The Rosebush Murders: A Helen Mirkin Novel By Ruth Shidlo
by Kathleen Costa
Details on how to win an e-book copy of another book in this series at the end of the review. The Rosebush Murders is currently free on Kindle on Amazon.
Detective Inspector Helen Mirkin misses out on her morning Turkish coffee because of a phone call alerting her to a body in the park. She speeds through the streets of Jerusalem toward Wohl’s Rose Park to find a young woman shot at point blank range. In her pocket they find a letter that may hold a clue to her identity and searching the area DI Mirkin finds an appointment book floating in the pond, a scrap of material snagged on a bush, and a green pillbox. Minimal clues to start the investigation, she finds she needs to proceed on her own, as her partner, Ohad, is otherwise engaged.
The letter leads Helen to uncover the identity of the victim, Dr. Danielle Hall, and during her subsequent interviews she discovers the victim worked at City Hospital as a clinical psychologist and undergoing treatments for cancer. Soon the cancer treatments become suspicious, and the search for a mysterious Dr. Atab becomes problematic. When a second body is found in the same general area, the investigation is complicated even further. The City Hospital becomes a serious ‘place of interest.’
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As Helen continues her investigation into the hospital and several of its employees, difficult memories are brought to the surface about the death of her father. Incompetence, administrative cost-effective measures, and maybe even some medical arrogance leaves Helen with strong feelings against the medical community. Fathers crop up again in the two Floating Prologues that hint to someone whose mission it is to “…atone for his sins.” Can Helen put her feelings aside as her investigation delves deeper into the Oncology and IVF departments? Can atoning for one’s family cause dedication to turn deadly?
The Rosebush Murders is a marvelous look into a police investigation with a fascinating twist of being set in Israel—I enriched my enjoyment by googling sites mentioned to get a visual of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Ruth Shidlo weaves her character through interviews, crime scene searches, discussions with her colleagues, and while mulling over various suspects, she tries to arrive at a motive worthy of an arrest and conviction. But, it is far from mundane. Ruth adds thoughtful questioning and plausible scenarios for the reader to consider and explain the crime. I felt I was the partner she was having trouble getting Captain Tamir, the police chief, to replace.
Along with the police work, we get a peek into Helen’s life. She loves music, plays the piano, sings, and prepares for a choir performance, she often breaks out into her favorite aria—the author herself sang with the Ramat Gan Chamber Music Choir, part of the choir, for many years, and I enjoyed veering off to Google to explore the music myself. We also learn about Helen’s troubled relationship that makes her question if the incongruities between her demands as a detective and her desire for companionship and love are too hard to overcome. Slowly she puts herself out there again inviting Adrienne into her life, relaxed and relieved at how she enjoys having someone there to share, to love.
The Helen Mirkin series started with The Rosebush Murders (2012), continues with Murder in the Choir (2016), and currently Ruth is penning Preventable Tragedies (working title). The writing is engaging, characters real, events plausible, and the “Oh, no…” at the end left me wanting to pick up the next installment immediately.
The Rosebush Murders by Ruth Shidlo has earned 5/5 Detective Shields!
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To enter to win an e-book copy of Murder in the Choir, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “choir,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 10, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.