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The Saturday Morning Murder: A Psychoanalytic Case (Michael Ohayon Series #1)

The Saturday Morning Murder: A Psychoanalytic Case (Michael Ohayon Series #1)

4.7 3
by Batya Gur, Dalya Bilu, Batya Goor, Dalya Bilu

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Gur spins an intriguing mystery with international flavor and an attractive and likeable hero. When a revered senior analyst is found dead at the Jerusalem Psychoanalytic Society headquarters, Chief Inspector Michael Ohayon penetrates the elite, mysterious world of the institute to find the killer.


Gur spins an intriguing mystery with international flavor and an attractive and likeable hero. When a revered senior analyst is found dead at the Jerusalem Psychoanalytic Society headquarters, Chief Inspector Michael Ohayon penetrates the elite, mysterious world of the institute to find the killer.

Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
A subtly provocative procedural mystery...the characters are examined in such depth and detail that the motive that eventually uncovers the murder makes perfect, if perfectly horrid, sense. -- New York Times Book Review

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Michael Ohayon Series , #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.68(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

It would take years, Shlomo Gold knew, before he would be able to park his car in front of the Institute on Disraeli Street without feeling a cold hand gripping his heart. Sometimes he even thought that the analytic society should change its prernises from Talbieh, just so he would not have to feel this recurrent anxiety. He had also considered requesting special permission to treat his patients elsewhere, but his supervisors thought that he should confront the situation with his own inner resources and not by means of external changes.

He could still hear old Hildesheimer's words reverberating in his mind. The building was not the issue, the old man had said: it was not the budding that was causing his anxiety; it was his own feelings in relation to the event. Ever since the day it had happened, Gold heard the words, in their heavy German accent, whenever he approached the building. Especially the sentence about how it was his own emotions he had to face, not the stone walls.

Naturally, Hildesheimer had said then, the fact that it was his,Gold's, analyst, who was involved had to be taken into account, and perhaps -- the old man gave him a shrewd, inquiring look-he should try to "derive the maximum from the difficulties of the situation." But Shlomo Gold, who had once been so proud of being given the keys to the building, could no longer enter his room at the Institute without an anxiety attack.

And to think of what he had gone through before they entrusted him with the keys! It was only at the end of his second year as a student at the Institute that the Training Committee had convened and graciously found him suitable to try andbe a real analyst and treat his first patient (under supervision, of course). And now it was all gone: the keys and his pride and the thrill of ownership every time he opened the door -- nothirig had been the same since that Saturday.

There were some people who sneered at Gold's attitude toward the round Arab-style building that the Institute had taken as its premises. Until that Saturday morning, Gold had shown off the stone house to every visitor to Jerusalem. He never hid the sense of belonging the place evoked in him. He would fling out his arms as if to embrace the squat two-story house with its round porch, its big garden in which roses bloomed throughout the year, its double stairway curving up on either side of the porch and leading to the entrance. Then he would wait expectantly for the words of approbation, for the acknowledgment that the regal building was indeed suited to its purpose.

And now all that naÏveté the unreserved admiration, the feeling of belonging to an esoteric tribe, the pride in his first patient, had vanished, to be replaced by the oppression, the anxiety, that had haunted him since "Black Saturday," as he called it to himself-the Saturday on which he had volunteered to prepare the building for the lecture to be given by Dr. Eva Neidorf, who had just returned from a month's visit with her daughter in Chicago.

On that Saturday, Shlomo Gold had approached the Institute without suspecting that his life was about to be changed completely. A Saturday in March, with the sun shining and the birds chirping, when Gold, excited at the prospect of his meeting with Eva Neidorf, had left his home in Beit Hakerem early in order to tidy the hall, set up the folding chairs from the storeroom, and fill the huge urn with water. Everybody would want coffee on a Saturday morning. The lecture was scheduled to start at half past ten, and a few minutes before nine, his car coasted smoothly down the hill.

There was a Sabbath hush in the air, and the old Jerusalem neighborhood, always quiet, was now absolutely still. When, he passed the President's residence near Jabotinsky Street, he noticed the absence of even security guards.

