Kenneth Wishnia’s wonderful medieval murder mystery is set in 1592 Prague, the present-day capital of the Czech Republic. The body of a murdered Christian girl is dumped in a business shop in the Jewish ghetto, and the Jews are blamed for the murder. Benyamin Ben-Akiva, his rabbi and others try to find out who really killed the girl before the ghetto is destroyed.
The Fifth Servant highlights the stupidity, ignorance, and misunderstandings of some Christians concerning the Jewish people, such as the belief that some Jews are witches and use a secret language to curse people (that language is in fact Hebrew, which looks and sounds so foreign to them). The central problem is that Christians and Jews often do not understand one another’s culture and customs. This murder mystery is highly recommended not only for its story but also for the history of the time and place in which it is set.
Kenneth Wishnia has a Ph.D. in comparative literature and teaches at Suffolk Community College on Long Island. He is the author of five mystery novels, including 23 Shades of Black and Red House. He has also written novels under the name K.J.A. Wishnia.