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Jonathan Dunsky

A Death in Jerusalem (Adam Lapid Mysteries #7) - Ebook

A Death in Jerusalem (Adam Lapid Mysteries #7) - Ebook

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Book Description:

He knows who did the killing. Now he needs to figure out why.

Israel, 1952 – Private detective Adam Lapid tries to do the right thing. He may end up in prison because of it.

To stay free, Adam must work for a man he hates. The case is unusual. The identity of the killer is known, but the motive is a mystery.

As Adam scours the historical streets of West Jerusalem in search of the truth, he uncovers a connection between his case and a recent unsolved murder. He also meets an enigmatic woman with plenty of secrets and is hunted by a ruthless cop who blames Adam for a crime he didn’t commit.

In a case full of action and twists, Adam must use all his skills to solve the mystery. And if he doesn’t watch his back, he may end up paying the ultimate price in his quest for justice...

A Death in Jerusalem is book 7 in the Adam Lapid series

Chapter 1 Look Inside

Chapter 1:

Spools of barbed wire barricaded the street. Behind them stood a row of helmeted policemen, truncheons in hand. They looked ready for war but offered no resistance as our vanguard cast the obstacle aside.

How many were we? Five thousand? More? A pulsing column of men and women. Teenagers too. All dressed warmly against the Jerusalem winter. Our shoes made rainwater jump from the puddles left by an earlier downpour. The banners rippled in the wind. The chanted slogans ricocheted between the buildings on either side of Ben Yehuda Street. The yellow stars some had pinned to their coats shone like memorial candles in the early evening light.

As I marched near the front of this swarming mass, the voice of Menachem Begin resounded in my head: "I call upon Mr. Ben-Gurion, do not commit this act. You are placing a bomb under the house of Israel, which may come crashing down on its inhabitants. I say this for the blood that was spilled in Majdanek and Auschwitz, and so you would not have to bow your head before the gentiles. Therefore, I say to Mr. Ben-Gurion: There will be no negotiations with Germany. On this matter, we are ready to surrender our lives."

A second string of police officers was ahead, this contingent larger than the first. Their steel helmets glistened, their truncheons as black as death. A barrage of garbage rained on their heads, hurled by youngsters who had climbed bordering rooftops. The policemen huddled, their bodies tense. Their expressions were determined, their gazes fierce. The hands gripping the truncheons flexed. The air crackled with the threat of violence. Yet these cops, like their predecessors, made no attempt to block our advance.

"There is no sacrifice we won't make to thwart this scheme," continued Begin's voice between my ears. "Mr. Ben-Gurion has stationed policemen, and in their hands is tear gas made in Germany, the same gas that suffocated our forebears. He has prisons and concentration camps. Ben-Gurion may be older than me in years, but I am older than him in resisting an evil regime. And this I declare: Evil confronts a just cause, and it will shatter like glass against rock."

The demonstration had taken place in Zion Square, a short distance from Frumin House, where the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, held its sessions. The right-wing Herut party had arranged the demonstration, but many of the attendees, like me, could not be counted among its ardent supporters. I had come to Jerusalem because my heart had urged me to. Because I could not imagine doing nothing while my government sought approval for the unthinkable.

A series of Herut officials had given speeches, each excoriating the government and its desired policies vis-à-vis Germany. But if not for the leader of Herut, Menachem Begin, it likely would have ended there. The demonstration would have fizzled out. The anger would never have erupted.

But from the moment Begin took up position behind the microphone, from the second he opened his mouth, I could feel a charge building inside and around me. As though with each fervent word, a giant spring was slowly being coiled ever tighter under the feet of the spectators. All eyes were fixed upon Begin's small, unprepossessing form. He did not look like a man whose voice could ring with such emotion. Not a man who could move thousands with his intonation and gestures. Yet his oration was like a tidal wave of emotion and indignation—penetrating, stirring, irresistible, demanding action.

"If need be, I shall renew the war," Begin said, referring to the violent campaign he had waged as commander of the Irgun against the British when they had occupied the Land of Israel, but now with Ben-Gurion's government as his enemy. "And in this war, we will be accompanied by the spirit of the millions of all countries, from the ovens and the gas chambers, who have commanded us: No negotiations. A boycott on Germany for all time."

