From Gil Student's review:-
Do you believe that the Messiah will come? Can you picture it? What will life be like in the Messianic Era? How will a monarchy/theocracy function in the modern world? How will the Temple work in a world with advanced telecommunications and complex securities markets?
It's hard to visualize it.
R. Dr. Gidon Rothstein does us all a favor in presenting his vision of the transitional period at the onset of the Messianic Era in his recent book Murderer in the Mikdash. Set within the plot of an exciting murder mystery that takes place a few years after the arrival of the Messiah, while the world is still in transition, R. Rothstein's book outlines a functioning model for a benign theocratic monarchy in which the laws of the Torah are followed. Levites, trained in public relations and pedagogy, guard the Temple Mount from the impure while educating the public. The police carefully monitor infractions of Torah law, preferring counseling to punishment. Expulsion from Israel is the last resort for serious offenders. Stoning and other forms of execution are unsurprisingly absent, given the Mishnah's statement of how rare such punishments are meted out. A two-class system of citizens exist -- haverim, who have officially accepted upon themselves strict observance of all laws, and non-haverim. The limitations and privileges of priests are described, including the care they need to take in what objects they can touch, particularly when handed over by a non-haver. The finances of the Temple, in particular, are described. How is money raised for all those utensils and sacrifices? The Temple's coffers must be constantly maintained and, let's face it, many people would prefer to give money to orphans than to a Temple in Jerusalem.
...The book is written from the perspective of a non-observant Jew, a woman who recently gave birth, whose husband has been mysteriously missing for months and whose best friend recently died under suspicious circumstances. Her lack of education in Jewish matters gives the author the opportunity to explain everything properly, allowing the book to be entirely understandable to someone with little Jewish background...
R. Rothstein's fidelity to Jewish tradition has him focusing on the Messianic Era and not the personality of the Messiah himself. There is very little mention of the Messiah, which I think adds to the message of the book. We have never really cared who the Messiah will be and have, instead, focused on the society that he will create. This book is all about that society and, to my knowledge, is the only book to realistically explore how it will function.
From Josh Yuter's review:
As you might expect, Murderer in the Mikdash is your basic murder mystery. We are quickly introduced to Rachel Tucker, a non-observant new mother whose husband has apparently vanished without a trace. Further complicating Rachel's life is the death of her friend Liat, and Rachel's newswoman's instinct that Liat's natural respiratory failure was really hiding something far more sinister. The backdrop of all this is of course the third temple period and Rachel's quest for truth requires her to confront a society and its bizarre amalgam of ancient laws and modern sensibilities.
...Of course the real novelty of Murderer in the Mikdash is the portrayal of a possible third temple society. R. Rothstein chooses what could best be described as a hyper-Maimonidean approach - that the only distinction between contemporary society and the Messianic age is the subjugation of other nations (shi'bud malchiyut) (Hilkhot Melachim 12:2) 2 - but in R. Rothstein's vision, the other nations have not yet accepted the new kingship of Israel. This minor distinction is not necessarily contradictory since the process of shi'bud malchiyut could be gradual, and if anything such international skepticism is a nice touch a detail emphasizing the very natural and rational Messianic era.
R. Rothstein's rationalist approach to the Messianic age is essential to the book for several reasons. Practically, it allows R. Rothstein the freedom to tell the story in a context which can be easily accepted - or at least understood - by most readers. Even among the Jewish audience, a perfectly natural Messianic society would probably seem more credible to the widest possible audience.
Theologically, this decidedly natural perspective provides R. Rothstein the vehicle for a compelling story. If the Messianic age will be a perfect utopia with everyone living carefree happy lives, then most stories will probably be boring descriptions of what people do all day.3 Instead R. Rothstein is free to project into the Messianic era many of the unfortunate vices and shortcomings of our own society, including religious elitism and the corruption of prominent and "respected" religious figures.
...I'm not entirely sure what R. Rothstein's original intent was in writing Murderer in the Mikdash. But that he is able to explain arcane halakhot, offer a subtle social critique, while maintaining his focus on the narrative at hand is impressive, especially for a first effort.