Mur­der is For­ev­er: A Dia­mond Dis­trict Mystery

Rob Bates

  • Review
By – February 15, 2021

Take one feisty unem­ployed female jour­nal­ist, the vio­lent mur­der of a young Ortho­dox dia­mond deal­er, a trail of col­or­ful sus­pects, the famed NYC Dia­mond Dis­trict set­ting, and what emerges is an engag­ing and sus­pense­ful crime mys­tery, A Mur­der is Forever.

Rob Bates’s first nov­el in a planned series of three, is steeped in Dia­mond Dis­trict insid­er infor­ma­tion and fas­ci­nat­ing tid­bits. Bates’s famil­iar­i­ty with and knowl­edge of the indus­try are based on his more than twen­ty-five year career in this close-knit, insu­lar busi­ness. He is cur­rent­ly News Direc­tor of JCK, a jew­el­ry trade pub­li­ca­tion, as well as an oft-quot­ed and not­ed author­i­ty in his field. Bates is also a comedic writer and per­former, and his flair for humor is appar­ent in his nar­ra­tion, dia­logue, and approach.

Mimi Rosen, recent­ly divorced and out of work, takes what she des­per­ate­ly hopes is a tem­po­rary posi­tion answer­ing phones at her father’s small 47th St. jew­el­ry busi­ness. Mimi is at a cross­roads in her life and her impul­sive­ness and stub­born­ness have stymied her jour­nal­ism career. Now ful­ly immersed in the sec­u­lar world, she doesn’t see eye to eye with her tra­di­tion­al father and Ortho­dox family.

Mimi’s younger cousin, Yosef, new­ly engaged to her father’s sec­re­tary, Chan­nah, is mur­dered in a park­ing garage while car­ry­ing a rare $4 mil­lion 3.2 carat radi­ant pink dia­mond. Mimi, spurred on by the bereaved Chan­nah, turns ama­teur detec­tive and sets out to solve the mur­der, using her report­ing skills to unearth and inves­ti­gate dan­ger­ous and unset­tling leads. She sets her own duplic­i­tous traps that mir­ror some of the deceit she encoun­ters in her relent­less quest to find the truth.

In an indus­try where trust is based on a hand­shake and the words, mazel und broche” (luck and bless­ing) to seal a deal, Mimi finds light and open­ness elu­sive. As Mimi meets traders, graders, indus­try exec­u­tives, small time oper­a­tors, etc. she finds that as her father said, The dia­mond busi­ness is not about sort­ing the gems, it’s about sort­ing the peo­ple.” Mimi’s pur­suit leads her through fam­i­ly entan­gle­ments, reli­gious rit­u­als, romance, clan­des­tine actions, and a gun­fight while she encoun­ters peo­ple, who, like dia­monds, are some­times seri­ous­ly flawed. She dis­cov­ers how dia­mond grad­ing and clas­si­fy­ing lie at the heart of the mys­tery. As Mimi solves Yosef’s mur­der she begins to come to terms with her own life and choices.

The plot-dri­ven nar­ra­tive moves speed­i­ly along in con­cise short chap­ters that fea­ture twists, turns, and sur­pris­es. There’s also a Glos­sary of Yiddish/​Hebrew/​Diamond Indus­try terms read­ers will find help­ful. The back­ground and his­to­ry of the dia­mond indus­try are expert­ly woven into the sto­ry; read­ers will learn how dia­monds are val­ued, mar­ket­ed, and sup­plied. Cur­rent issues such as Indi­an Jains enter­ing the mar­ket, blood and syn­thet­ic dia­monds, and safe­guards and reforms are addressed.

A Mur­der Is For­ev­er is an enter­tain­ing and cap­ti­vat­ing read. Mimi’s next adven­ture will be eager­ly await­ed by Bates’s new­found fans.

Reni­ta Last is a mem­ber of the Nas­sau Region of Hadassah’s Exec­u­tive Board. She has coor­di­nat­ed the Film Forum Series for the Region and served as Pro­gram­ming and Health Coor­di­na­tors and as a mem­ber of the Advo­ca­cy Committee.

She has vol­un­teered as a docent at the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty teach­ing the all- impor­tant lessons of the Holo­caust and tol­er­ance. A retired teacher of the Gift­ed and Tal­ent­ed, she loves par­tic­i­pat­ing in book clubs and writ­ing projects.

Discussion Questions