Author: D.A. Mishani
Publisher: Harper, March 19, 2013
Genre: Mystery/Detectivd Fiction
My Rating: B+
As you know, I love mysteries and detective fiction. But, in all my reading this is the first time I’ve read a mystery set in Israel. I’m not so naive as to think crimes don’t happen everywhere humans live. But in fiction, I’m much more familiar with crime in the US, Canada, and, of course, every corner in Britain. Oh, and don’t forget Botswana.
Israel’s crime rate probably reflects what happens in the rest of the world although that’s not what the main character, Avraham Avraham believes. He said,
“We don’t have serial killers; we don’t have kidnappings; and there aren’t many rapists out there attacking women on the streets. Here, when a crime is committed it’s usually the neighbor, the uncle, or the grandfather, and there’s no need for a complex investigation to find the criminal and clear up the mystery. There’s simply no mystery here.”
Well, Avraham Avraham, you have a mystery now. In The Missing File, a teenage boy is missing. He left for school one morning and then he vanished. No one has seen him or has any idea where he might be.
Avraham Avaham is the police detective in charge. Avraham, also called Avi, is a 38 year old who doesn’t seem to have a lot of confidence. He doesn’t take charge and do the things I think he should do immediately. He’s very laid back, maybe because this sort o thing doesn’t happen very often. I don’t know if this is the way they do it in Israel or if it’s Avraham’s style.
In spite of what I just said, I liked Avraham. He has a big heart and a certain vulnerability that endeared him to me. He had good instincts about what to do although he didn’t always follow through.
We also see the story from the point of view of a weird neighbor. He knows the boy as he was a special tutor for him. He also teaches at the high school. He has some special information about the boy. With a lack of other suspects, it was easy for me, the reader, to suspect this neighbor. I thought the aithor could have left these sections out.
Not until the last half did the whole story come together for me. It really was a mystery. And, my respect for Avraham Avraham grew. (By the way, he does have the same first and last name. You’ll have to meet his parents. You’ll understand.) The great ending made me eager to read the next book in this new series. I want to read more of this guy with the crazy name.
I recommend The Missing File to all mystery and police procedural lovers. You’ll want to be in on the beginning of the series. I also suspect you’ll be hearing a lot more about Avraham Avraham.
About D. A. Mishani:
D. A. Mishani is the editor of Israeli fiction and crime literature at Keter Books in Israel and is a literary scholar specializing in the history of detective literature. The Missing File is his first novel and the first in a series featuring the police inspector Avraham Avraham.