Young and unassuming Rabbi David Small sorts through puzzling pieces of mysteries with logic straight from the Talmud. In Friday the Rabbi Slept Late, a shocking discovery on the temple grounds threatens to ruin both the diligent rabbi and the entire Jewish community at Barnard’s Crossing. Unaware that his congregation is grumbling about his rumpled appearance and absent-minded manner, Rabbi Small spends long hours poring over scholarly books. But he is forced to face his congregants’ discontent when the police discover a young woman’s body outside the temple - and her handbag in his car. Suddenly Rabbi Small must study motives and uncover the killer, or lose more than his followers. Best-selling author Harry Kemelman fills his shrewdly plotted mysteries with likeable and cunning characters who could be your next door neighbors. Personally approved for this unabridged recording by the author’s estate, veteran narrator George Guidall expertly brings the harried rabbi and his mutinous congregation to life.
I read this book based on a book club recommendation. I'm really glad that I did. As a Christian, I thought that I knew a little bit about Judaism, I was wrong. Essentially, I knew nothing.
Having listened to this novel, I'm intrigued enough now to listen to the rest of the series. It feeds into my love of mystery and religion, the characters are endearing and the ritual interesting. The story itself, held its own and is no better or worse than any Agatha Christie tale.
Rabbi David Small is a young man who has the mind of a Jesuit! He has solid ethical values, but lives in a small American town with a newly growing Jewish population where the founders of the temple are powerful, politically and financially aware, and rivals.
Kemelman explains Conservative Judaism very well ( as far as I can tell ) as a system of ethical living, akin to Buddhism, without much reference to the Almighty, and his version of Catholic theology isn't exactly kosher!
This is the USA before 9/11, almost before Vietnam, still parochial, self-congratulatory, class-ridden and money-mad.
It's comforting listening, so last century. I read some of this series aeons ago, from the library, and now enjoy going to sleep with the voice of another USA (the road films, etc) and the wee setbacks of small business and parish pump pride.
Although a murder mystery lies at the heart of this story, don't think that the Rabbi is some sort of super sleuth, Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot type character. He is not that type at all. He is slow moving and deliberate and more or less uses theology as a process of elimination to solves issues in his community. Sounds weird? Just give it a go, you'll see what I mean. Also the murder is not the central theme at the heart of this story, for me it was about the Rabbi and his Marmite relationship with those who frequent the Temple and how as the story unfolds his standing in the community changes.
In terms of the narration, very enjoyable and leisurely paced. The narrator, has a pleasent voice and uses a good range of accents and tones in order to differentiate between the characters. Apparantly he is the premier narrator of audio narrations. I can see why.
I do intend to follow up the Rabbi's progress, in the next installment in the series, Saturday, the Rabbi...
Would you listen to Friday the Rabbi Slept Late again? Why?
I would listen to it again- I WILL listen to it again. It's a fun little mystery that set the tone for the whole series.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Rabbi Smalls is such an interesting character- not always likable, but his insights into the Jewish religion are always interesting. I learned lots about the true nature of a rabbi's duties with this series.
Which character – as performed by George Guidall – was your favorite?
Rabbi Smalls, again- though I thought he did a fine job with all the characters.
Any additional comments?
Check the series out if you like mysteries with a surprise ending. This is the first one and sets the tone. It may be a bit dated (1964) but it's good fun. All the clues are there and it's still a surprise when you find out who the killer is.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
Terrific narrator tells the simple whodunnit with sensitivity and warmth.
Sure it's a bit dated but the politics are the same.
An enjoyable listen free of any of the nastiness of modern day murder writing. No swearing, no drugs. Kind of like "happy days" in a book.
Sad that t
It ended and off to get part 2 right now
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
This is a nice, lightweight mystery that is a little dated (written in 1964), but not in any way that detracts from the story or the writing. I had heard about the series of the rabbi sleuth many years ago, and it was nice to actually enjoy it now -- with one of my favourite narrators George Guidall, who did a wonderful job. The protagonist is only rabbi in a small New England town, and the mystery of the murdered woman is tied in with conflicts among the synagogue board members, office politics, and town gossip among the Jewish and non-Jewish residents. That helps it all ring true, with believable characters (for the mid-sixties suburbs).
