Books: Talmudic Sleuth

SATURDAY THE RABBI WENT HUNGRY by Harry Kemelman. 249 pages. Crown. $3.95.

The idea of a rabbi who plays detective on the side is just different enough to offer possibilities to a competent writer who knows all about rabbis. Harry Kemelman, 57, makes the most of the possibilities. He is a Talmudic scholar who never seemed to be getting anywhere composing thoughtful essays on comparative religion. A few years ago he switched to popular fiction, invented a rabbinical sleuth named David Small, of Barnard's Crossing, Mass., and turned Friday the Rabbi Slept Late into a bestseller. Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry, Kemelman's...

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