Harry Kemelman – Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry (1966)


Silver Age
Category: Clergy or Religion
Date Finished: September 29, 2015

As the second in the Rabbi Small series, this mystery novel continues where the first left off, as the rabbi again faces congregational politics, the contrast of a Jewish community within a larger Gentile suburb, and, of course, a murder. The murder mystery takes a back seat, however, as it really isn’t addressed much before chapter 23. Rabbi Small is a sympathetic character despite being very stubborn, very precise, and very bad at human interactions. The most irritating parts of this novel are his somewhat pedantic explanations of Jewish life and customs to his own wife. Obviously she is just standing in for us non-Jewish readers, but it does seem patronizing. The congregational politics continue to be a difficulty for Rabbi Small, and perhaps they are a bit too realistic for those of us who have had to deal with them. The police chief, Lannigan, only appears a few times, compared to his more significant role in the first novel. Overall, a good book, though one wishes the mystery were more central to the story.

Vintage Silver Bingo 2015-09-29


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