THE FINAL ANALYSIS OF DR. STARK
Telushkin, Joseph

(Bantam, 1988)

Reviewed by Sue Feder

One of my favorite books of 1987 was The Unorthodox Murder of Rabbi Wahl, introducing detecting Rabbi Daniel Winter, a fine and somewhat more modern counterpoint to Kemelman's David Small. Rabbi Winter returns to solve the murder of his long-time friend, Dr. Noah Stark. Stark was a psychiatrist to several prominent people, most of whom seem to have reason to want him dead. Drawn by the Code of Jewish Law, ‘provoked into fury and the desire to avenge’, Winter finds the key to the murder deep within Jewish history. Interwoven neatly into the action are many details of Jewish rituals, along with their meanings and origins. I like this Rabbi Winter, and his creator.

AN EYE FOR AN EYE
Telushkin, Joseph

(UK Collins Crime Club, 1990)

Reviewed by Sue Feder

The daughter of a prominent surgeon is killed by her ex-boyfriend and the legal footwork by defense counsel -- including slandering the victim and convincing the jury that she instigated the situation -- gets him off with little more than a judicial slap on the wrist. Distraught that the system has failed him, the father effects justice with his own hands. Shortly after he is released on bail, with the testimony of orthodox Rabbi Daniel Winter swaying the court, a second murder is committed in which the father is again implicated. Yes, this is a mystery which involves the deduction of the real killer, but it is much more than that. It is an examination of the differences among the concepts of justice, revenge, punishment and forgiveness in the eyes of the American system of jurisprudence, the Talmud and the Catholic Church, and addresses concerns that date back as far as the beginnings of civilization and codified laws. It is also a remarkable plea for the justification of capital punishment in a time when the breakdown of the moral fiber of our society is ever-more aided by an overloaded, underbudgeted system which repeatedly sets violent criminials free to kill or maim again.