Israeli mystery author Batya Gur died Thursday following a long illness. She was 57.
The Jerusalemite detective novelist and translator won fans and admiration from readers and critics alike: “Love develops from book to book,” wrote one critic.
“When the police can’t figure out ‘whodunnit,’ I ask myself, ‘what would Ohayon do?" referring to Gur's main character, Michael Oyahon.
Gur, herself, said Oyahon “speaks for me,” though she denied it for many years because “he is a man, and I am a woman.” But at the end of the day, she admitted the character was her “ideal.”
Following “The Saturday Morning Murder” came “Murder on a Kibbutz,” “Murder Duet,” and “The Bethlehem Road Murder. She also wrote one children’s book, “Spy in the House.”
Wise, older sister
Sefi Ben-Yosef, a close friend of Gur, said, “Batya was much more than a close friend. To a large degree, she was like an older and wiser sister to everyone. When she got sick last year she approached the illness with hope, but it was a great struggle. She worked almost to her dying day, publishing material whenever she felt up to it.”
Culture Minister Limor Livnat also eulogized Gur, saying, “The Jewish people have lost a fantastic, loved author. Batya Gur was a unique writer, who managed to enthrall readers with her special style.” Livnat also said Israeli readers would continue to read Gur’s books for many years to come.
From Ofakim to Jerusalem
Gur, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, was a well-known critic, taught writing at the Jerusalem school for movie making and lectured at the Open University.
She taught high school for many years in the southern town of Ofakim, until deciding at age 39 to dedicate her time to writing. She spent her final years living in Jerusalem’s German Colony neighborhood. In addition to her books, Gur was an outspoken political and social activist.
She leaves behind a husband and three children.