Private detective Adam Lapid is drinking coffee at Greta’s Café in Tel Aviv. It’s about 1949 or 1950, not long after Israel’s war for independence. A boy hands Lapid a letter; it looks like a woman wants to hire him to find out what her husband is up to in the evenings. He takes the case, believing he knows what he’s likely to find.
He talks to his client, a woman on bed-rest during her pregnancy because of previous miscarriages. She and husbamd met in a refugee camp after World War II; both survived the Holocaust. She thinks her husband is having an affair; Lapid thinks so, too, but he follows the husband anyway to see where the case will lead. But he, and his client, in for a surprise. Lapid tracks the man to the Hadassah Hospital.
The Unlucky Womanis a long short story published as a single by Jonathan Dunsky, author of the Adam Lapid detective mysteries and other works. Lapid, a Holocaust survivor himself, had been a police detective in Hungary before the war. His wife and two daughters died in the gas chambers; he survived the concentration camp. He made his way to Israel and fought and was wounded in the war for independence. He’s now a private detective, often able to out-guess the police.
The story is available as an ebook; its print length would be 68 pages.
Jonathan Dunsky has published four Adam Lapid mysteries: Ten Years Gone; ; ; and . He’s also published ; ; ; ; and other works. He was born in Israel, served four years in the Israeli Army, lived in Europe for several years, and currently lives in Israel with his family. He has worked in various high-tech firms and operated his own search optimization business.
By the end of the story, Lapid is learning that it might be one case he wishes he hadn’t solved. The Unlucky Woman is an entertaining – and poignant – read.
Top photograph: The old Hadassah Hospital in Tel Aviv; the photo is from the 1920s but the hospital looked about the same at the time of “The Unlucky Woman.”