Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy Chanukah and a Revisit with Harry Kemelman's Rabbi David Small

Chanukah usually falls around Christmas, but since Judaism follows the lunar calendar it arrived early this year. It will be celebrated December 1 through December 9.

Several years ago, I gave my husband eight Harry Kemelmans, one for each day of Chanukah. After the second gift, he knew what the third, fourth, etc. was going to be, and he checked my book shelves to see if he hadn't received recycled Kemelmans. No way.
He got brand new copies

I read them all, starting with FRIDAY THE RABBI SLEPT LATE, published in 1964. I was a big Agatha Christie fan and somehow the rabbi series fell in with the tenor of her mysteries.

In FTRSL, Rabbi David Small of Bernard's Crossing is suspected in the murder of a nanny which happened not far from the synagogue. That first novel, an Edgar best first novel, set off a run of best sellers. Rabbi Small, and I'm sure Harry Kemelman, warmed the hearts of millions with his erudite wit and wisdom.

Mr. Kemelman passed away shortly after THAT DAY THE RABBI LEFT TOWN was published, but I revisit the series from time to time, like I do Agatha and P. D. James, and a host of other favorites.

Happy Chanukah, one and all.

Gerrie Ferris Finger