Green Bean Books

The Lost Spy and the Green Dress

Written by Alex Paz Goldman
Translated by Linda Yechiel

Price: £10.99 / $13.99
Pages: 176
Format: paperback
ISBN: 9781784387310


  • A complex and compelling mystery story for older middle grade readers, set in a vividly described 1960s Israel.

  • Confronts challenging subject matter with humour and nuance through the eyes of its compelling young protagonist.

  • Tells an important story about the schisms between generations and teaches young readers to think more carefully about the lives and histories of the adults in their lives.


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 neighbourhood 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.

Author Details

Alex Paz-Goldman was born in Israel in 1955 to Holocaust survivor parents. He has a BSc in Computer Science from the Israel Institute of Technology, and an MA in Child and Youth Culture from Tel Aviv University. His short stories have appeared in publications including Einayim, the most popular children’s magazine in Israel and his first book, Adventures in a Small Town (with Iris Argaman) has been adapted for the stage. The Lost Spy and the Green Dress is his second book and, like the first, is recommended by the Israel Ministry of Education. In 2017, Paz-Goldman was awarded the Devorah Omer Prize for Youth Literature. He lives in Tel Aviv.


Green Bean Books’ forthcoming mystery story The Lost Spy and the Green Dress is set in Israel in the 1960s—a time when Israeli author Alex Paz-Goldman, born in 1955 to Holocaust-survivor parents, would have been around the same age as his 12-year-old protagonist. The novel touches on difficult topics such as the Holocaust, trauma, mental health, and poverty. Publisher Michael Leventhal says he’s seen “an increasing number of translations of Hebrew-language work from award-winning Israeli authors and illustrators,” noting that “new subjects and new areas of history that have never been tackled are finally being portrayed, too.”