I gave this 3 stars for the story though the translation deserves a maximum of one star.
The book starts with a lot of dialogue which I found choppy and difficult to get into.
I'm not sure whether it was the quality of the translation or simply the fact that Israeli way of talking is so different from English.
I did enjoy the interaction between the members of the police team and the postmortem scene was just too gory for me.
The whole story was rather slow-paced but the rather introspective love scenes were heavy going and unsatisfying. I wasn't quite sure what our hero saw in Ada.
But the conclusion of the mystery was logical and quite tense.
For me the story became most engrossing and interesting when it delved into the history of the stolen Yemenite children. I remember the events with Rabbi Meshulam and the committee investigating the affair. The story accurately portrayed the anguish and uncertainty felt by the parents as well as the nebulous nature of both the accusations and the conclusions. (Even when children were found to have been adopted most DNA tests disproved a genetic connection with the people they had become convinced were their parents)
My father's family in from North Africa and several of his siblings spent many months in the immigrant camps and although Israel is a different place now there are still members of an older generation who express sentiments not dissimilar from those of Clara Beinish.
This is a slow paced mystery that also makes a reasonable attempt at literary fiction with several well developed characters and other familiar Israeli 'characters' brought to life in quick sketches.
Possibly in the original the writing style is also quite appealing from the translation you can have no idea.
Ah the translation. It was pretty much what you would expect if you stuck the whole text into Babelfish or Google translate and then corrected grammar and spelling. Maybe that is an exaggeration but there were many phrases translated literally from the Hebrew with no thought as to how an English speaker might understand them.
A few examples.
The darkness of Egypt – this is a metaphor used frequently in Hebrew and references the 9th biblical plague of Egypt from Exodus. I have never heard it used in English and as a result it just sounded awkward.
"The wicked man, what does he say?" – for a start the quote is incorrect, it should be 'the wicked son'. As it is a direct quote from the Hagada of Passover I doubt that any non-Jew not familiar with the liturgy of Passover would have any idea what he was talking about.
Also "the revenged of a woman scorned is the worst" is just lazy translation with such a well-known saying as 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.'
And my favourite, mainly because it is also a favourite with Israeli Tourists, - 'go know'. This is a direct translation from Hebrew but in English 'go figure' would have been more appropriate.