Setting his tale after Baruch Goldstein's massacre of praying Muslims in Hebron in 1994 but before the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin the following year, Rosenberg puts Avram Cohen (The Cutting Room), reluctantly retired from the Jerusalem Police, in the middle of Israel's tumultuous politics. Disputes between Palestinians and Israelis and between secular and religious Jews color a murder case. Raphael Levi-Tsur, a London-based banker whose assets and influence are international, hires Cohen to find his missing grandson, Simon, who is about to reach his majority. With digging, Cohen learns that a religious man was looking for the unreligious Simon at his apartment, and he even finds the woman Simon was with the night he vanished near the Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem. But he learns all this too late to save Simon, whose body is found in the West Bank wilderness, not far from Hebron. Both the police brass and the boy's family believe--or say they believe--that Simon was killed by Hamas, or some enraged Palestinian extremist. Cohen isn't so sure. He suspects that a rich, undisciplined and possibly unbalanced young man like Simon could have been an object of interest to some of Israel's Jewish extremists. Nor can he overlook the fact that Simon was interested in some priceless museum pieces stolen long ago--embarrassingly, on Cohen's beat when he was a young policeman in Tel Aviv. Rosenberg's mystery derives its considerable appeal less from its puzzle--which is adequate--than from simply putting an intelligent, observant man in the middle of a complex, volatile society and giving him something to be curious about. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1996 Release date: 10/01/1996 Genre: Fiction
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