HILL OF SECRETS by Michal Hartstein

hill-of-secretsA really nice detective mystery, set in the outskirts of Tel Aviv.  That would be Israel, for any of you who are geographically challenged.

A thirty-ish single woman leaves her lucrative attorney’s job to become a police woman, much to the dismay of her mother.  In their community, the highest calling is to get married and produce four children.  Her two sisters are well on their way, leaving Hadas Levinger divorced and working in an unusual job.  She actually divorced her husband because she absolutely did not want children, and he did  and he thought he could eventually changer her mind.  But alas for him, nope.

The book starts out:

A month before Meir Danilowitz got up in the middle of the night to shoot his entire family and then himself to death, I divorced my husband.

All righty!  I’m in!

It seemed to be a locked room mystery, all doors and windows locked from the inside, but it was so uncharacteristic of  Danilowitz that the Police Chief assigned Hadas to investigate a little more.  Well, that investigation revealed that there was more to Meir than being in terrible debt with a wife who didn’t love him and only wanted to spend spend spend, and we find out that there was more to the local clown who did children’s parties, etc on weekends and was a high tech exec by day.

Beautifully written, and unique-ish because it was set in a religious community in Israel, (not a lot of regular murder mysteries set in Israel that aren’t connected in some way with ancient artifacts, documents, etc.) and because of its wonderful lady cop, who interweaves her personal life and musings with the people she meets on the case, and her family, etc.

It is not clear, but I believe it was written Israeli and then translated to English, but no credit is given to a translator, so Mz. Hartstein may have done the translation herself.  Other reviewers have complained about the typos, etc, but the version I have was clean and altogether delightful.





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