Kosher sushi, kebabs, a second hand bookshop and a bar: the 19th arrondissement in Paris is a cosmopolitan neighbourhood where multicultural citizens live, love and worship alongside one another. This peace is shattered when Ahmed Taroudant's melancholy daydreams are interrupted by the blood dripping from his upstairs neighbour's brutally mutilated corpse.
The violent murder of Laura Vignole, and the pork joint placed next to her, set imaginations ablaze across the neighborhood, and Ahmed finds himself the prime suspect. However detectives Rachel Kupferstein and Jean Hamelot are not short of leads. What is the connection between a disbanded hip-hop group and the fiery extremist preachers that jostle in the streets for attention? And what is the mysterious new pill that is taking the district by storm?
In this his debut novel, Karim Miské demonstrates a masterful control of setting, as he moves seamlessly between the sensual streets of Paris and the synagogues of New York to reveal the truth behind a horrifying crime.
Ahmed Taroudant, the hero of Misk 's marvelous debut, is a dreamer, mystery reader, and occasional marijuana smoker. He also holds the house key to his upstairs neighbor Laura Vignola's apartment in Paris's 19th arrondissement, which should make him the prime suspect when she's murdered. Intellectual police lieutenants Rachel Kupferstein and Jean Hamelot readily dismiss him as a suspect, though, sensing his inherent gentleness. Ahmed willingly assists Rachel and Jean as well as pursuing his own lines of investigation. The three start to see connections to neighborhood Hasidic Jews and Salafist Muslims as well as Laura's own estranged Jehovah's Witness family. The crime may also be linked to a powerful new drug that has hit the streets and the potentially crooked cops who work an adjacent arrondissement. Separately and together, Misk 's leads sip coffee, have cordial chats, and muse their way toward the solution. Memories, erotic fantasies, and assorted reveries drift through the pages, but Rachel and Jean are no less rigorous in their investigation than more traditional detectives.