Asian studies in Lithuania
Original language: Hebrew
Translated from: Hebrew
Authors: Mišani, Dror
Translated by: Gudelytė, Kristina
ISBN: 978-609-444-208-7
Published in: Vilnius
Published on: 2017
Publisher: Sofoklis

Dror Mishani (born in 1975) is an Israeli crime fiction writer. He was born in Holon – a city in the south from Tel Aviv. Now Dror Mishani lives in Tel Aviv with his wife and children and teaches the history of detective fiction in Tel Aviv University. “The Missing File” is the writer’s debut work published in 2011. It is the first novel in the series of three crime fictions about a police inspector Avraham Avraham. The author’s birthplace Holon is the main place of the novel.

Avraham Avraham, or simply Avi for his friends, does not move away from his profession even on his spare time. He likes to read famous crime fictions and he always tries to find flaws in the investigation of the fictional detectives. If the author of the book wanted the readers to question Avraham’s decisions, there is no need for that because the inspector himself is full of doubts about his work. When a desperate mother comes to the police and reports her missing sixteen-year-old son who did not come back from school, the police inspector tries to calm her by saying that there are not many crime fictions written in Hebrew, which means that no serious crimes occur in Israel. However, the investigation begins when Ofer Sharabi does not come back home the next day. Because of the lack of information, for a long amount of time it is not even clear if the teenager ran away or the crime has occurred.

Apart from the protagonist Avraham Avraham, there is another important character. Ze’ev Avni is an English teacher and a neighbor of the missing teenager. Avni claims he knows the side of Ofer that is unknown even for his parents. Because of a friendly relationship between a private English teacher and a student, Avni wants to assist in the investigation. He takes actions that he afterwards cannot explain and in this way interferes in the investigation and misleads it. On the other hand, this suspicious Ze’ev Avni is the one that eventually helps to solve the mystery of the missing neighbour.

Even though the story is in the third person, the readers can look into the investigation through the mindset of different sides. Every chapter differentiates Avraham’s and Avni’s point of view. The novel is divided into two parts. The first part describes the examination of parents and neighbors but investigation is stuck because of the lack of information and any evidence. It seems that there is no solution. The second part is like a sign of a change and appearance of new details. The novel is slow in action and not always sequential. The author sometimes defines the character’s reactions in the future tense before giving the whole explanation about the situation. In this way, the tension and intrigue are enlarged. Even after the truth is found out, there is another plot twist at the very end that leaves the reader stunned and distressed. Additionally, this book is different from others because in the novel itself characters talk about crime fictions and this genre in general.

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU