A Scotch, a Herring, and a Crime


Scotch and herring is the snack of Jewish royalty–the old men at the back of the synagogue on Saturday morning, that is.

From this honored tradition, the “Scotch and Herring Mysteries“–a new series of short crime novels by David Y.B. Kaufmann–takes its name. The first short novel, Rampage on Rogers Avenue, opens with a terse conversation between two Brooklyn policemen. A break-in at a Jewish pawn shop. An assault on the elderly shopkeeper. All of this happened on a Saturday morning, on the Jewish Sabbath.

To solve the case, NYPD Detective James McCallum enlists the help of a childhood friend, Drew Adala–or, as he’s now known, Rabbi Beryl Adala. Now an Orthodox rabbi, Adala is Detective McCallum’s peephole into a reclusive community. In this shakily restarted friendship, McCallum is drawn in, not only to the case, but also to Rabbi Adala’s new world, a world of strange religious rites and unfamiliar social behavior. And, yes, Saturday morning scotch and herring.

Their partnership isn’t the first match between a rabbi and an Irish Catholic police chief (the Rabbi Small murders might have that honor), but the Scotch and Herring Mysteries are a riveting–and welcome–addition to the club.

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