In his hugely popular series, best-selling author Harry Kemelman creates well-crafted mysteries, filled with slice-of-life characters and fascinating Hebrew rituals. Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry pulls you into the Jewish community at Barnard’s Crossing, which has just been thrown into disarray over the unexplained death of one of its members.
As Rabbi Small and his temple congregation solemnly prepare for Yom Kippur, a non-practicing member is found dead behind the wheel of his car - in his own garage. The police call the death an accident, and the insurance company insists that it’s suicide. But Miriam, Rabbi Small’s wife, believes the mishap could only be cold-blooded murder. With his congregants splitting over the possible cause, the young rabbi must discover the truth, or forfeit all hope for peace in the temple. Turning to the Talmud for divine logic, Rabbi Small discovers order in the midst of the most muddled events.
Veteran narrator George Guidall, personally approved for this unabridged recording by the author’s estate, provides the perfect voice for the determined rabbi as he faces the divided Jewish community.
©1966 Harry Kemelman (P)1997 Recorded Books
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
Once in a while, we get double treats on Audible--a book by a beloved author read by a favorite narrator.
This is it folks! It's hard to get better than this old series (begun in the 60's) about David Small, a young rabbi who is very conservative, and sometimes has to use his wisdom to help parishioners with his deep understanding and love of the Talmud. He uses this as his guide for helping people settle petty disagreements, but it also directs him in solving more serious situations--like murder. His crime-solving talent has led him to have a good relationship with the local police, leading them to be not-quite-a-team, but they trust each other a lot.
In this book, a non-practicing Jewish man has died in a way that appears to be suicide, and some in the congregation are alarmed at the location in a cemetery where he will be buried, which is itself--surprise--also a focus in the book, as certain people are trying to use the cemetery to bring improvements and attention to the congregation (and financial benefits to themselves). It falls to Rabbi Small to use his particular Talmudic law and wisdom to guide the police towards solving the crime.
Ok. That's the story--let me just tell you that I read all this series when they were published, and loved them then. Finding and listening to them again is such a delight--they are simply wonderful. The only thing that tops that is discovering that they have been narrated by George Guidall--someone who probably could read the phone book with such talent that I would sit and listen. If you like mysteries--and these are admittedly old, but have not been hurt by the passing of time--and you want one of the best narrators who ever reads these books, you won't get better than this!
I'm liking this series more with each book......this is a better mystery than the last and involves a little more character development too. The back-and-forth arguing that is often used as a cliche of old Jewish men was well portrayed and added a bit of humour as well. It's dated, but still kind of comforting, like watching an old episode of Murder She Wrote.
The narration is terrific, as expected. George Guidall is one of my favourite narrators, and he doesn't disappoint here.
As a person with low vision, I truly appreciate well- recorded and interesting books. Returning to Kemelman after decades, I find more in his mystery and presentation of important (and maybe not so important) concepts of ethics derived from the Talmud through Rabbi Small. The side stories of everyday life are well done, and the reader does well with intonation and pronunciation of accents, words in Hebrew and Yiddish, and the good-natured discussions of the Irish Catholic police chief with Rabbi Small. I was not offended by the racism in the book. It was written during a time of racism, overt racism, in the United States. The references to "Negroes" is within the time, and adds authenticity. At that time, I do not believe the author could write any other way. It took me back to those days, when I was younger, and I appreciated this. There is much goodness in these "little books." I highly recommend this book and the others in the series.
Kemelman shares a little known niche of our society. Who understands the Jew? These Rabbi stories are marvelous in opening a window to a world so little explored. The explanations interwoven with the story bring a whole other view point of life as seen by the Hebrew people. These stories are presented in away that gives readers the option of following conventional thought or you can try to adapt to the Rabbi's thinking. Both are strains of thought are convincing but only one can be right. No one else on the planet could do these narrations and give them due justice as George Guidall's does. I would listen to Mr. Guidall read a telephone book.
The USA before 9/11, a small town Eden where civil rights demonstrations are somewhere else, but class is a big issue, where business sharp practice is nasty, but does not ruin thousands of pensioners.
Rabbi David Small is a good man, albeit given to the sort of casuistry for which the Jesuits have earned expulsion from many countries on many occasions. Unlike the majority of fictional detectives he is happily, if not convincingly, married. Poor Miriam isn't daft, but seems to be satisfied with less consideration than her husband's crumpled jacket.
It's "I love Lucy" with a touch of theology and a seemly murder, great bedtime listening, told in an old fashioned American accent which is easy to follow.
Report Inappropriate Content