And right at the end, after he had primed the thousands who hung on his every word, he lit the fuse by calling on us to not be afraid, to march on the policemen who stood between us and the Knesset.

By that time, I needed little prompting. The blood was surging fast and hot through my veins. The number tattoo on my arm burned like a cattle brand. My skin vibrated with rage that had gradually built up over the past few weeks, ever since the newspapers first reported preliminary contacts between the government of Israel and its counterpart in West Germany.

The discussions revolved around one issue: reparations from Germany to Israel. Reparations for the Holocaust. For the millions who had perished. For the survivors who were forever damaged. For the invalids, the tormented, the haunted. And for expropriated Jewish property for which no heir survived. Because the Germans had not merely killed individuals. They'd eradicated whole families, entire communities. They had wanted to murder us all.

And now, January 7, 1952, less than seven years after the Holocaust ended, the government of the Jewish state sought approval from the Knesset to abandon its policy of boycott against Germany and enter into direct negotiations with it.

Never mind what it said about the Jewish people. That we would be willing to set a price on our dead brethren. On my wife, daughters, mother, sisters. On my best friend. And on all the rest.

Ever since the newspapers broke the story, Israel had been in turmoil. Large segments of the public—the majority, I believed—were dead set against direct negotiations. Opposition came from both ends of the political spectrum. From Herut on the right, to Maki, the Israeli Communist Party, on the left. But Mapai, Israel's ruling party headed by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, was in favor, and it exerted great pressure on its coalition partners to back it.

In recent days, impassioned rallies and marches against negotiations were held across the length and breadth of Israel. The Chief Rabbi expressed his disapproval, as did a range of artists and academics. Partisans and resistance fighters from the ghettos portrayed negotiations with Germany as a betrayal of the dead. Some claimed such negotiations would pave the way to the rearmament of Germany, to a third world war and another Holocaust. A poll conducted by the newspaper Ma'ariv revealed that eighty percent of its readers opposed the government's position.

At that moment, the Knesset debated the issue. Later, tomorrow perhaps, would come the vote. Aye, for direct negotiations with Germany, and all it entailed morally, politically, historically. Or nay, to maintain Israel's righteous position that Jewish blood was not for sale, and that Germany could not purchase our absolution with cash or goods.

The newspapers predicted that the government would prevail. Despite the overwhelming opposition. Despite the dead millions. Despite the shame it would bring upon Israel. Unless the government came to realize that the people would not have it.

At the corner of Ben Yehuda and King George, we met our first resistance. A police inspector with a megaphone ordered us to disperse. When that didn't work, a firetruck unleashed a torrent of water at us. A man flew backward through the air after receiving a direct hit. People slipped and fell. Others dropped to their knees, shielding their heads. A large banner held aloft by two women was ripped from their grasp.

A powerful blast rammed me in the shoulder, spinning me like a dreidel. I tumbled into the man behind me, and together we crashed to the wet road. I landed badly, smacking my head.

For a second, all was black. Then sight returned, and with it my other senses. My forehead hurt. My jaw ached. Around me, jets of water stabbed into the demonstrators. There were shouts and yells. Cries of pain. Curses at the government and the police.





My hat had flown off. My hair was plastered to my scalp. My clothes were drenched. Water dripped into my eyes, streamed down my collar, pooled in my shoes. But it didn't cool me one bit. I was burning up on the inside.
They would not stop us. We would make our voices heard.

I pushed myself to my feet and, bent low, arms raised before my face, took a step forward. Around me, people kept coming and falling before the water. I did too, banging my elbow so hard on the asphalt, I thought I had broken it. A few dozen meters away stood Frumin House, where at this moment, the debate raged.

For a few minutes, the water held us off. Then the tank ran out. The firetruck, out of its liquid ammunition, sped away. The same police inspector who had ordered us to disperse now switched to begging. In a choked voice, he beseeched us not to destroy our dear country and its democracy.

No one paid him any mind. Not even me, despite having once been a policeman myself. Soaked and dripping, I had but one goal: the Knesset. I had to reach the Knesset.

