Cover image for There was an old woman : a Benny Cooperman mystery
There was an old woman : a Benny Cooperman mystery
Engel, Howard, 1931-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Woodstock, N.Y. : Overlook Press, 2000.

Physical Description:
262 pages ; 21 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



It all starts with a noisy toilet. Benny's janitor, Kogan, is preoccupied with the death of his sometime girlfriend, Lizzy Oldridge, who appears to have starved to death. Benny agrees to attend the inquest if Kogan will look into the plumbing.Lizzy may have died hungry but she had plenty of money, and somehow former alderman and mayoralty candidate Thurleigh Ramsden, an unsavory character if there ever was one, has gained control of it. Ramsden escapes the inquest with his reputation untarnished, while Benny finds himself hopelessly enmeshed in the posthumous troubles of Kogan's late love. By the end of this twisting, turning tale, the body count has increased alarmingly. But has the toilet been fixed? Only Benny and his loyal readers now for sure.

Author Notes

Howard Engel was born on April 2, 1931; he is a Canadian mystery writer, author of the Benny Cooperman Mysteries. He has won numerous awards thanks to his literary works, such as the Arthur Ellis Award for Crime Fiction and the Crime Writers of Canada Derick Murdoch Award. In 2013, Engel received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This installment in Engel's outstanding Benny Cooperman series, originally published in Canada in 1993, has never appeared in the U.S. That's an inexplicable oversight on the part of American publishers because the novel showcases Cooperman, the working-stiff private eye from fictional Grantham, Ontario, at his bungling best, eking out a living from his tiny office, scrambling for clients, stumbling, as he always does, into a big, meaty case that's as convoluted as it is dangerous. This time, after grudgingly agreeing to help a friend find out why his girlfriend died, Benny winds up hip deep in political intrigue, deceit, and murder. The Cooperman novels are heavy on full-bodied characters, sharp dialogue, and rich humor. Benny just plain charms the socks off anyone he meets. --David Pitt

Publisher's Weekly Review

Canadian PI Benny Cooperman returns in this agreeable if not top-notch offering from Arthur Ellis Award-winner Engel (Getting Away with Murder; Murder on Location; etc.), set in the town of Grantham, Ontario. Kogan, the caretaker of Cooperman's office building, asks the detective to look into the apparent starvation death of his elderly girlfriend, Lizzy Oldridge. Cooperman agrees, asking only that Kogan fix his leaky toilet in payment. The inquest reveals that Lizzy had plenty of money, but that she couldn't touch it because of a trust set up by failed politician Thurleigh Ramsden. Ramsden also happens to be the executor of Lizzy's will and the head of the Guild of the Venerable Bede, the charitable organization to which Lizzy left her money. While Cooperman probes this disturbing case, attorney Julian Newby hires him to collect information on attractive local TV anchor Catherine Bracken. When two murders follow, Cooperman discovers that the town of Grantham has lots of dirty laundry to be aired. Though the story starts out crisply, it falters about midway and drags to a muddled conclusion featuring barely mentioned characters and an unlikely surprise for Kogan. Cooperman fans, however, should enjoy seeing their hero once again, even in these reduced circumstances. Agent, Beverly Sloan Literary Agency. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Small-town Canadian Jewish private detective Benny Cooperman (Getting Away with Murder) investigates the untoward demise of the ne!er-do-well janitor!s girlfriend, who starved to death despite having plenty of money. He starts with the woman!s oily lawyer, who had access to her safety deposit box. An entertaining read. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.