A Death in Jerusalem

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By Jonathan Dunsky; reviewed by Jeannette Hartman

In January 1952, Israel is roiling in protests against debates in the Knesset about negotiations with Germany for Holocaust reparations.

Private investigator and Auschwitz survivor Adam Lapid is outraged at the idea that money could ever make up for the loss of his wife, daughters, mother, sisters and best friend.

Supporters of reparations believe it is the only way the Israeli economy can survive.

Adam goes to Jerusalem to join the protests. But when the protests turn violent, he goes to the aid of a policeman who is being beaten by an enraged protestor. The protestor runs, but arriving policemen assume that Adam injured their fellow officer. He is arrested and taken to jail.

Adam is facing a near-certain sentence and jail term. After years in Auschwitz, he knows he cannot endure being locked up again. He’s stunned when he’s released after only a single night in jail.

A reporter he’s dealt with has recommended him as a private investigator to rich and powerful Tel Aviv businessman Baruch Gafni.

Gafni pulls strings to get Adam released to investigate a sensitive matter. Gafni wants him to investigate his daughter Moira’s suicide and find out who she raged at in her cryptic suicide note.

The more time Adam spends with Gafni, the more he despises him. Money and profits drive Gafni. He’s a strong supporter of reparation negotiations with Germany because it benefits his business. He is a womanizer whose wife committed suicide. Moira was the one who discovered her body.

Gani admits that he and his daughter didn’t get along, although he had been trying to improve their relationship. There’s no question that Moira’s death was anything but suicide. Her father is certain that she didn’t kill herself because of him

Despite her father’s wealth, Moria lived a modest life as a children’s nurse in a Jerusalem hospital. She was beloved by her patients and their parents, but not so much by the doctors she worked with. Adam learns that she was frank with parents when she disagreed with the treatments doctors recommended.

Beyond that, information is illusive. Even Moira’s closest friends have no idea what might have driven her to suicide. As he investigates, Adam must evade the rogue police officers who blame him for their colleague’s injuries.

This book is different than earlier Adam Lapid mysteries. It’s the first to take place primarily in Jerusalem. It also offers glimmers that Adam may be ready to allow himself to have his first real relationship with a woman since the murder of his wife at Auschwitz. It’s only a glimmer; more to be revealed in future books.

The other books in the Adam Lapid series (in story line chronological order) are:


#jonathandunsky #adeathinjerusalem  #jeannettehartman

The Author: Jonathan Dunsky (1978 – )

Born and raised in Israel, Jonathan Dunsky is known for his historical mysteries set in Israel in the 1940s and ’50s.

In addition to his Adam Lapid mystery series, he has written a standalone crime thriller, THE PAYBACK GIRL, and short stories in various genres. He writes in English.


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