Gold breathed in the pure, clean air and careftilly avoided the black cat that was crossing the street with elegant disdain. He smiled to himself at the superstitions of so-called rational people -- a smile that was to be his last on the subject, for in this respect, too, his attitude changed from that Saturday on.

The thought of the approaching lecture filled him with a glow of anticipation: he was about to see his analyst after a four-week interval.

During the four years of Gold's analysis with Neidorf, he had heard her give numerous lectures. Each had been thrilling. True, he always felt a certain insignificance, a dull suspicion that he would never become a great therapist; but on the other hand, there was the unique learning experience and the knowledge that he, Gold, was a witness to the rare, God-given gift possessed by Eva Neidorf -- the blessed intuition, the absolute knowledge of when to speak, when to remain silent, the precise perception of the required degree of warmth, all of which he had been fortunate to receive as her analysand.

The agenda for that Saturday bore the name of Neidorf's lecture: "Some Aspects of the Ethical and Forensic Problems Involved in Analytic Treatment."

Nobody was taken in by the understatement "Some Aspects."

Shlomo Gold knew that today's lecture, after a modest introduction, would be a world and the fullness thereof. It would be published in the professional journals and give rise to passionate debates, reactions, and counterreactions, and he relished the thought of seeing the slight changes that Neidorf would introduce in the published version. Once more he would be able to enjoy the intoxicating sense that he had "been there," like someone listening to the broadcast of a concert he had heard live.

Gold parked on the still-empty street in front of the building. From the glove compartment he removed the Institute key ring, with its keys to the front door, the telephone lock, and the storeroom. He opened the green iron gate, with its discreet gold plaque identifying the building's function. He walked up one of the curving stairways to the wooden door, which was invisible from the street. As usual, he could not resist the temptation to turn his head and look down from the porch onto the street and the big, blooming garden, exuding its scents of jasmine and honeysuckle, and then, with a faint smile on his lips, he opened the door into the dark foyer.

The windows were closed, and heavy curtains covered them; they definitely fillfilled their role. Every invisible detail of the foyer was as familiar to Gold as his childhood home. The foyer gave onto six rooms with heavy wooden doors, all shut.

Looking back, it all began with the sound of shattering glass. He had just succeeded in pushing the conference table to the wall and was leaning heavily against it. When he heard the glass shatter he didn't even have to raise his eyes. In spite of his momentary paralysis, he knew exactly which photograph had fallen.

After years of sitting in the lecture hall, listening to case presentations and theoretical debates while his eyes roamed over the walls, he knew, just like everyone else, precisely where every photograph was situated.

The portraits of the dead took up all the space on the walls, and after the last photograph was hung, a few months before, someone had joked that everyone else would now have to remain immortal. Gold had spent many an hour gazing into the eyes of the dead, and there was nothing about their expressions that he didn't know. He remembered, for example, the laughing eyes of Fruma Hollander, a supervisor at the Institute, a member of the generation after the founding generation, who had died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of sixty one. She hung to the right of the entrance, and anyone sitting at the...

What People are Saying About This

Amos Oz
The Saturday Morning Murder is a subtle, sad, and thought-provoking mystery. Apart from the mystery, other insights glimmer through the plot.
Shimon Peres
Both the Jerusalem scenery and the scenery of Saturday Morning Murder are beautifully presented. Like all good mysteries, this fascinating, pleasurable book is difficult to put down. Curiosity propels you from page to page until what began by seeming unlikely ends by being inevitable.

Meet the Author

Batya Gur (1947-2005) lived in Jerusalem, where she was a literary critic for Haaretz, Israel's most prestigious paper. She earned her master's in Hebrew literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and she also taught literature for nearly twenty years.

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The Saturday Morning Murder: A Psychoanalytic Case (Michael Ohayon Series #1) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very well written mystery in the finest tradition of the art. I don't know which I liked more - the writing style or the plot. I ordered this book because I saw her latest book in hardcover and it looked interesting and I wanted to start this Jerusalem detective Michael Ohayon series at the beginning. This is a pure mystery with no political Israeli subplots.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a police procedural mystery, but unlike any other I have ever come across. If you like books where the characters seem to have real lives and are not just props for the purpose of telling the story or solving the case, then I think you will enjoy this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago