Who murdered the celebrated rock singer Dalia Shushan? Did controversial philosophy professor Yehuda Menuhin commit suicide or was he murdered? And what is the connection between the two events? These are the questions facing private investigator Elish Ben-Zaken, a former philosophy student, rock music expert and author. Like all the people in Adaf`s intelligent thriller, Elish is an unusual character. Born into a family of Moroccan immigrants, he grew up in an outlying town, and although he now lives in Tel Aviv, people still say that he is a roughneck posturing as an intellectual. Asked to investigate Menuhin`s suicide, Elish finds evidence that leads him to the murder of Dalia Shushan, whom he knew as a young girl and idolized. Like him, Dalia had come to Tel Aviv from a development town in the south, studied at university and worked with Professor Menuhin. She also sang and wrote songs for a promising rock band. Rami, a member of the band, was in love with her, but she preferred Menuhin and became his lover in secret. Now, Elish gets hold of Dalia diaries -they reveal that she suffered constant mental abuse by Menuhin until she couldn`t stand it any more and killed herself. Rami, who found Dalia`s body, staged the scene of her death and misled the police into thinking she had been murdered. A small-time crook who happened onto the scene was accused of the murder, but Rami did not come forward in his defense. Instead, Rami went to Menuhin`s home and murdered him in revenge. After solving the mystery, Elish declares, somewhat surprisingly, "As far as I`m concerned, justice has been done."
In his novel, Adaf introduces us to many areas of conflict in Israeli life. They are all present in his hero, who moves between them but is not defined by any one.
In his seamless transition between genres, Adaf resembles the virtuosi of Agnon.
The Newman Prize Committee
The qualities of this book…deserve an appreciative audience. We look forward to Adaf’s next book.