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Arab Jazz

Written by Karim Miské

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This suspense novel, set in the colourful 19th district of Paris, is a smart and entertaining sociological insight in the making of intolerance and terrorism, written before the actual Paris events of 2015.

The 19th arrondissement in Paris is a cosmopolitan neighbourhood where Jews, Arabs, blacks and whites live together. The children of these communities have grown up side by side, in the same buildings and the same schools. Against this backdrop the body of a young woman is found hanging from a balcony. This crime scene is part of an appalling mise en scène. A bloody roast pork has been laid next to her body with its brutally mutilated sex. Rachel Kupferstein and Jean Hamelot, police officers in the crime squad for the 19th arrondissement, are leading the investigation. Together they hold all the cards to decode the signs of this mysterious crime. Ahmed Taroudant, the victim’s neighbour, has the ideal suspect profile: a chronic depressive who is crazy about crime novels. He had an ambiguous relationship with the victim who was madly in love with him, but who he refused. Yet, Jean and Rachel cannot be convinced of his guilt. The victim is called Laura Vignola. She was an air stewardess and lived in the area surrounded by her best friends Rebecca, Bintou and Aïcha, three twenty-three year-old women who came from the 19th arrondissement. Born in Niort into a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Laura left her parents’ home when she was eighteen years old.

By getting closer to Bintou and Aïcha, Rachel discovers that a few days before the murder, Rebecca left to go and live in New York and that Laura had travelled with her. Laura was killed, therefore, upon her return from New York.

Leaving Rachel and Jean to their investigation, the author takes us to Brooklyn a few months earlier. There one meets Susan Barnes, a young American woman and daughter of a great Jehovah’s Witness. She befriends the great Rebbe from Brooklyn to set up an international drug trafficking network.

In France, she is in contact with three corrupt police officers, Frédéric Enkell, Aïssa Benamer and Francis Meyer, who work for the force in the 18th arrondissement in Paris and share the same station as Jean Hamelot and Rachel Kupferstein. Frédéric Enkell, Aïssa Benamer and Francis Meyer are responsible for distributing the drug. To take the drug between the USA and France, Susan Barnes has used her connections with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. On a trip to New York, she managed to meet Laura Vignola’s father Vicenzo Vignola, a hot shot among the Jevohah’s Witnesses in France. As predicted, he fell madly in love with Sus and accepted to become her mule between New York and Paris. The trafficking has therefore run smoothly for several months.   

When she went with her friend Rebecca to New York, Laura by chance recognised her father in the arms of Susan Barnes. Laura was now a bothersome witness, and had to be got rid of.  

Jean Hamelot and Rachel Kupferstein discover the truth thanks to Ahmed Taroudant who is making his own investigation in the area, and thanks to the information given by Laura Vignola’s friends, Bintou and Aïssa.

“Karim Miské uses the thriller structure to portray brilliantly, in provocative prose and dialogue full of literary, musical and filmic references, a melting-pot society. He offers a vivid kaleidoscope of characters (…). The mix is exciting, informative, stimulating and  a little frightening” The Times



Publisher: Editions Viviane Hamy

Number of Pages: 350 p.

Genre: Crime– Psychological Suspense

Film and TV rights available.

Foreign rights guide:

Germany (Lübbe) – Greece (Polis) – United Kingdom (MacLehose Press) – Italy (Fazi) –Argentina (Adriana Hidalgo).

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