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Authors: Karim Miské

Tags: #FICTION / Mystery & Detective / International Mystery & Crime

Arab Jazz

BOOK: Arab Jazz
9.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Arab Jazz
Karim Miské
MacLehose Press (2012)
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Tags: FICTION / Mystery & Detective / International Mystery & Crime
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / International Mystery & Crimettt

Kosher sushi, kebab stands, a secondhand bookstore, and a bar: the 19th arrondissement in Paris has all the trappings of a cosmopolitan melting pot--a place where multiethnic citizens live, love, and worship alongside one another. But dark passions are brewing beneath the seemingly idyllic vision of peacefully coexisting ethnicities.

Ahmed Taroudant is an archetypal French Arab-non-observant, unable to reconcile his conflicting identities, and troubled by the past. A crime fiction connoisseur, Ahmed is engrossed in his latest book when he finds blood dripping from his upstairs neighbor's apartment. There, Laura Vignole is found brutally murdered, with a joint of pork placed near her body, prompting the obvious conclusion that the killer had religious motives. As the neighborhood erupts into speculation and gossip, Ahmed finds himself first among many suspects.

Detectives Rachel Kupferstein and Jean Hamelot attempt to untangle the complex web of events leading up to Laura's death, but truth is hard to come by, with each inhabitant--an Armenian anarchist, a Turkish kebab-shop owner, and a Hasidic Rastafarian--reluctant to reveal anything. Determined to clear his name, Ahmed joins the detectives as they investigate the connection between a disbanded hip-hop group and the fiery extremist preachers clamoring for attention in the streets. Meanwhile, an ecstasy variant called Godzwill is taking the district by storm.

In his debut novel, Karim Miské demonstrates a masterful control of setting, as he moves effortlessly between the sensual streets of Paris and the synagogues of New York to reveal the truth behind a horrifying crime.



"Intelligent and gripping."

Tariq Ali

"A brilliant debut."

Robin Yassin-Kassab,* Guardian

"Exciting, informative, stimulating, and a little frightening."

Marcel Berlins,* The Times

"A debut of notable assurance ... proof that French crime fiction is jostling its way to the top of the noir tree."

Barry Forshaw,* Independent

"Miské's imaginative geography lies somewhere between the fantasy Belleville of Daniel Pennac, the strange world of Fred Vargas and the amoral fantastic of the television series
Breaking Bad
*The Times Literary Supplement

"A poetic take on the traditional noir thriller."―
*Press Association

"A convincing world of the criminal underworld . . . written in sensuous prose . . . with a gift for setting, Miské's narrative twists through the mosques, prayer rooms and synagogues of Paris."―
The Lady

"This is an intelligent, multi-layered and objective novel that will make you think and increase your awareness of the differences that lay at the heart of any modern society. You will feel emotionally invested in the character's lives, and most importantly of all feel that you have read a book that deserves to be read."―
Raven Crime Reads

"A search through the cosmopolitan world, one in which people of many different types are all trying to make a go at it. The detectives are at work trying to find the truth, not only about the murder, but about themselves as well."―
*San Francisco Book Review

"Events and characters that evoke the latest headlines make this a propitious if uneasy read."―
RT Book Reviews

"Redefines noir at its darkest. . .[Miské's] ability to keep his readers on the edge of their seats and the way he handles an intricate plot without a misstep has created an amazing page-turner."

*School Library Journal
***(Starred Review)

"[A] marvelous debut."

*Publishers Weekly

Arab Jazz
presents a hypercosmopolitan world, where synagogues, mosques, and pizzerias share the same street front, where you will meet Seventh Day Adventists, radical Islamists, and a Rastafarian Hasidic drug designer. Miské's writing is clever, profound, and funny, with a translation by Sam Gordon that captures the novel's rhythm and wit."

*Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine

Arab Jazz
is a fascinating and strange crime novel from a great new author."―
*Mysterious Bookshop e-newsletter

"This enthralling debut revels in tropes of the crime novel even as it careers cheekily beyond the genre . . . the disparate threads connect and produce a satisfying surprise."

*The New Yorker

About the Author

Born in 1964 in Abidjan to a Mauritanian father and a French mother,
Karim Miské
grew up in Paris before leaving to study journalism in Dakar. He now lives in France, and is making documentary films on a wide range of subjects, including deafness, for which he learned sign language, and the common roots between the Jewish and Islamic religions.
Arab Jazz
is the author's first novel. 

Arab Jazz

MacLehose Press

An imprint of Quercus

New York • London

First published in the French language as
Arab Jazz
by Éditions Viviane Hamy in 2012

Copyright © Éditions Viviane Hamy, 2012

English translation copyright © 2015 by Sam Gordon

First published in the United States by Quercus in 2016

This book is supported by the Institut français (Royaume-Uni) as part of the Burgess program.

This book has been selected to receive financial assistance from English PEN’s
PEN Promotes!
program. English PEN exists to promote literature and our understanding of it, to uphold writers’ freedoms around the world, to campaign against the persecution and imprisonment of writers for stating their views, and to promote the friendly cooperation of writers and the free exchange of ideas.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by reviewers, who may quote brief passages in a review. Scanning, uploading, and electronic distribution of this book or the facilitation of the same without the permission of the publisher is prohibited.

Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

Any member of educational institutions wishing to photocopy part or all of the work for classroom use or anthology should send inquiries to
[email protected]

e-ISBN 978-1-68144-604-2

Distributed in the United States and Canada by

Hachette Book Group

1290 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10104

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, institutions, places, and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons—living or dead—events, or locales is entirely coincidental.



  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Epigraph
  5. Chapter 1
  6. Chapter 2
  7. Chapter 3
  8. Chapter 4
  9. Chapter 5
  10. Chapter 6
  11. Chapter 7
  12. Chapter 8
  13. Chapter 9
  14. Chapter 10
  15. Chapter 11
  16. Chapter 12
  17. Chapter 13
  18. Chapter 14
  19. Chapter 15
  20. Chapter 16
  21. Chapter 17
  22. Chapter 18
  23. Chapter 19
  24. Chapter 20
  25. Chapter 21
  26. Chapter 22
  27. Chapter 23
  28. Chapter 24
  29. Chapter 25
  30. Chapter 26
  31. Chapter 27
  32. Chapter 28
  33. Chapter 29
  34. Chapter 30
  35. Chapter 31
  36. Chapter 32
  37. Chapter 33
  38. Chapter 34
  39. Chapter 35
  40. Chapter 36
  41. Chapter 37
  42. Chapter 38
  43. Chapter 39
  44. Chapter 40
  45. Chapter 41
  46. Chapter 42
  47. Chapter 43
  48. Chapter 44
  49. Chapter 45
  50. Chapter 46
  51. Chapter 47
  52. Chapter 48
  53. Playlist
BOOK: Arab Jazz
9.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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