Crimes of the City

Robert Rosenberg, Author
Robert Rosenberg, Author Simon & Schuster $18.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-70222-9
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-14-016686-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-1-890208-03-5
Paperback - 200 pages - 978-1-890208-81-3
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Although the title of this impressive thriller debut is geographically nondescript, its story of religious, political and international tension could only be set in Jerusalem. Two nuns, mother and daughter, residing in the Red Russian Orthodox mission in Ein Kerem, are savagely knifed to death. Avram Cohen, head of Jerusalem's Criminal Investigation Department, and other police, security and political figures become involved, including the Begin-like prime minister, who is anxious that justice be done while hopeful that the perpetrator is not Jewish. More frustrated than usual by the byzantine strictures of Israeli politics, Cohen is stymied, until he is able to plant a mole in the Russian mission. The result is useful information and a tongue-lashing from the prime minister, who is anxious not to offend the Soviets on the eve of sensitive talks. Rosenberg, who lives in Tel Aviv and previously wrote Shcharansky: A Journey Home ) is obviously familiar with Jerusalem's geography, and descriptions of the neighborhoods that comprise the Holy City are woven skillfully into the narrative. The writing is fluent and mature, and one gets a clear, if foreboding sense of the religious fanaticism that threatens to disrupt the fragile truce of Jerusalem's daily life. (Feb.)
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