Literary Murder

Gur, Batya. Literary Murder: a Critical Case. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1993.

We first met Michael Ohayon in The Saturday Morning Murder. Since then he has been promoted to Superintendent and his new case is the violent death of a famous poet, lecturer, critic and literature professor from Hebrew University. Curiously, at the same time, albeit miles away, another murder has taken place and this victim is also a member of the same department at the same university. Very interesting. What makes this case so interesting is that Ohayon must wrestle with the complexities of literary criticism, intellectual integrity, and ethics in a world of competitive academia. Everyone at the university becomes a suspect when the motive is simple envy.

One of the things that trips me up about Gur’s writing is the sheer number of characters she puts in her books. While many are well developed interesting characters many more of them are only mentioned once and never again. For some reason I decided to list them all (in alphabetically order):

  • Adiel – scholar
  • Adina Lipkin – faculty secretary
  • Agnon – poet
  • Aldandari – police
  • Anatoly Ferber – poet
  • Andre Sakarov
  • Ariyeh Levy – Major General Jerusalem Subdistrict commander
  • Ariyeh Klein – Medieval poetry professor previously on sabbatical at Columbia
  • Avidan – department investigations officer
  • Avigdor  – head of criminal identification division
  • Avraham Kalitzky – professor
  • Azariya – deputy recovering from back surgery
  • Becky Pomerantz – Uzi’s mother
  • Bialik – poet
  • Boris Zinger – Russian
  • Dana – daughter of Henry Wolf
  • Danny Balilty – intelligence officer
  • Davidov – Host of Book World
  • Dita Fuchs – professor; had an affair with Tirosh
  • Dovik – works in personnel
  • Eli Bahar – police medical examiner
  • Emanuel Shorer – Michael’s predecessor
  • Emuna Yaron – daughter of Agnon
  • Gilly – police spokesman
  • Guy – diving instructor
  • Dr Henry Wolf
  • Helena Radovensky – parent of Tirosh
  • Hirsh – pathologist worked with Michael 8 years
  • Hrabal – poet
  • Iddo Dudai – young, poet, murder victim
  • Illan Muallem – Ofakim police
  • Jan Schasky – parent of Tirosh
  • Kalman Aharonovitz
  • Malka “Mali” Arditi – Klein’s mistress
  • Manfred Herbst – condemned to a leper’s hospital
  • Manny Ezra
  • Meir Shatz – historian
  • Menucha Tishkin – teacher
  • Marom – president of the college
  • Max Lowenthal – lawyer/professor
  • Maya – Michael Ohayon’s girlfriend
  • Michael Ohayon – inspector
  • Motti – diving instructor
  • Natan Zach – poet
  • Nathan Yaron
  • Nechama Leibowitz – professor
  • Nira – Michael’s ex-wife
  • Noa – Uzi’s second wife
  • Ofra Klein
  • Perla Lindborg – Swedish biologist
  • Pnina – Crime Identification Division; forensics
  • Rabbi Sharabi
  • Racheli Luria – third year psychology undergraduate; secretary’s assistant
  • Raffi Alfandan- police
  • Raffi Weizer – Agnon archives
  • Rina – comes to comfort Ruth
  • Ruchama Shai – Tuvia’s wife, had an affair with Shaul
  • Ruth Dudai – Iddo’s wife
  • Sara Amir – frumpy professor
  • Schlomo Ibn Gabriol – poet
  • Shmaya – reporter
  • Shatz – police
  • Shaul Tirosh/Pavel Schasky – lecturer, poet, ladies man, murder victim
  • Shaul – crime scene investigator; married 10 years
  • Shaul Tchernichowsky – poet
  • Shulamith Zellermaier – older, popular lit and folklore professor
  • Tali Shatz – daughter of proefessor who supervised Ohayon’s MA
  • Tsippi Lev-Ari (Goldgraber) – Aharonivitz’s assistant
  • Tuvia Shai – married to Ruchama; professor
  • Tzesha – Racheli’s aunt
  • Tzilla Bahar- Eli’s wife & pregnant
  • Tzipporah – coworker of Ruchama
  • Uzi Rimon – Michael’s childhood friend
  • Yaakov Gafni – Tirosh’s favorite painter
  • Yael Eisenstein – wife of Tirosh (divorced 6 months later) teaching assistant
  • Yehezkiel – poet
  • Yehuda Halevi – poet
  • Youzek – ex-father-in-law
  • Yuval Ohayon – son of Michael Ohayon
  • Zvika – photographer, crime scene investigator

I’m sure I missed a few people here and there, but you see what I mean. It’s not enough for a crime scene photographer to pop in and out of a scene. He, too, must have a name and a story.
Reason read: to continue the Michael Ohayon series started in March.

Author fact: This Ohayon mystery must have been particularly close to Gur’s heart for she was a literary professor in Jerusalem (as of 1993).

Book trivia: This is book #2 in Gur’s series about Inspector Michael Ohayon.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Crime is a Globetrotter: Israel” (p 61).



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