readers is a descriptive tour of realistic places and spaces in New York’s jewelry epicenter, and the colorful tangle of cultures, customs, and idiosyncrasies which make up the fabric of the legendary district.
A Murder Is Forever is your backstage pass to “the real action in the Diamond District.” – John Pollard
Written by Rob Bates, one of the most recognized and respected reporters in the diamond and jewelry industry’s fourth estate, this fictional murder mystery comes with a rock-solid foundation of inside knowledge and industry experience, making the tale enjoyable for grizzled mavens as it is for wide-eyed noobs.
Throughout the book are allusions to historic industry realities – from rough diamond monopolies to grading lab scandals – and its 200 pages are peppered with functional nickel knowledge. Mix in a four-million-dollar pink diamond, a few red herrings, sprinkles of Yiddish (always explained), and a fistful of distinctive characters – from frum rabbis to dangerous ganefs – and you have a solid metziah that’s well worth the shekels.
Did I mention that the book includes a glossary of Yiddish terms? It does. And it’s useful!
Standout Characters (no spoilers)
38-year-old Mimi Rosen is the story’s protagonist. Named after the author’s late mother, she is a refreshingly believable character. Like most people, she seeks to do the right thing, but her gritty determination is juxtaposed with normal human fallacies. Imperfect family relationships, impulsive decisions, and a downright cringy moment or two combine to make our heroine realistic and relatable. A Jewish woman who married outside the faith before divorcing, her story arc is one of soul-searching and self-discovery as well as sleuthing.
“The diamond business isn’t about sorting the gems it’s about sorting the people.” – Max Rosen
Mimi’s father Max Rosen is the perfect caricature of a modest New York diamantaire on the grind. We get a lot of exposure to Max in the first chapters. His character is representative of many who make their livings in the district: A hard-working father and businessman, speaking the localized blend of English, diamantaire-slang, and Yiddish used up and down 47th street. Anyone familiar with the verbal rhythms of the New York diamond district can “hear” Max with ease – and may experience some laugh-out-loud moments, as I did. Oy. Oy. Oy.
“It has to bad to get a triple Oy!” – Mimi Rosen
A Fascinating Canvas(no spoilers)
The New York diamond district is a unique place. To this day, million-dollar deals are sealed with a handshake and the word “mazal” (it’s in the glossary) with no contracts or lawyers. It’s a place of venerated traditions, encompassing business and religious practices which are passed down from generation to generation among a variety of different cultures.
A Murder Is Forever, is a convincing journey within this unique and special world of handshakes and tradition. Page after page, readers will experience the best, and the worst, of the diamond district’s rags to riches spaces, diverse cultures, and vivid personalities. Like much of the district, it’s a story rich with family, friendships, faith, and flaws.
Rob Bates has written about the diamond industry for over 25 years. He is currently the news director of JCK, the leading publication in the jewelry industry. He has won over a dozen editorial awards, including two prestigious Neal Awards for his blog in 2007 and 2011, five Eddies from Folio magazine, and the American Gem Society’s Triple Zero Award for industry service. He has been interviewed as an industry authority by CNN, NPR, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many others. He’s also a comedy writer and performer whose work has been featured on Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central. Rob lives in Manhattan with his wife and son.
Are you intrigued? Did you buy this book? What did you think? What did you learn? Did it make you hungry for a bagel? Are you looking forward to another installment? What questions do you have for Rob Bates about the book? What questions do you have about his journalistic career?
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