Kosher sushis, kebabs, a second hand bookshop and a bar in front of which small groups of young people gather: the 19th arrondissement in Paris is a cosmopolitan neighbourhood where Jews, Arabs, blacks and whites live together.
Ahmed Taroudant, a day dreamer and crazy about crime novels, which he stacks up to the ceiling of his studio flat, is not one of them. But it is he who makes the horrifying discovery of the body of his neighbour, Laura Vignola, hanging from her balcony.
This crime scene is part of an appalling mise en scene. A bloody roast pork has been laid next to her body with its brutally mutilated sex. There are enough symbols for the inhabitants to label her “a woman stained by impurity”.
Rachel Kupferstein and Jean Hamelot are put in charge of the inquiry by the very charismatic Inspector Mercator. The pair stands out against the backdrop of the Parisian crime world. She is a vivacious Jew and he is the son of a rationalist-communist. Together they hold all the cards to decode the signs of this mysterious crime.
Arab Jazz is engrossing crime fiction and the author’s first novel.
« Arab jazz, Karim Miské’s new French noir novel, is a stark break away from most French crime fiction writing. Taking its title from James Ellroy’s White Jazz, this is a brilliant and promising piece of work. »
« It’s impossible to miss this dramatically contemporary crime novel about new Muslim and Jewish fundamentalists living together in France. »
“A noteworthy entrance has been made into the world of crime fiction […] two police officers who could have been invented by Fred Vargas […] there is no time to get bored […] the more the story progresses, the more Karim Miské perfects its pace and finds his own voice […] an author is born. And it’s good news: once he gets going, it won’t be easy to catch up with him.”