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
A great little mystery with interesting characters. The narrator was very straight forward but gave just enough personality to the characters. My comparison to Madmen was based on the 1960's attitudes in this male dominated novel. It was fun to listen to a 'modern' novel that took place before PCs and cell phones.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Friday the Rabbi Slept Late the most enjoyable?
I first read these books in the 80s and enjoyed them. I'm enjoying listening to the stories once more. I primarily listen while I'm doing household chores and such and I am transported back to Massachusetts and thoroughly engrossed in the stories.
What did you like best about this story?
I enjoy that this is a mystery without a lot of gore and no horror. I can enjoy the mystery aspect without being upset by some psychological trigger like you can get from some writers. And I enjoy the look into Judaism that is woven into the stories as well.
What does George Guidall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
George Guidall did a fantastic job of narrating this book series. He's enjoyable to listen to and performs the Jewish accents very authentically
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Oh I'd absolutely listen in one sitting if I had the time to do so. It's not hard to just be carried away by the story and take it all in.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Firstly, I must admit, I bought this book because G. G. narrated. He's been one of my favorite narrators since "The Cat Who,,," books. I was not disappointed in his performance here, either. The beginning of the story did not hold my interest, I must admit. A few times I was tempted to turn it off and give up. At one point, I re-read the reviews here and on the Amazon site, and because the ratings were high, I decided to keep listening, and now I'm glad I did. For me, the story started getting interesting after the murder occured. If you've read or listened to enough of these types of stories, you will probably figure out who did it quite early, but it is enjoyable to discover the reasoning that rabbi employs to figure it out. I will probably continue with the series, especially since G.G. is narrating! For those who are interested in such things, (as I am), there are a few expletives, but no F-bombs. This is the reason I deducted one star.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Friday the Rabbi Slept Late in three words, what would they be?
Back in Time
What other book might you compare Friday the Rabbi Slept Late to and why?
David A Kaufelt
The Bradley Beach Rumba
Both Great Trips Back In Time
What about George Guidall’s performance did you like?
His narration,was Music to my Ears
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
How Cerebral Are You?
Any additional comments?
I remember when this series
First hit the Bookshelves in the 1960's
Love this Audible version
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed this story, told from the point of view of the Rabbi. Written in the early 1960's, it certainly is dated, and if you demand action, you are likely to be disappointed. The writing is artful, and the teasing out of the story is skillfully done. The relationship between Police Chief Lanigan and Rabbi Small is used to elaborate on the beliefs and values of Conservative Judaism and contrast them with Catholicism and mainstream Protestant beliefs. It's amazing that this series proved so popular.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I was so happy to discover the "Rabbi" series. I read them all back in the 60's, and have just listened to the first one again, and I think I liked it even more than before! Of course, hearing it narrated by the incomparable George Guidall just sweetened the whole experience.
It is interesting to note that there is nothing about all the new technology and police procedural changes in this passing of time that impacts this book--it is wonderful, just as it is--and probably will be in fifty more years!
Rabbi Small is relatively new to his position, and even as the mystery unfolds, he has some who hope to see him be voted out because they are not comfortable with his scholarly bent and tendency toward not looking as good as they would prefer. So when a murder occurs at the temple, with some evidence found in his car, the heat is turned up even more.
However, it is precisely his great skill at being able to thoroughly think through situations in an orderly way (demonstrated in the beginning of the story as he helps a couple of men solve a dilemma of legal proportions) that will bring about the solving of the crime.
I love "cerebral" type detectives--where the crime is solved more by mental skill than by entering into violent encounters, and this one satisfies in every way (except perhaps, that they are too short--both in terms of the story itself and the wish to just keep on listening to George Guidall for much longer!)
Great book, great series--highly recommend for a pleasant listen.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful
If you like Poirot/Mrs Marple, you will like this series, too. I love how Rabbi Small is actually part of the community, not just an observer.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful