Book Plunge For Fun: Rabbi David Small

What do I think of Harry Kemelman’s books published by Fawcett Books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I am trying to read some more fiction and if there is any kind I especially enjoy, it’s detective fiction. It’s also fun when the main character is not really a detective in the professional sense, such as the Father Brown mysteries, which I have read entirely. Being on Kindle and getting newsletters from them of books on sale, I regularly saw these books on sale and then one day, I saw a combination of four for something like $2.99. That was enough for me.

The rabbi is indeed a rabbi and not a Messianic rabbi, but while I disagree with his religious beliefs, I do like the way he goes about solving mysteries. David Small is the main rabbi in the series and he uses reasoning based on Talmudic principles and the Torah to solve his cases. He is someone who is aloof from the world around him and is not easily swayed. I couldn’t help but like the way his wife described him. “David will change the world before the world will change my David.”

Small does form a good relationship with the chief of police in the town of Barnard’s Crossing where the books mainly take place. The interesting aspect of Small is his nature in that many times he solves mysteries without really setting out to solve them. He’s rather nonchalant in the way he goes about it. The only big exception I have seen thus far is the first book where his wife has to insist he solve the case since he himself is a suspect in the case.

In the other books, it seems to practically come out as just a regular part of conversation. There is no jumping up and shouting “Eureka!” It’s more of “Just follow this piece of evidence here and then look at this and see how it has to be this way” and before too long, the criminal is identified. Small makes no big deal about what he has done.

Not only all of this, but he regularly has to put up with the trials of running his congregation, who too often are not on his side. This is one area where it makes his not solving crimes a big deal interesting. No one in these meetings at least thus far says “The rabbi has his issues, but he is practically a celebrity with the way he has solved so many cases.”

I have read the first four books in the series thus far and then I plan to read the rest, but I am waiting to get the books in chronological order. Small is an amusing character and one who it is fascinating to see the way his mind works. The works do have a lot of Jewish references in them and that could be difficult for some readers to follow who are not in those circles or familiar with that language, Fortunately, there is not really anything essential to the cases I have seen thus far.

If you see this deal on Amazon or see it at the library, pick it up and give it a try. I liked the first four so much that like I said, I am looking forward to reading the rest.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)