The Lost Spy and the Green Dress by Alex Paz-Goldman
For twelve year-old Motti, growing up in Israel in the 1960s, the world is full of mysteries to be solved, while his town is full of spies to be caught. His parents are Holocaust survivors, struggling to build a new life for themselves but, to Israeli-born Motti, they are nothing but an embarrassment. Unlike them, he will not be a victim; he will be bold and strong and fearless.
So, when Motti and his best friend Reuven identify a suspicious, elderly man in the neighborhood as a potential German spy, they set out to unmask him, determined to root out the enemy and defeat him. Thus ensues a series of adventures, investigations, near misses and the repeated appearance of a green dress.
Aided by Reuven’s sister Aviva, they finally solve the case and, in the process, Motti uncovers some secrets closer to home, secrets like: what does his mother hide away in her private drawer? Why did she have to go on a trip to Germany? And what exactly is she refusing to say about her past?
An homage to classic children’s mystery books such as Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven, this is a tightly-plotted, funny, and complex story which explores heavy themes – the Holocaust, trauma, mental health and poverty – with nuance, a lightness of touch and a cast of compelling young characters.
Year first published: 2022