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The Sixth Riddle

The Tel Aviv detective, Josh Shirman, the hero of Yair Lapid`s fast-paced and dazzling bestseller, is the Israeli version of Raymond Chandler`s Philip Marlowe. He is a sarcastic loner, overweight and addicted to junk food, his hard-boiled exterior concealing a sensitive nature. He has a rare sense of humor and spouts wisecracks. Beautiful Hagar asks him to find her daughter Ya`ara, who went missing two years ago. According to her, she recently caught a glimpse of Ya`ara on TV. Josh is sceptical, but he is attracted to Hagar and accepts the job. During a heatwave, he studies the details of the case with the help of several experts – a police officer, a criminologist and a pathologist – old acquaintances from his days in the police force. He soon discovers that six nine-year-old girls have disappeared in the past few years in similar circumstances, and the bodies of four of them have been discovered buried in sand dunes. Josh is convinced that he is dealing with a serial killer of little girls, and is only too aware that he is involved in a race against time. His investigation leads him to a moshav near Lod where he meets Atalia, mother of the first missing child. The child`s body has never been recovered. Atalia is an attractive, sensual woman, who bestows her favors generously on the detective, to the resentment of her oafish neighbor, who has been chasing her unsuccessfully for years. It turns out that it was the neighbor who murdered her daughter, but is he the serial killer? No. Atalia is responsible for the deaths of four of the little girls and is about to murder Ya`ara by the same method. Josh is there in order to prevent her from carrying out her scheme.

French, Greek, Russian
Title The Sixth Riddle
Writer's Last Name Lapid
Writer's First Name Yair
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Keshet
No. Pages 220pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Chida Ha-Shihit
  • “ Once again, detective Josh Sherman does wonders untangling the case that the police cannot solve … and will reach a partly unexpected conclusion. Lapid explores the underbelly of Israeli life with biting humour and a sharp sense of intrigue. ”

    Le Monde
  • “ Lapid leaves the imprint of his personality on every line of his new thriller… Unbeatable in the psychology of serial killers and a great writer of characters full of local color, Yair Lapid gives a very particular atmosphere to his enjoyable thriller... No doubt about it, Yair Lapid knows how to generate serial readers. ”

    Paris Match
  • “ The book is so delightful that it may be worth persuading Lapid to write some more Josh Shirman stories. ”