Adam Lapid is a Holocaust survivor who lost his family in Auschwitz. He has police training, but now, in the young state of Israel, he is working as a private detective. In 1952, Adam gets himself in trouble with the law when he joins protesters in Jerusalem marching to the Knesset to speak out against Israel’s acceptance of German reparations. His character stands in for the survivors who were not ready to forgive Germany their crimes, much less accept their money and goods.
The history of Jerusalem as a divided city and the efforts of David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin during this time in Israel’s history are all entwined with the mystery plot of a young girl, Moria Gafni, who has died by suicide. Her father, a wealthy businessman with connections in high places, is able to rescue Adam when the police intervene. In exchange, Adam has agreed to find out why Moria took her own life.
There are many twists that lead Adam into dangerous situations and a few distractions that keep the reader from guessing what happened to Moria. The storyline is unusual and interesting. The thoroughly researched Israeli history is an added bonus, illustrating the early days of the state’s first leaders and how they were able to improve Israel’s economy and avert financial catastrophe.
In each chapter, we learn more about Adam’s past and his strong moral code as an empathic character. Following him through the lively streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the reader feels like she is walking at his side.
Merle Eisman Carrus resides in New Hampshire and writes book reviews for the NH Jewish Reporter newspaper. She is a graduate of Emerson College and received her Masters of Jewish Studies from Hebrew College. She blogs her book reviews at firstname.lastname@example.org