Joakim Zander On:
Reflections in the Lake by Dror A. Mishani
The conclusion of Dror Mishani’s taut and claustrophobic detective story, Reflections in the Lake, is spelled out in its very first sentence. However, it takes the duration of the piece for the reader to catch on and comprehend how and why the case set at the anonymous lakeside hotel is to become the very last of Detective Fassaro’s career. Like many skilled writers of suspense and mystery, Mishani employs foreshadowing to great effect by meticulously planting his clues, while carefully avoiding giving away too much. Once the case unravels and the world implodes around its protagonist, the conclusion is both surprising and tragic. As a detective piece, the story is a masterclass in restrained and considered plotting. However, it is the lonely, autumnal mood of the story that stays with the reader once the mystery has been resolved. The isolation of the characters finds reflection in the sparse geographical markers in the text and there is a dreamlike feeling to the hotel, where darkness is “crawling among the tall trees” in the forest surrounding the lake. The lake itself is “like a big whale made out of glint and dark”. Thus, the place in which this tragedy plays out feels every bit as desolate as the characters themselves. With this story Mishani once again manages to illustrate how the detective story can be used as a powerful tool to explore the loneliest corners of the human soul.