The Miss­ing File

D. A. Mis­hani; Steven Cohen, trans.
  • Review
By – March 7, 2013

A teenage boy fails to come home from school, but Tel Aviv-based police inves­ti­ga­tor Avra­ham Avra­ham isn’t inspired to take imme­di­ate action. He’s con­vinced the boy will show up before morn­ing. He does not. The case is offi­cial­ly opened and esca­lates rapid­ly, in no small part because one of the boy’s neigh­bors throws tru­ly bizarre wrench­es into the search, thus fur­ther con­fus­ing the police. It is not easy to grasp if this man is a kid­nap­per, a mur­der­er, or only a bored Eng­lish teacher who is seek­ing excitement.

After reach­ing the con­clu­sion of a frus­trat­ing series of dead ends, Avra­ham has no choice but to leave for a long planned six day police exchange pro­gram in Brus­sels. He finds his Bel­gian col­leagues involved in their own com­plex case, with lit­tle time for their Israeli vis­i­tor, who finds him­self at loose ends and unable to keep his fin­ger on the pulse of the inves­ti­ga­tion he left behind. When he final­ly returns home, the inves­ti­ga­tion moves for­ward in dis­ap­point­ing, seem­ing­ly end­less fits and starts. Even­tu­al­ly, the case is wrapped up, reach­ing a tru­ly unex­pect­ed conclusion. 

The Miss­ing File is the first nov­el in a new series by an Israeli edi­tor of inter­na­tion­al fic­tion and crime lit­er­a­ture. Per­haps it was spend­ing his days read­ing man­u­scripts that helped him to avoid the pit­fall of rely­ing on com­mon­ly uti­lized for­mu­las, for this is far from a pre­dictable tale. Unlike the usu­al police pro­ce­dur­al, the process is messy. There are no chase scenes, no blood pound­ing cli­max. The read­er eaves­drops on char­ac­ters who feel like real peo­ple who don’t always main­tain con­trol over their own emo­tions and actions and are left hav­ing to cope with the con­se­quences. Avra­ham Avra­ham is a com­plex and com­pelling anti­hero and I look for­ward to his con­tin­u­ing adventures.

Read D. A. Mis­hani’s Posts for the Vis­it­ing Scribe

D. A. Mis­hani and the Mys­tery of the Hebrew Detec­tive 

Nao­mi Tropp recent­ly retired after a long career in non­prof­it man­age­ment. She worked on the Ann Katz Fes­ti­val of Books at the Indi­anapo­lis JCC for 9 of its twelve years and direct­ed the fes­ti­val for three of those years.

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