I know a former trial lawyer who gave it up to write courtroom thrillers. He claims he prefers the fictional kind because he gets to control the judge, the lawyers, the witnesses and, best of all, the outcome. I think of him with envy whenever I have to deal with In Re the Estate of Mendel Sofer. It's definitely real, and I've long since lost control. Back in the beginning, back when all I knew was that an 82-year-old widower named Mendel Sofer had died of a heart attack, it had seemed a simple case. Indeed, those were the very words Phil Rosenberg used when he called. "It's a simple case, Rachel," he assured me. "Even better, you'll be doing a mitzvah."