Murder Under the Fig Tree: A Palestine Mystery

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Murder Under the Fig Tree by Kate Jessica Raphael is a fascinating drama and murder mystery set in Palestine. The book holds several strong female characters who make it stand out from many traditional murder stories that I personally have read. Rania Bakara, a Palestinian female detective, has found herself in prison despite the fact that she has never been associated with Hamas. Chloe, a Jewish-American friend of Rania’s from San Fransisco, has flown in to help free her from prison. Rania is released from prison but not allowed to return to the Palestinian police force as a detective. However, an Israeli officer has requested her help in understanding what truly happened to Daoud, the young, homosexual Palestinian conservatory music student who was murdered under the fig tree. Since Rania is unfamiliar with what being homosexual means, she willingly opens her eyes and heart as she tries to understand those around her. Rania is faced with not only being a wife and mother but also the need to find justice for Daoud and his family in a place where justice and truth are not always easy to find. Ms. Raphael capably draws the reader into a world and culture that most Americans only hear bits and pieces about on the news. She paints vivid pictures of real people in their real lives as they deal with the murder of one of their own. Her writing style makes the reader feel as if they are actually in the setting right alongside the characters. Ms. Raphael successfully blends Hebrew, Arabic, and English words for a truly unique cultural read. She includes a glossary in the back for anyone who would like additional information. Not only does she include the glossary, but she also includes a map on the initial page that helps the reader feel a connection to what is likely a foreign land. Her inclusion of the political climate also helps to see what people in the LGBT community in Israel and Palestine must endure, and you can feel her connection as an experienced human-rights worker in the area. Raphael’s political views do come through in her writing, but I did not have a problem with this, as in America we typically only see one side, so I appreciated the viewpoint. I did not realize that this was the second book that carries the characters, and I have not yet read the initial book, but I did not have a problem jumping right into the story and understanding the characters. The book is an engaging drama and mystery novel, and I couldn’t put it down. I am looking forward to reading the further adventures of Rania.

Reviewed By:

Author Kate Jessica Raphael
Star Count 4.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher She Writes Press
Publish Date 2017-Sep-19
ISBN 9781631522741
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue April 2018
Category Mystery, Crime & Thriller


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