Crime is an international evil, something that happens in every city in the world, and yet we often only hear of the most sinister of cases. The crime in our own part of the world connects with us more consistently and completely. Although many fictional detectives are of international fame, we are more cognizant of those in America.
In The Missing File by D. A. Mishani, we are taken into the heart of Tel Aviv, where for police Detective Avraham Avraham, there is little crime. For him, when crimes happen, the simplest answer always seems to be the right one. When he becomes embroiled in the case of a missing schoolboy, he is sure the case will work itself out. He is so sure the boy is fine; he doesn’t even initially file a report. For him, Ofer will simply show up after staying with friends or some other likely sequence.
Yet when he does not show up, Avraham is bewildered. He is not prepared for the circumstances that seem to come to light as the days drag on. As the leads begin to come in, he is stunned at the complexity of answers that seem to be evolving. When the young man’ neighbor and tutor tries to help with answers, he finds himself a suspect as well. Yet as the neighbor weaves his own bizarre story, Avraham finds himself with an even different scenario than he could have imagined. Can he find the missing boy alive, or is it already too late? Has he made an error of judgment that will come back to haunt him for year to come?
Avraham is an interesting and eclectic personality. Steady and sure, he finds passion in finding the mistakes in the crimes solved by the best detectives in fiction novels. Each time he succeeds in finding the mistake, he begins to believe his own hype. Crime just does not happen in his city. He is so upset at the way things are going, he finds himself too easily distracted. Things are not going as he planned. Deciding to move forward with his own vacation, even as the disappearance is still being investigated, he finally begins to understand himself.
Ofer, the boy who disappears, seems like a wonderful lad. His neighbor certainly found him to be quite smart. Being a schoolteacher, his neighbor Zeev was a likely tutor when Ofer was struggling. Where Ofer was charming, Zeev is a bit strange. He doesn’t understand the red herrings he has littered through the investigation, and by the time he realizes his error, it is too late.
If you enjoy mysteries, you will find this an interesting work. The viewpoint of the detective is interesting, and makes him very likable. The crime set in such a place, gives us another view of the area, one rich in history. Avraham is an interesting person and makes you care about what is happening.
This would be a great book for a book club or reading group. This is a work of contrasts, one to keep the conversation going for some time. The suspense will keep you reading as Avraham finds the answers to the mystery of the missing boy, as well as to his own sense of self.