The Samaritan’s Secret by Matt Rees
I kind of goofed up by picking up this work thinking that it is an earlier installment of the Omar Youssef series than another book I own, but this is the third item in the series not the first.
The setting is what makes these detective stories interesting. Omar Youssef is not the typical policeman he is a Palestinian school-teacher who finds himself embroiled in a murder mystery. This time he is traveling to Nablus with his family to attend a wedding of a police officer colleague when a tragedy strikes and a body is discovered in the vicinity of Samaritan temple. The victim is Ishaq, the son of the temple custodian, who was also the financial adviser of a senior political figure in the Palestinian hierarchy.
True to old-style detective novels Omar Youssef unravels the layers of the mystery surrounding the murder, giving us in the meantime a snapshot of life in the West Bank, the Palestinian realities of corruption, extremism and survival. It also gives some insight into the small Samaritan community resident near Nablus.
I found this a very quick and interesting read, a good old-fashioned mystery with clear-cut motives and none of the high-tech investigation style, which I suppose is something to be expected considering the setting of the West Bank.