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Murder in Jerusalem
Cover of Murder in Jerusalem
Murder in Jerusalem
Michael Ohayon Series, Book 6
by Batya Gur
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The sixth and final novel from beloved and critically-acclaimed Israeli crime novelist Batya Gur—a stunning tale of a beautiful and secretive woman's murder, set against the politically charged backdrop of the Israeli media
Acclaimed Israeli director Benny Meyuhas' film production of the heartbreaking work "Iddo and Eynam" promises to be a landmark of Israeli film—until his wife and the films' set designer Tirzah Rubin is crushed under a set piece, stalling the production indefinitely.

But more shocking is what comes to light in the investigation—that Tirzah's storybook life wasn't at all what it seemed, and that her death may have been part of a larger network of social and political unrest. The brooding Chief Superintendent Michael Ohayon has spent his career surrounded by horrific crimes, but perhaps none most deeply disturbs him than Tirzah's murder, its strange connection to Israeli labor disputes and religious corruption shaking him to the core.

The crowning achievement to a magnificent career, this final installment in the Michael Ohayon series is a wonderful parting gift from the incomparable Batya Gur—one last fascinating visit to an always tumtultous land, in the company of a detective the author and her devoted readers have loved so well.

The sixth and final novel from beloved and critically-acclaimed Israeli crime novelist Batya Gur—a stunning tale of a beautiful and secretive woman's murder, set against the politically charged backdrop of the Israeli media
Acclaimed Israeli director Benny Meyuhas' film production of the heartbreaking work "Iddo and Eynam" promises to be a landmark of Israeli film—until his wife and the films' set designer Tirzah Rubin is crushed under a set piece, stalling the production indefinitely.

But more shocking is what comes to light in the investigation—that Tirzah's storybook life wasn't at all what it seemed, and that her death may have been part of a larger network of social and political unrest. The brooding Chief Superintendent Michael Ohayon has spent his career surrounded by horrific crimes, but perhaps none most deeply disturbs him than Tirzah's murder, its strange connection to Israeli labor disputes and religious corruption shaking him to the core.

The crowning achievement to a magnificent career, this final installment in the Michael Ohayon series is a wonderful parting gift from the incomparable Batya Gur—one last fascinating visit to an always tumtultous land, in the company of a detective the author and her devoted readers have loved so well.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Michael Ohayon laid A Suitable Boy, the heavy volume in which he had been immersed for weeks, especially the past two, during his vacation, at the foot of his bed. How was it possible to write a novel like this and at the same time live one's life? How suddenly familiar and true were the claims voiced by many women in his life, claims he had heard often enough from his only son as well, about the manner in which he lost himself in his work, how there was no approaching him while he was on a case. To create and write about some reality or to investigate it seemed suddenly to him like the very same effort, the very same anxiety.

    A sudden noise cut his thoughts short. He hurried to the hallway, and from there to the bathroom. He had left the cabinet door under the sink open so that the dampness there would not grow moldy. The bucket he had placed under the sink had overturned, as if a cat had passed by. But no cat had passed by. The windows were shut and the blinds were closed and rain was pounding and a puddle of dirty water was gathering by the front door. There was no explanation for the overturned bucket. "The butterfly effect," Tzilla would say had she witnessed the scene, which would be certain to irritate Balilty: "Effects again?" he would exclaim. "Butterflies again? Aren't you fed up with all that yet? What's the matter, aren't there any other explanations in the world? Let's see you, for once, just say 'I don't know'!" Michael returned to his bedroom and glanced at the full packet of cigarettes lying next to the reading lamp on the small night table. He had not smoked the whole day. The first week of his vacation he had spent counting and rationing. Each day he had smoked two fewer cigarettes than the day before. Later, when he understood that he would need twenty days in order to quit smoking entirely while he had at his disposal only one last week to make his abstinence a fait accompli, he had stopped smoking all at once. Five days had passed since his last cigarette. Perhaps that was why he was unable to fall asleep. And now the overturned bucket had jolted him into wakefulness. He would return to his book, that would be best. One thing he could say about this book for sure was that its wonderful collection of characters and historical events managed, occasionally, to divert his attention from smoking.

    At the very moment he managed to settle into just the right position and had nearly immersed himself in the book again, the telephone rang.

    Every work of art must be the result of overcoming obstacles; the more meaningful its execution is, the harder the obstacles seem to be, as if the creator has been put to the test against the very right that was granted him -- or that he took for himself -- to fulfill his own dream. Sometimes it even seems possible to think of obstacles and difficulties as the motivating force behind such creativity; in defiance, spiteful, as it were, but without which . . . Benny Meyuhas shook himself free of these musings, looking first at the monitor and then at Schreiber, the only cameraman he was willing to work with on this film. Schreiber's smooth, large, white face was shining when he lifted his head from the camera lens. Benny Meyuhas touched his shoulders and moved him gently aside in order to get a peek through the lens, and then he too saw the figure standing at the edge of the roof, near the railing, holding the hem of her white gown in her hand, her drawn and pale face turned to the dark sky. He lifted his head and pointed at the moon.

    Rain had fallen all week, especially at night, and even though the weather forecasters had noted repeatedly that these rains were beneficial, welcome, appearing now in mid-December...

About the Author-
  • 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.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 29, 2006
    Gur's tremendous literary gifts are on full display in her sixth contemporary Israeli mystery to feature the understated but insightful Sephardic detective, Insp. Michael Ohayon (after 2005's Bethlehem Road Murder
    ). The death of set designer Tirzah Rubin, found beneath a fallen pillar on the set of a film adaptation of S.Y. Agnon's Iddo and Eynam
    , appears to be an accident, but later evidence that it was murder brings Ohayon and his team into the swirl of personalities and politics that make up the national TV station, Channel One. When a witness to Tirzah's final moments also dies, from an overdose of heart medicine while hospitalized, the pressure on Ohayon intensifies. Once again, Gur uses a classic whodunit plot to explore human passions and insecurities with a sophistication equal to that of P.D. James and other better known authors of psychological crime fiction. The concluding moral dilemma Ohayon faces would have been fascinating to follow in future inquiries that will, alas, go unwritten, as Gur died in 2005.

  • New York Times Book Review "[A] biting cultural expose"
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Gur's tremendous literary gifts are on full display in her sixth contemporary Israeli mystery...a sophistication equal to that of P.D. James and other better known authors of psychological crime fiction.
  • Kirkus Reviews "[U]niquely Israeli take on the paradox of the sacred and profane in the Holy Land."
  • BookPage, Mystery of the Month "Gur's novels were insightful, thought provoking and eminently readable..."
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Michael Ohayon Series, Book 6
Batya Gur
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