Unaware that his congregation is grumbling about his rumpled appearance and absent-minded manner, Rabbi Small spends long hours poring over scholarly books. But he is forced to face his congregants' discontent when the police discover a young woman's body outside the temple--and her handbag in his car. Suddenly Rabbi Small must study motives and uncover the killer, or lose more than his followers.
In a unlikely subplot considering that he is a suspect in a murder case, Rabbi Small strikes up a friendship with the town's Irish Catholic police chief. The two men spend a lot of time talking about the differences between their religions. These rather didactic conversations explain the tenets and practices of the Conservative branch of Judaism to the non-Jewish reading audience.
This novel, which was first published over fifty years ago, is dated to say the least, especially in its portrayal of its passive female characters. Nonetheless, this period piece is a mildly entertaining, and even somewhat educational, read.
A new rabbi for Barard’s Crossing has a bit of an issue. Rabbi David Small might be implicated
A young nanny has been found strangled, with her handbag in the rabbi’s car. Using his experience from arguing with his fellow students, the young rabbi comes to several conclusions helping the police pinpoint the murderer
I recently bought Friday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman even though the book was originally published in 1964. Imagining it would be interesting to read a murder/mystery with insight into Judaism.
The mystery itself is just an excuse to introduce the characters, as well as, some of the Jewish religious laws and culture. There are hints of affairs, racism, perversions and out-of-marriage pregnancies.
I realize that the book was written almost 60 years ago, the society was different. The book could almost be a time capsule, especially the way husbands and wives talk to one another.
I enjoyed the logic Rabbi Small used to solve this mystery. This, of course, will never fly in real life, but if I wanted that I’d look out my window instead of settling down with a book.
The strength of this novel is the look into the cultural society of Jews in suburbia during the 1960s. Rabbi Small and other characters struggle with ethical, as well as religious issues throughout.
One of my favorite characters was police chief Hugh Lanigan. Here we have an open-minded police officer, who is efficient and capable. I don’t know why I was expecting a bumbling keystone cop but I’m glad I didn’t get it.
The book was enjoyable, even though it was a bit dated. I am not going to judge a 60 year old novel based on today’s standards, it’s simply a period piece for enjoyment.
I am so glad that I finally read this! I found the rabbi David
The mystery itself was excellently crafted. The pointers to the culprit were there yet the revelation of who it was still surprised me (even though I had noticed one of the biggest clues!).
Rabbi David Small is an unconventional, shabby scholar who has
A murder occurs near the Temple and all manner of individuals associated with the Temple, including Rabbi Small, are under suspicion. The Rabbi has a unique take on life, frequently turning to texts and religious works to find answers to moral and legal problems facing his flock.
Think a combination of Columbo and Quincy and you have Rabbi Small. Inevitably, problem solved. Easy reading and something just a little different than your average mystery story. It’s not mind bending stuff here, just entertaining.
One Friday night a dead woman is
I loved the Rabbi David Small mysteries when I was a teenager. I have a lifelong fascination for Judaism, and these books offered an eager young woman the chance to have a glimpse into rabbinic life, and I was intrigued by new-to-me words and ideas such as minyan and Talmud and phylacteries. I'm in my late 50s now, and I found the narrative rather dull, the mysteries contrived, and the outdatedness of the male/female relationship within and without marriage made me wince more than once.
I have three more David Small books on my reader (they came in an inexpensive four-pack), and I will probably finish them, as despite their outdated quality, they are relaxing and easy to read, which are great qualities when my days are stressful.
This vintage 1964 book has all the elements of a great mystery; all the clues are fairly presented to the reader and a brilliant sleuth in Rabbi David Small. It's not-quite-a-cozy.
The cover identifies this published version as part of The Best Mysteries of All Time, which is, apparently, part of a Reader's Digest series gambit. The About The Author section at the end of the book is several pages long and quite interesting. It gives the normal data points you would expect in a bio or an obit, as well as some of the twists and turns involved in a writing career. I might have been tempted into the series back in the day ...
This classic-style mystery plays fair with the reader. All the clues are there; the rabbi simply assembles them first. I love that sort of mystery,s o I will be reading more.
While I had read some books in this series long ago in my early teens, this wasn't one of them. However, I loved it as much as I remember loving the other books.
Highly recommended for people who enjoy mysteries.
Came back to read the first in series because I wanted to know how the Rabbi got to be friends with the police chief. This one comes near the end of Rabbi
George Guidell is the calm narrator with a wry sense of humor.