The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon

It is not a good day in Sitka, Alaska especially for detective Meyer Landsman. His personal life is a shambles; he can’t seem to catch a break on any of his open cases; in two months the district of Sitka (independently governed these past sixty years by the descendents of Jewish refugees) is set to revert to the control of the United States of America; and his ex-wife, the love of his life, is now also his boss.

When the body of a junkie is discovered in the flea-bag motel where he lives, Detective Landsman is order to turn the case over and concentrate on the cases he has a chance of solving. But there is something about the earthly remains of this forlorn soul that compels Landsman to keep digging no matter what.

Who was this man, why was he killed, and what is the meaning of the unfinished game of chess found in his room? Is this just the simple death of a yet another sad addict or is there something more? It certainly is a strange time to be a member of the Yiddish Policemen’s Union.