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Wedding Wipeout: A Rabbi Kappelmacher…

Wedding Wipeout: A Rabbi Kappelmacher Mystery

by Jacob M. Appel

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6621180,945 (3.41)1



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Written eerily similar to the Agatha Cristie’s Murder on the Orient (link review), which means it is probably not a coincidence one of the character’s names is Agatha. Like Agatha Cristie’s writing style, I loved the way the book is developed, organized in rational sequences of gathering evidence, interviewing and presenting the solution. The way Rabbi Kappelmacher approached the interviewing/interrogating of each person chapter by chapter, even the clear and concise name of each chapter based on the interviewee had my accountant’s brain singing.

I picked this book up in an attempt to connect with my Husband’s Jewish heritage through light reading, and while Jewish references are abundant, it was the humor and Agatha Cristie nod that kept me reading. Jacob Appel does an incredible job, yet again in showing us his talent, diverse writing abilities and uniquely funny plot lines.

*Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  JillRey | Mar 2, 2018 |
I loved Wedding Wipeout by Jacob M. Appel, in fact, I read it straight through. Hopefully, Mr. Appel has more books starring Rabbi Kappelmacher and his old rabbinic reasoning, as I am a fan already. ( )
  DeeDee81 | Feb 14, 2018 |
*I received this book from Members Giveaway in exchange for an unbiased review. Brief plot spoilers may follow.*

In this whodunnit, the death of a spinster sister puts an entire family's business out into the open as a massive inheritance becomes up for grabs. Lorraine and Florence Eisenstein are bound to permanent singlehood in order to hold onto an inheritance from their father. If one marries, the inheritance immediately goes to the other sister. Florence decides to break free and marry despite her father's wishes but mysteriously dies on her wedding night, leaving Lorraine without her sister but in control of the entire inheritance. This brings a splintered family back together, where stories get tangled and it comes out that almost everyone has some motive for knocking off their aunt. One of the family's attorneys used to be an assistant rabbi, and his suspicions about his client's family lead him back to his former rabbi and his new assistant for some advice. The rabbi sees a challenge that can only be explained rationally and accepts said challenge, turning into an amateur detective and dragging his exasperated assistant along for the ride.

I'm a little conflicted on my opinion of this book. On one hand, I can see bits of Agatha Christie setups in the book and I appreciate the throwback to an era of mystery past. I liked that the suspect could have been any of the Eisenstein relatives and it was hard to determine exactly who had the right amount of motive to pull off a murder. However, I did think the plot was a bit clumsy in its execution and the way things progressed kind of took the punch out of any big reveals. Everything felt anti-climactic in a way and it started to get confusing with all of the nonessential information that was included. The end of the story had a Poirot-worthy monologue and reveal, which I also appreciated, but the clues that were given that led to said reveal were so obscure in some cases that I missed them entirely. Maybe it's not the book at all and I'm just a bad reader, lol. I spent most of the book feeling as confused as Steinmetz was, which may or may not have been the point. I'm not sure. I did see a bit of growth from Steinmetz throughout the book, but it was slow in coming. I think the rabbi's point was to get him to actually use his powers of deduction and reasoning with a healthy dose of skepticism so that his viewpoint didn't remain as narrow as it was. Sound advice, I think. I didn't start to notice any change in him until somewhere around the middle of the book, when he finally accepted that they were in over their heads and he'd have to ride out the entire case with the rabbi whether he liked it or not. This didn't change how many times he continued to get things wrong lol, but I did appreciate that he finally started to expand his mind a bit. I also didn't think we got a fleshed-out view of either rabbi; other than their immediate thoughts and instincts I didn't walk away knowing a lot about either of them. The bits about them that I did learn seemed to be sprinkled in with the bits we were learning about each suspect. If this is part of a series with the rabbis, I'd like to see more of who they are. Overall the book was okay, but I didn't love it. ( )
  mandygirl.10 | Feb 8, 2018 |
I was asked to review this by Librarything.com

I have to say this is the first Rabbi Kappelmacher mystery that I’ve read I so loved the plot a great old fashioned whodunit.

Father disowns son, leaving fortune to daughters but a clause when the first was to get married the other one would get everything.

But this was fine until they were both in the 70s and one had broken the will - she is murdered - will her sister be next. Who has the motive.

Highly entertaining story. ( )
  mexico24 | Feb 6, 2018 |
This novel is billed as a Rabbi Kappelmacher Mystery series, which I’d never heard of until I was awarded a LibraryThing Giveaway in exchange for a review. The story’s premise was intriguing. At first, I found the tale a light-weight romp in an Agatha-Christie style mystery. By a third of the way through, the plot had lost its momentum, suffering from too much repetitive action. The main character, Rabbi Kappelmacher, came across as a bit too presumptuous, acting rather implausibly as ‘let’s pretend we’re FBI agents’ and so forth. The assistant, Rabbi Steinmetz, appears in a supporting role as a studiously unsophisticated foil for explaining the plot development, quite a distracting mechanism similar to Conan Doyle’s ‘Watson’.

Although the story hinges on the terms of their father’s will governing the two sister’s marital status, the actual terms are never clearly spelled out until the novel is into the last third*. Clarity is an important aspect in a whodunit mystery because the reader needs to understand the key ramifications motivating the cast of characters. Since reader sleuthing is half the fun of this novel style, vague writing and repetitive action can be a killjoy. Consequently the novel was frequently in danger of hitting my DNF pile.

[Spoilers]. Old Mr. Eisenstein’s will stipulated that if the daughters married, they’d lose the inheritance. However, a few pages later, cousin Agatha quotes a conversation with Mr. Green, the family lawyer’s partner: ‘he told me that the second Florence married Alfred, Lorraine became free to marry with impunity. You might say that the will has been broken of its own accord.’ This declaration doesn’t fit the initial conversation between Mr. Green and the Rabbis, when the will was first discussed. Not until more than halfway way through the book is there clarification (*p. 164, “there was a loophole in the original will: only the first sister to marry was disinherited. Once the first sister married, the second was free to wed with impunity.”). Finally, identification of the murderer was a clever twist but the big reveal was so over-explained that the punch was lost. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Jan 28, 2018 |
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