Internationally acclaimed author Batya Gur is known for her psychologically astute mysteries set in Israel and for the brooding and attractive Chief Superintendent Michael Ohayon they feature. In her latest novel, the body of a young woman is discovered in the attic of a Bethlehem Road house, in a neighborhood of Jerusalem known for its impenetrability to outsiders. Chief Superintendent Ohayon is called to the scene of the crime, where, beyond the usual horror, an old love and an unfinished romance await him.
In the style that has made Batya Gur an author who is read the world over, Bethlehem Road Murder spins out a complex and fascinating murder investigation set in a Jerusalem neighborhood that encapsulates the entire Israeli experience in miniature. This closed world with rules and a logic of its own is one in which each character has a secret he or she is struggling to hide.
Chief Superintendent Ohayon's criminal investigation is conducted against the backdrop of tensions between Ashkenazim and Mizrahim, hostility between Jews and Arabs, the affair of the kidnapped Yemenite children, and the al Aqsa Intifada. During the course of the investigation Michael Ohayon uncovers what is concealed beneath the surface reality, and in so doing, powerfully and dramatically reveals the subtext of Israeli society today.
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Batya Gur (1947-2005) lived in Jerusalem, where she was a literary critic for Haaretz, Israel's most prestigious paper. She earned her master's in Hebrew literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and she also taught literature for nearly twenty years.From Publishers Weekly:
Starred Review. Israeli author Gur's outstanding police procedural, her fifth Michael Ohayon mystery (after 1998's Murder Duet), can hold its own with the best work of P.D. James. Chief Superintendent Ohayon, a restrained and understated figure who will remind many of James's Adam Dalgleish, investigates the brutal murder of an attractive young woman whose bludgeoned corpse is found by chance in the attic of a house undergoing renovation in Jerusalem's Baka neighborhood. Despite a subordinate's suspicions of a Palestinian laborer who was working on the building, Ohayon sets his team to exploring the victim's complex relationships, which include those with her employer, an older lawyer who decided for some reason to give her a valuable apartment, and her mother, an immigrant who recently began attending secret meetings. The detective's discovery that the dead woman had been probing one of the worst scandals in Israel's history suggests that she might have been silenced because some individuals implicated in that horror feared disclosure. Gur excels at creating living, breathing secondary characters, and in Ohayon she has fashioned a three-dimensional, intelligent and empathetic hero whose patience and compassion lead him to the tragic truth. This engrossing psychological study should appeal to a wide readership, not just those fascinated with the promises and paradoxes of the Jewish state.
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