Theft and murder derail a comedienne’s Catskills comeback
When she meets Mrs. Risk, Rachel is eighteen, married, and living in fear. Her fishmonger husband is three decades older than her and intent on killing her slowly. Each day Rachel grows weaker—the result of pesticides that Ike sneaks into her food. Only the eccentric Mrs. Risk, whom the local children call a witch, sees Ike’s plan. With a simple deception, she frightens Ike into having a heart attack, saving Rachel and winning herself a new assistant. The young fishwife’s lifestyle is about to get a lot more interesting.
Their first adventure together concerns Pearl Schrafft, a Borscht Belt comic whose career, as well as her ancient style of comedy, is on the skids. When her priceless pearl necklace vanishes and her manager drops dead, Rachel and Mrs. Risk step in. If they can’t learn who has it in for the punch line queen, Pearl’s Borscht Belt shtick won’t be the only thing that’s DOA.