FRIDAY THE RABBI SLEPT LATE by Harry Kemelman. NY: ibooks, 2002, Pp. 198. (Call no.: FICTION KEME).
A woman's corpse was found less than a hundred yards from the Temple parking lot of the Barnard's Crossing Jewish Community in MA. Her purse was found in he rabbi's car.
This novel is one of a series of Rabbi Small mysteries. One year out of seminary Small is a Conservative. His congregation might be called Reformed at best. Theology was not their thing. The rabbi was a dedicated Talmudic student. One problem was he was so interested in the Talmud that he did not hone effective skills in Jewish congregational politics. Ever since he was chosen to lead this congregation there was an undercurrent debate whether he fit. He served people who were not members and was not the sharpest dresser.
Both a reluctant sleuth and a prime murder suspect, he helped to clarify the innocence of other individuals within this small community. David Small's Talmudic skills in logic and legal savvy served to assist the authorities.
Two days after the murder, the Temple board of directors, forty-five poorly chosen men, were scheduled to meet to decide whether to renew the rabbi's contract for another year - a good study of comparative congregational polity by a Jewish author. One concern at the meeting was what Christians would think if they fired the rabbi. FRIDAY THE RABBI SLEPT LATE snagged an Edger for best first novel. … The Library Committee