"Onward," someone shouted, and we obeyed, surging down King George Street toward Frumin House. No longer a tight, orderly column; now a disorganized mob. Not all the demonstrators joined the advance, but hundreds did. All of us driven by a conviction that an abomination was about to take place, and that we had a duty to our dead families and friends to stop it.

Frumin House was just ahead. The Knesset hall was on the ground floor. The windowpanes glowed with light. There, beyond those windows and walls, the fate of our country, of our people, was being decided.

Before us stretched a cordon of cops, more than two hundred strong, their faces made hideous by gas masks. The cops stood shoulder to shoulder, like a Roman phalanx. The shouts of the demonstrators, in Hebrew and Yiddish, bounced against their formation like projectiles. Beside me, a woman shrieked that she had lost her entire family in Treblinka. She implored the cops to stand aside. To not defend this evil government. To not take part in this desecration of the dead.

I shouted too, though what I don't remember. I only know that I uttered each word with such force that it seared my vocal cords as it burst from my mouth.

Then came the stones. A fusillade of them arching through the air. Mostly launched by a cluster of teenagers atop a hillock of earth across the street from the Knesset.

Some of the stones landed short of the policemen. Others found their mark. Two cops went down after being struck on the helmet. Others sustained body blows. The cars of the ministers parked outside Frumin House suffered their share of damage. Windshields and side windows disintegrated. Dents pocked the doors and roofs.

Several stones went long, or perhaps found their true target. They soared over the officers and into the Knesset. Windows shattered. Glass sprayed. A manic cheer rose from the crowd.

The demonstrators charged, with me among them. An avalanche of bubbling anger. A sharp command sounded from somewhere ahead. A flurry of round black objects swooped toward us. They detonated upon hitting the street, spewing acrid gray fumes.

"Gas!" someone screamed, and numerous others took up the cry. "Gas! They're using gas!"

The word was laden with several million meanings. I imagined my loved ones suffocating in the gas chambers. Others must have done the same. People wailed hysterically. Others snarled imprecations at the cops and at the government. Yet others simply looked stunned that Jews would employ such a weapon on each other.

For a stitch of time, there was wild panic. But, of course, this was not the gas the Germans had used to kill millions. Not a deadly gas at all.

Within seconds, my eyes were stinging and watery. My throat blazed. Every breath was painful. Through the blur of flooding tears, I saw people retching, coughing. One man vomited. But nothing worse than that.

Our advance halted, but only temporarily. The wind picked up, clearing away much of the gas. And the use of it, nonlethal though it was, inflamed us further.
We charged. I had no weapon. I had not come here to spill Jewish blood, but to protest the selling of it. All I wanted was to reach the Knesset. To shout my objection right in the prime minister's face.

The other demonstrators, sharing my purpose, were similarly unequipped for battle. But propelled by a mindless rage, they slammed headlong into the wall of masked officers. They knocked policemen to the ground, battered them with booted feet, pummeled them with naked fists. The cops returned the favor, using their truncheons with growing ferocity. Casualties mounted on both sides. Here, a protester lay unconscious in the street. There, two policemen carried an injured comrade to the safety of Frumin House. To my right sat a dazed man with a yellow star on his breast and blood streaming from his temple. To my left, a grimacing police officer limped in retreat.

The skirmish was messy, chaotic, close-ranged. The lines of cops and demonstrators weaved into each other. Thuds of truncheons against flesh. Shouted curses. The banging of stones against walls. The breaking of glass. The howls of the injured. A maelstrom of sound punching my ears.

More tear gas, and the battle subsided. The officers pushed us away, hauling some of the demonstrators into police cars. Smoke seeped through the broken windows of the Knesset. Ambulances wailed in and out. Medical crews tended to the injured or evacuated them to the hospital.

The smoke cleared again, and the battle resumed. Yells and grunts and cries sliced through the air. Blood mingled with rainwater on the road. Jewish blood spilled by Jewish hands in the capital of the country that was the culmination of two thousand years of Jewish prayers.
A few members of Knesset emerged to peer at the fighting. Those in the opposition yelled at the police to stand down. Others simply looked horrified.

And so it continued. Jews fighting Jews. The cops motivated by their wish to maintain order and enforce the law. I, like the rest of the demonstrators, propelled by a sense of wrongness so acute it threatened to rip my soul into shreds. To strip me of my hard-won identity as a proud independent Jew, strong and honorable, equal among nations, and reduce me to my old unbearable identity, the one from Auschwitz—that of the powerless slave who had failed to protect his family.

For if we agreed to accept reparations from Germany, if we even entered into negotiations on that issue, it meant that the dead could be quantified in dollars or marks. That the crime could be redressed monetarily. And it couldn't. Not for all the money in the world.

The next few minutes passed in a blur, during which time I was driven entirely by fury. Everything else, all traces of thought and rationality, had deserted me. Around me, the fighting raged, shifting like the sea, back and forth. We pushed toward the Knesset, and the cops pushed us back. More and more people were injured or arrested. Stones and glass fragments littered the street. Fallen banners and signs lay trampled. I don’t remember striking anyone, nor being struck, but when I slipped on the wet road and fell to my knees, I saw that my knuckles were bruised, and my body ached in numerous places.
I raised my eyes to the sky, and there, at the tip of a pole on the roof of Frumin House, the flag of Israel shuddered.

At the sight of that blue-and-white cloth, the tide of anger that had engulfed me receded partway, and the ensuing void instantly filled with bewilderment and shame. I gazed at the mayhem around me and couldn't fathom how it had come to this. These demonstrators were regular men and women, good citizens, law-abiding by nature. But they, and I, had raised our hands against our fellow Jews and against the Knesset, the shrine of Jewish sovereignty after centuries of exile and longing, of persecution and displacement, of pogroms and genocide.

This was an abomination. Similar to what the government was trying to do. This wasn't why I had come to this land, not why I had fought in the War of Independence and nearly died when an Egyptian soldier put two bullets in me. The Nazis would have loved seeing this, us fighting among ourselves. It had to stop.

A few meters to my left, a young man was bent over a fallen policeman, punching him repeatedly. "Enough!" I yelled, catching the demonstrator unaware with a hard shove that sent him sprawling. I showed him my fists when he turned on me with a snarl. "Enough," I yelled again. "No more."

The demonstrator fixed me with a hard stare. For a tense moment, I thought he would lunge at me. But then he blinked, and a look of what might have been shame flitted across his face, and he muttered something I didn't catch and turned away.

I knelt beside the policeman. He had lost his helmet and gas mask in the melee and was bleeding from the nose and mouth. His eyes were closed, but he was breathing, and his pulse was strong and steady. I was about to get him some help when I sensed rushing footfalls behind me. Before I could whirl, a devastating blow slammed into my kidney. A flash of scorching pain exploded up my side, robbing me of breath. Gasping, I crashed down on top of the injured policeman, banging my forehead on his.

An instant later, my hands were wrenched backward, and a ring of cool metal wrapped itself around each of my wrists. Someone slapped the back of my head. "You son of a bitch, you're going to jail for what you did to him."

I opened my mouth to protest, to explain that I had not beaten this policeman, when from the corner of my eye, I caught a black object streaking toward me. I identified it as a boot just before it connected with the side of my head. Then a dark, impenetrable cloud descended upon me, swallowing up my consciousness, choking off all sensation and thought. 

--- End of Chapter 1 ---

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Editorial Reviews

"Any devotees of the detective novel not yet acquainted with Israeli detective Adam Lapid have a veritable feast awaiting them." - The Jerusalem Post

"[an] intense, provocative novel." - Historical Novel Society

"Plot turns and twists keep readers turning the pages." - Jewish Community Voice

"I 'binge-read' the entire series." - Cardinal Bluff Reviews

"Jonathan Dunsky has combined the intrigue of a good mystery with the history of Israel in 1952 in his new novel A Death in Jerusalem, a thrilling tale that follows protagonist Adam Lapid." - The New Hampshire Jewish Reporter

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Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
Stephanie Rubin
The Unlucky Woman

A short story but clever Adam Lapid with time and Patience sorts out yet again who is guilty and who not. Look forward to next book still being written

Carolyn McGehee
Excellent read

An exciting story with a perfect presentation

Steven Henry
Another Blockbuster

Having read the book and then listened to the audiobook the story came alive for me with total enjoyment. Can’t wait for the next book/audio.