Picks and Pans Review: Someday the Rabbi Will Leave

UPDATED 04/01/1985 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 04/01/1985 at 01:00 AM EST

by Harry Kemelman

All the days of the week have been used up in this delightful series of mystery novels (Friday the Rabbi Slept Late, Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry, etc.), but fortunately that kosher detective Rabbi David Small is still going strong. This latest adventure pits the rabbi against a millionaire who becomes president of Small's temple and asks him to perform his daughter's marriage to a gentile. Small explains that intermarriage is against Orthodox Jewish law and that if the daughter does marry a non-Jew, the president ought to resign. Naturally the successful millionaire isn't going to take this kind of treatment from someone he considers an employee. From there the story moves on to more complicated problems, including the hit-and-run death of a shady character who does unsavory odd jobs for politicians. The plot is elaborate, and it is Small, of course, who helps his friend, Police Chief Lanigan, weave all the loose ends together. "From here on, I've got to use my imagination," says the rabbi to the chief. "Up till now, I've been using inferential logic." That inferential logic is powerful stuff. Kemelman is also a born teacher; his Small novels continue to explain, in a most entertaining fashion, what the Jewish religion is—and what it is not—in emotional as well as in formal terms. (Morrow, $15.95)

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