Rabbi Kappelmacher

(creator: Jacob M Appel)


Jacom M A~ppel
Rabbi Kappelmacher was over 60 years old and had a "bushy gray beard" and eyes that gleamed or "bulged" when he got excited. He was perfectly prepared to tell lies when investigating suspects ("I'm not actually a rabbi" but Inspector Kappelmacher of the FBI, he would claim), and argued that "small lies are permissible if they expose a larger truth. That's in the Talmud." He enjoyed putting his assistant rabbi firmly in his place by frequently emphasising to him the importance of "rabbinic reasoning .... Children and animals take things on faith. Rabbis think rationally.... If you want proof of God, it is to be found in the miracle of reason. Only a divine being could create a world in which everything can be explained by careful analysis." He also enjoyed good kosher food.

Jacob M Appel (1973 - ) was born to a Jewish family in the Bronx and raised in Scarsdale, New York. He has a BA at Brown University in English and American literature and in history that was followed by numerous master's degrees in European history, American history, creative writing, bioethics, law, playwriting and medicine! He explains, "The truth of the matter is that I like learning new things." He has published many short stories, and his first novel, The Man who Wouldn't Stand Up, was given an international book award. He also publishes in the field of bioethics.He is currently a practicing psychiatrist in New York City.

Wedding Wipeout (2013)
Wedding Wipeout Is narrated throughout by the assistant rabbi. He tells how sisters Florence and Lorraine Eisenstein, heirs to an egg-cream fortune, have been bound for years by a peculiar will that automatically disinherits them if they marry, and they have remained spinsters into old age. Then, without explanation, Florence suddenly decides to marry and dies shortly after the wedding of an asthma attack. Or that, at least, is the story agreed upon by the family and the authorities. Rabbi Kappelmacher thinks otherwise, and as he regards it as our "rabbinic duty to provide a rational explanation for her death", he sets out on a long trail to interview suspect after suspect.


It is a complicated story, not made any easier to follow by all the Jewish names and references ("You're often a noodnik and a kabitzer but rarely a dumkopf," he tells his assistant). Parts of it quite amusing, as when Rabbi Kappelmacher tells a suspect that not only he and his assistant rabbi are undercover agents of the FBI, but even the cleaning lady and an innocuous neighbour are too (in fact "Everyone in this building - with the exception of you - is an FBI operative")! And it is fun when he invents imaginary Jewish awards as an excuse for interviewing suspects (such as making one of them "an honorary noodnik's neighbour"). But, as with so many self published books, it would have benefited from some judicious pruning so that, for example, we did get quite so much repetition of the rabbi telling his assistant of his need for "rabbinic reasoning". As it is, this gets distinctly tedious.

There is a lack of excitement and of a strong enough narrative to hold the interest throughout, as when Kappelmacher gathers all the suspects together at the end and indulges in long tedious explanations which totally lack the suspense and bite of his mentor Poirot. He is not really a very memorable detective.



The author has his own website and there are numerous references to, and interviews with, him on the web.



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Wedding Wipeout cover
The cover effectively suggests tthe amusing content of the book.
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