Squelched: The Suppression of Murder in the Synagogue
By T. V. LoCicero
TLC Media, 2012, 265 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - September 13, 2012
T. V. LoCicero tells how his book Murder in the Synagogue about a 1966 murder and suicide was squelched. In Murder, he described how Detroit Rabbi Morris Adler was shot during services at Congregation Shaarey Zedek by a 23 year old disturbed congregant who immediately shot himself. Although non-fiction, this detailed book reads with the speed of a best-selling fiction novel.
LoCicero, a non-Jew, hired an agent who was able to obtain a contract for him from Prentice-Hall, Inc., with a rather large advance. Prentice-Hall was enthusiastic about the book, promised that about 300 copies would be sent out to respected reviewers, and speaking arrangements would be made for him. But soon the publisher began to treat him coolly, printed only 4,000 copies and then destroyed the press; hardly any books were sent to reviewers, only some letters; he was not told about interviews; Prentice-Hall refused to send books to a book club willing to purchase 2,000 copies; and stores only received two or three copies of the book, and when they asked for more were told the book was out of print.
Then a remarkable morally-minded young woman from the congregation called and told him that she felt he had been mistreated. She revealed that the very influential and wealthy, three-quarters of a billionaire, Max Fisher told some of his friends, in her presence, that he had squelched the book. He and apparently and just a few others felt that the disclosures in it would hurt the congregation. He did this despite the murdered rabbi's wife saying that she liked the book. It was clear that Fisher had put pressure on Prentice-Hall to kill the book.
LoCicero describes what he did next, how Prentice-Hall reacted to his accusations of deceit and criminality, how another author suffered a similar fate at Prentice-Hall, and the reactions of other people associated with the publishing industry to both Murder in the Synagogue and to this book being squelched.