Since I had used Marge Piercy enlightening book (Pesach for the rest of us) to prepare myself for Pesach, I decided to re-read one of her novels which I had particularly enjoyed a few years ago, The Longings of Women. Having 'aged' since then I found it even more captivating than the first time. She has a way of portraying real people that are so much like the rest of us (to paraphrase Marge herself) that we feel fame has not turned her head.
I then switched on to Batya Gur who had been recommended to me by a fellow blogger. I had in fact never even heard of her and was therefore sorry to learn that she had died of cancer two years ago, aged only 57. She was was an Israeli writer, specializing in detective fiction but also a literature critic and essayist for the newspaper Haaretz.
I read two of her novels within a few days ( The Saturday Morning Murder: A Psychoanalytic Case and Bethlehem Road Murder: A Michael Ohayon Mystery) and am looking forward to reading the other four she wrote.
Her main character is Chief Inspector Michael Ohayon of the Jerusalem police. This appealing character is a 38-year-old Moroccan-born Israeli - at least he is 38 in the first novel of the series - a former Cambridge scholar with an unfinished doctoral paper on guilds during the Middle Ages, a divorced father juggling a hopeless love affair, and a shrewd observer of the human condition.
No flat characters there, the most engaging ones have their flaws and the least agreeable have redeeming features. In addition, I appreciated the fact that her novels are set in Israel, a most-welcomed change for me.