For decades, Omar Yussef has been a teacher of history to the children of Bethlehem. When a favorite former pupil, George Saba, a member of the Palestinian Christian minority, is arrested for collaborating with the Israelis in the killing of a Palestinian guerrilla, Omar is sure he has been framed. If George is not cleared, he faces imminent execution.
Then the wife of the dead man, also one of Omar Yussefs former pupils, is murdered, possibly raped. When he begins to suspect the head of the Bethlehem al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is the true collaborator, Omar and his family are threatened. But as no one else is willing to stand up to the violent Martyrs Brigades men, who hold the real power in the town, it is up to him to investigate.
The Collaborator of Bethlehem, first published in the UK as The Bethlehem Murders, won the 2008 Crime Writers Association's John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award - the prestigious CWA award given to the best first novel of the year.
Omar Yussef, a teacher of history to the unhappy children
of Dehaisha refugee camp, shuffled stiffly up the meandering
road, past the gray, stone homes built in the time of the
Turks on the edge of Beit Jala. He paused in the strong evening
wind, took a comb from the top pocket of his tweed jacket, and
tried to tame the strands of white hair with which he covered
his baldness. He glanced down at his maroon loafers in the
orange flicker of the buzzing street lamp and tutted at the dust
that clung to them as he tripped along the uneven roadside,
away from Bethlehem.
In the darkness at the corner of the next alley, a gunman coughed and expectorated. The gob of sputum landed at the border of the light and the gloom, as though the man intended for Omar Yussef to see it. He resisted the urge to scold the sentry for his vulgarity, as he would have one of his pupils at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency Girls School. The young thug, though obscured by the...
The Collaborator of Bethlehem is an exceptionally powerful and highly readable mystery that opens a window for the reader into the soul-destroying conditions experienced by people living on the West Bank. Omar Yussef is a welcome addition to the world of fictional detectives and one we will hopefully be hearing from again very soon, as Rees plans to explore the full scope of how Palestinians live today through Omar. A second book, set in Gaza, is already with his publisher; the third book will be set in Nablus.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (1231 words).
A Short History of Palestine
If you liked The Collaborator of Bethlehem, try these:
A ruthless group of corrupt cops is playing a lethal game of cat and mouse in the latest installment in Garcia-Roza's Brazilian crime series.
A tale about a beautiful woman - an anonymous victim of a suicide bombing in Jerusalem - whose luminous smile, graceful neck and bright eyes are so beguiling that even in death she can lead a man to fall in love with her.
Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!
Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only
The Angel of Losses
"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist
Solve this clue:
and be entered to win..
Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.
Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.