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The Rosebush Murders: A Helen Mirkin Novel based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Danielle Hall is found dead in the peaceful grounds of an inner city park in Jerusalem. Investigation soon reveals that Danielle was a psychologist. Could it be that a client has lost their cool? Danielle was married to Mira Morenica and they have a daughter Shelia. How will the family cope with this sudden and violent death? D.I. Helen Mirkin must use all her skills, her logic and her intuition, to solve this case, even if just to give the Morenica-Hall family closure. Ruth Shidlo’s first novel, The Rosebush Murders, is a fine police murder mystery. While not quite of the ‘hard boiled’ style, this book is a no-nonsense account of a classic crime investigation case. At the same time Shidlo reveals to us bit by bit exactly who her character Helen Mirkin is, as well as digging into some of the deep questions of life. Murder is an act of dominance and The Rosebush Murders primarily has the theme of power. This theme is developed in many different ways. We see, for example, right from the Prologue onwards references to Fascism and the Nazis. For this book, set in Israel, Fascism is of course a very potent example of the real and extreme effects of a desire for power. Also much of the story revolves around City Hospital, Jerusalem’s prestigious and world famous establishment. Here we see the world of bureaucracy which, as the sociologist Max Weber (Economy And Society: 1922) and the novelest Franz Kafka (The Trial: 1925) have pointed out, are very efficient and rational but can also lead to a “polar night of icy darkness” and an “iron cage” (Weber) which crushes the individual. City Hospital is depicted as literally a very large, complex warren in which Helen fears getting lost. The air is constantly stale. In Chapter 15 we see a visit to, Dr. Lev, a cardiology specialist, who is surrounded by cold technology. To get there Helen walks down “long, grey corridors” bathed in “ice-coldwhite neon lights” past machines that are “dinosaurs … [which] … had seen better days…” The specialist, along with others at the hospital, is cold and distant. Doctors in general are depicted as having power over life and death: they decide our fate. Religion also appears as a social institution prying into our lives and pushing us about. Terrorism also makes an appearance in the book. In the nine days the book covers there are two encounters with suspected bombs. Terrorism is murder on the large scale and the contemporary equivalent of Nazism: an extreme grab for power. A lesbian couple are at the centre of this murder mystery and GLBTI issues are thus quite prominent. Queer people and their immediate families are generally depicted with respect. In Chapter 3 Sheila shows Helen a photo of her and her two mothers on holiday. We read: “Shelia was in the middle, looking happy and contained and proud.” The word “proud” has of course come to have special meaning to LGBTI people, as in, for example, ‘pride marches’. Danielle’s mother is completely accepting of the lesbian matching. (Ch. 10) The problems which queer couples face is also mentioned, for example, the difficulties of donor parenting. (Ch. 56) Bigotry occasionally rears its head. In Chapter 12 Adam, on hearing that the lesbian couple are married comments, “Wonders never cease.” Shidlo also does not err in being overly favourable to LGBTI people. In Chapter 24 Daniel blocks a gay couple from receiving IVF. No special favouritism there.