Murder in the Synagogue
By T. V. LoCicero
Prentice Hall, 1970, 381 pages ISBN: 0-13-606590-2
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - November 5, 2012
I read, reviewed, and praised T.V. LoCicero's Squelched: The Supression of Murder in the Synagogue in which LoCicero tells the bizarre story of how after agreeing to publish his book Murder in the Synagogue and printing it, the publisher, Prentice Hall, engaged in quite a few measures to suppress its sales. I recommend this review to those interested in knowing about the cover-up of the 1966 shooting of well-known Detroit Rabbi Morris Adler during a Saturday morning service at Congregation Shaarey Zedek by a 23 year old disturbed congregant who immediately shot himself. The detailed non-fiction book Squelched reads with the speed of a best-selling fiction novel. I was intrigued by the story and secured and read the squelched book and was not disappointed.
LoCicero has the ability to write about very disturbing situations and people in a detailed, dispassionate, and engrossing manner. He tells us the history and thoughts of Rabbi Adler, his goals and disappointments, as told to him by the rabbi's wife and congregants who knew him, as well as non-Jewish clergy and the rabbi's writings. He also describes the rabbi's young murderer, reporting the words and descriptions of many of the young man's friends and acquaintances, male and female, as well as his writings. As we read the facts, we are able to see how the young man descends deeper and deeper to become disturbed, depressed, and somewhat paranoid. Among many other things, it is interesting to read about his friends' reactions to the young man prior to the murder-suicide, many of them saw him as an intelligent person, somewhat hyperactive, but not crazy. LoCicero ends his fascinating factual presentation with an epilogue in which he speculates over the causes of the young man's depression and anger, including why he directed his anger against the rabbi who was trying to help him.
I found nothing in Murder in the Synagogue that merited how Prentice Hall treated the book. To the contrary, it is, as I wrote, well-written, factual, and interesting.