MURDER IS NO MITZVAH by Abigail Browning


Short Mysteries About Jewish Occasions
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A dozen short reprints that cover the Jewish experience from the Afikomen (the Passover matzoh) to Zionism.

The most charming of the 12 is Gregory Fallis’s “Comes the Revolution,” in which the ritual Thanksgiving turkey becomes a smoked whitefish while a tante (auntie) tails her neighbor in 7C, who may be a member of a Nazi militia, during the Macy’s Day parade. The most tearful is Larry Beinhart’s “Funny Story,” in which a grandfather, to the gasps of his son and daughter-in-law, tells their six-year-old offspring of his life in crime, culminating in a Gestapo raid. In Bernice F. Weiss’s “Where Does a Golem Go?,” a rabbi conjures up a shtetl protector, and Russell William Asplund’s “The Rabbi and the Sorcerer” pits a wily holy man against a powerful faker. Arthur Conan Doyle checks in with “The Jew’s Breastplate,” a locked-room puzzle concerning the theft of museum jewels; Michael Kahn combines a missing will, Holocaust horrors, the Passover seder, and a smarty-pants woman lawyer in “The Bread of Affliction”; and Max Allan Collins’s private eye Nat Heller meets ’30s extortion and murder in “Kaddish for the Kid.” Also included are tales of marital homicide by Ronald Levitsky and Doug Allyn; Louis Weinstein’s feuding bakers’ families; a case in which Batya Swift Yasgur draws on an old Sherlock Holmes story; and James Yaffe’s inimitable Mom.

Such colorful syntax! Such talmudic reasoning! Such a pleasure, with even a glossary for the gentiles.

Pub Date: May 7th, 2004
ISBN: 0-312-32506-1
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Dunne/Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2004