Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Story of Purim: A twisted psychological thriller that will keep you guessing

Hello readers. How are you holding up? In the Poconos, it hasn't stopped snowing. A few weeks ago, we recieved 30 inches of powder in three days and then it just kept coming. At this rate, I won't glimpse my lawn until May.

In addition to it being February 87th (shortest month, my ass), we'll be celebrating Purim, my favorite Jewish holiday. Purim, unlike many of our more somber occasions, is sheer fun. People dress up. We make cookies. If you go to temple services, you can boo and hiss and wave noise-makers at the villain. It's a delight.

So I thought it would be a hoot to write the story of Purim in the style of a bestselling crime thriller.

First, let's recap(ish) Purim:

Purim is the story of Queen Esther. After King Ahasuerus executes Queen Vashti for disobeying him, he hosts a contest and selects Esther, known for her great beauty, as the winner, and marries her. Esther is Jewish and her new husband has a wicked advisor named Haman. Haman hates the Jews (boo anti-semitism), particularly Esther's cousin Mordecai, who is a community leader. Haman thinks Mordecai and the Jews should bow to him. But Jews only show deference to God, so that isn't happening. Yada, yada, yada, Mordecai is set to die until Esther pleads with her husband to protect her people. Spoiler alert: Haman is sent to the gallows instead. Mordecai becomes the king's advisor and the Jews are saved (until next time).

So this story has all the trappings of a good suspense novel: a beautiful protagonist who is likely underestimated. Powerful and wicked men. Impending death. Comeuppance. 

So let's pretend for a second, that this is the basis for a crime thriller. How would it sound? (Keep in mind, this is a first draft)


Queen Esther has it all. A gilded throne. A powerful husband. The Kingdom of Persia at her feet. Life seems perfect, but under that facade lies a web of murder and secrets. Her husband is a dangerous man. If Esther crosses him, she is as good as dead. Just ask his first wife.

Esther's only confidant is Moredcai, a father figure, who sees Esther's status as a way to protect the Jewish people. When the king's ruthless advisor Haman convinces the king to hang Mordecai for disobedience, Esther hatches a dangerous con. She'll not only have to play her husband, but Haman too--risking her life and those of everyone she loves. If she can't take Haman down, she'll die trying. 


Ok, so what do you think? It needs some tweaks, but it was a fun exercise. Thus begging the question, what holiday would make for a good book? And what genre would serve it best?

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