Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Day the Rabbi Resigned

The Day the Rabbi Resigned by Harry Kemelman is the 11th in the 12 Rabbi Small mystery series. I like these books. I enjoy the Rabbi and his wife Miriam, and I've learned a lot about Jewish religious life from them. I pick these books up whenever I come across them.

from the dust jacket:
So he's back. Rabbi David Small, that is. The best-loved and most unorthodox rabbi ever seen in or out of temple. Part Talmudic scholar, part Sherlock Holmes, Rabbi Small has been delighting mystery fans for twenty-five years. The New Yorker calls Harry Kemelman's Rabbi Small books "first rate" and The Cleveland Plain Dealer says they are "delightfully different." The Houston Chronicle declares him "America's favorite kosher detective."

Now the bad news. The rabbi wants to leave. Although his years at Barnard's Crossing have never been dull, Rabbi Small is bored with clerical duties and wants to teach. But before he can say alma mater, the rabbi is enlisted by Police Chief Hugh Lanigan, his partner in crime-solving, to set his scholar's mind to a drunk driving accident that looks like murder.

Victor Joyce, a local college professor who'd do anything for tenure, was known around the quad as much for his extracurricular activities as for his classroom demeanor. Joyce had been drinking heavily the night his car was stopped by a massive tree trunk on the side of a dark road. But when Dr. Abner Gorfinkle passed by the wreck, the victim was definitely not dead, just unconscious -which makes Rabbi Small consider the victim's demise a suspicious turn of events indeed.

Chief Lanigan and the wise rabbi discover that there were quite a number of "innocent" citizens driving down the seldom-used road on that rainy Saturday night. And any one of them could have had it in for the not-so-revered-professor. But it is Rabbi Small, combining the wisdom of Solomon with an analyst's understanding of his fellow man (and woman), who ingeniously lays out all the answers like a delicious holiday feast.
The New York Times says, "Very smooth, this, and wonderfully sly." Publishers Weekly closes by saying, "Lively dialogue, dry wit and wonderfully authentic detail make this a sure winner." Kirkus Reviews has a short review.

I've read these:
#1 Friday the Rabbi Slept Late (1964) (read in January, 2006)
#3 Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home
#6 Wednesday the Rabbi Got Wet
#7 Thursday the Rabbi Walked Out
#10 One Fine Day the Rabbi Bought a Cross (1987) (read in March, 2006)


  1. Oh yay! Another mystery series that I didn't know about. I'll see how many my library has

    1. I find access to these to be spotty. I sometimes find them in the used section but never new :( I hope your library has some.

  2. I'll check my library, too. Sounds like an interesting series and I know I would learn a lot, too. I never know what they have up here at the Fargo Library. ;)

    1. I hope they have some of them. I enjoy stories about religions/countries/cultures I'm not familiar with :)