The Passover Protocols

Wicked Son. (Jerusalem Mysteries, Bk. 3). Nov. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9798888450666. pap. $18. M
Frankel’s third “Jerusalem Mysteries” title (following The Hyena Murders) explores Israeli life and culture, warts and all. Ten days before Passover, the body of a young man turns up in front of the Great Belz Synagogue in Jerusalem. He has a Russian Orthodox cross around his neck, and his body has been drained of all blood. Chief Police Inspector Sarit Levine begins to wonder what happened when the medical examiner finds an antisemitic cartoon in the victim’s pocket and raises the possibility of a scheme to perpetuate blood libel (the antisemitic myth that Jews use the blood of Christian children in religious rituals). Maya Rimon, a Mossad agent juggling her complex job alongside single-parent and new-relationship duties, thinks that this case may be related to the appearance of American members of the Aryan Vanguard in Jerusalem. She and Sarit are friends, but they are also rivals who do not work well together. Forced to team up on the case, they pursue separate paths while trying to find out what the extremists have planned to celebrate Hitler’s birthday. Frankel, former head of the Jewish Publication Society, provides a glossary of the book’s untranslated foreign-language terms (among these are Hebrew, Arabic, and Amharic words), historical notes on topics including blood libel and Ethiopian Passover traditions, and a bibliography for readers who want to learn more.
VERDICT A good story that is very timely, given the current political situation.
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