Introducing Inspector Avraham Avraham by the Forward

Introducing Inspector Avraham Avraham

Today D. A. Mishani continues with his series “The Mystery of the Hebrew Detective,” where he has been investigating why it’s so difficult to write a detective in Israel. His first detective novel, “The Missing File,” was published by Harper. The second novel in the series, “A Possibility of Violence,” will be published in the U.S. in 2014. His blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:

Introducing Inspector Avraham Avraham by the ForwardIntroducing Inspector Avraham Avraham by the Forward

I can honestly say I was concerned by this “Mystery of the Hebrew Detective,” mainly before and after writing the first installment in my literary detective series, “The Missing File.”

As I come from a family of Mizrahi origins, and since I admire the literary tradition of the realistic police-procedural, I chose not to back down. My protagonist, Inspector Avraham Avraham, is a peripheral character, from Mizrahi origins, like police officers in Israel usually are, and certainly like they are in Israeli culture.

He works in Holon, my home town, which is an urban, lower-middle-class, suburb of Tel Aviv. He didn’t grow up in a kibbutz, he doesn’t work for the Mossad, and the cases he’s investigating don’t have any national importance. He doesn’t chase old hiding Nazi criminals and not even Muslim terrorists. In “The Missing File,” he’s just looking for a 16-year-old boy, as unimportant as him, who went missing.

Still, I tried to address the problem of writing a detective in Israel in some ways.

For example, my inspector, in this first novel, is not very bright and not always successful. My plan is that he’ll get better and better as the series continues, until he’s as good as Sherlock Holmes. My hope is that his slow progression will make it easier to accept him as a realistic literary hero.

I also gave him a female boss, from Ashkenazi origins, toward whom he has complex feelings of admiration and fear. With this set-up, I tried to reflect the ethnic and social tensions which affect the possibility of him becoming a true Israeli hero.

Have I succeeded? Will Inspector Avraham become “a mythological character in Hebrew literature” as one of the novel’s critics wrote?

I still don’t know.

I do know that the response to his character and to the novel in foreign countries and languages to which it was translated, were sometimes even stronger than they were in Israel. It seemed to me that it was sometimes easier for foreign readers to accept him as true Israeli protagonist than it was for readers here.

But I can tell you one thing about Inspector Avraham Avraham — he never gives up.

And neither do I.

We’re both determined to put an end to this “Myetsery of the Hebrew Detective” — solve it, once and for all.


Learn more about D. A. Mishani here.


The Jewish Book Council is a not-for-profit organization devoted to the reading, writing and publishing of Jewish literature. For more Jewish literary blog posts, reviews of Jewish books and book club resources, and to learn about awards and conferences, please visit www.jewishbookcouncil.org.

MyJewishLearning.com is the leading transdenominational website of Jewish information and education. Visit My Jewish Learning for thousands of articles on Judaism,Jewish holidays,Jewish history and more.

Author

Introducing Inspector Avraham Avraham

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Introducing Inspector Avraham Avraham

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close