Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Someday the Rabbi Will Leave

What I try to do with reviews at this Bookshelf blog is keep it simple and spoiler-free, and let you know whether I'd recommend you pick up a copy of what I just read. Seems to work okay. This time, a brief review of Someday the Rabbi Will Leave (William Morrow, 1985).

I think at this point I can safely say that I'm done with Harry Kemelman. I mean, for an average cost of a buck apiece, I've made worse investments, but the guy had maybe five pretty good Rabbi Small stories, at the start of the run, and then they petered out.

This one, at least it's not as awful as 1992's The Day the Rabbi Resigned, but it's still a chore. This time out, the rabbi's nemesis is the new temple president, a shrewd and tough businessman who wants Rabbi Small to perform his daughter's wedding to an up-and-coming politician who isn't Jewish. The rabbi says that they can have a civil ceremony, but not one in the temple, and if the president insists on bringing in some other rabbi to do it, then he will have to resign as president.

So the temple politics get loud and cantankerous, and literally half the book passes by before Kemelman remembers that he's meant to be writing a mystery and kills somebody. Unfortunately, he's chosen to kill somebody with absolutely no connection to the rest of the plot save one conceivable suspect. Look, I understand that detective fiction of the "cozy" school isn't really meant to challenge anybody, but even the lady who writes those The Cat Who books never crafted anything so lazy.

I finally looked up a Kemelman bibliography and compared it to all these books on my shelf. I'm missing the last one. I thought the one where Small resigned was the last, but he did another one, three years later. Maybe if I find it for a dollar, I'll buy it, but I'm in no rush. Not recommended.

No comments: