Murder Under the Fig Tree

Murder Under the Fig Tree : A Palestine Mystery

3.81 (66 ratings by Goodreads)

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Hamas has taken power in Palestine, and the Israeli government is rounding up threats. When Palestinian policewoman Rania Bakara finds herself thrown in prison, though she has never been part of Hamas, her friend Chloe flies in from San Francisco to get her out. Chloe begs an Israeli policeman named Benny for help-and Benny offers Rania a way out: investigate the death of a young man in a village near her own. The young man's neighbors believe the Israeli army killed him; Benny believes his death might not have been so honorable.

Initially, Rania refuses; she has no interest in helping the Israelis. But she is released anyway, and returns home to find herself without a job and suspected of being a traitor. Searching for redemption, she launches an investigation into the young man's death that draws her into a Palestinian gay scene she never knew existed.

With Chloe and her Palestinian Australian lover as guides, Rania explores a Jerusalem gay bar, meets with a lesbian support group, and plunges deep into the victim's world, forcing her to question her beliefs about love, justice, and cultural identity.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 27.94mm | 566.99g
  • Berkeley, United States
  • English
  • 1631522744
  • 9781631522741
  • 666,607

Review quote

2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards: Finalist in Multicultural Fiction & Mystery

2017 Foreword Indies Bronze Winner in Adult Fiction-Multicultural

2017 Foreword Indies Finalist in Adult Fiction-Mystery

2018 Lambda Literary Award Finalist in Lesbian Mystery

"Raphael draws on her experience as a human rights worker in Palestine to capture the Occupied Territories' intertwined grit and beauty. That, and a cast of thoughtfully developed characters will appeal to readers interested in complex political situations, such as fans of Parker Bilal's Makana mysteries."


"Murder Under the Fig Tree is a beautifully written and layered novel that takes on the complexities and ambiguities of Palestinian life; it's also a damn good mystery that convincingly demonstrates a crime novel can also be fine literature."

-Michael Nava, author of Lay Your Sleeping Head

Praise for Murder Under the Bridge, Palestine Mystery Series #1:

"One of the best mysteries I've read in a long time . . . Kate Raphael writes great women characters and does a fantastic job of portraying the realities of Palestinian life as background to a gripping story."

-Starhawk, best-selling author of The Fifth Sacred Thing and The Spiral Dance

"A stunning mystery novel by a talented new writer. Anyone picking up the book will be drawn in by Rania and Chloe, a dynamic, realistic pair of women sleuths. Raphael's experience in the Middle East adds convincing detail to this compassionate and suspenseful tale. An outstanding addition to the global mystery field. More, please!"

-Sujata Massey, author of The Sleeping Dictionary

"Raphael thoroughly captures the tension of life on the West Bank by setting a murder in a location marked by daily violence. Substantial yet humanly flawed female protagonists give depth to both the mystery . . . and the political and social turmoil of the region."

-Library Journal starred review

"I was such a fan of Kate Raphael's gripping and luminous first novel, Murder Under the Bridge, that I could not wait to get my hands on Murder Under the Fig Tree. Once again, Raphael has delivered a powerful, textured, boldly imagined, and brilliantly executed portrait of Palestine and Israel that is also a wicked pleasure to read. There are no characters in fiction quite like Rania and Chloe. Not to be missed!"
-Carolina de Robertis, author of The Invisible Mountain and The Gods of Tango
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About Kate Jessica Raphael

Kate Raphael is a San Francisco Bay Area writer, feminist, queer activist, and radio journalist who makes her living as a law firm word processor. She lived in Palestine for eighteen months as a member of the International Women's Peace Service. She spent over a month in Israeli prison and was eventually deported because of her activism. She has won a residency at Hedgebrook and been a grand marshal of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade. She produces the weekly radio show Women's Magazine on Pacifica's KPFA, which is heard throughout Northern and Central California. Her debut Palestine mystery, Murder Under the Bridge, won the 2016 International Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) Silver Medal for Mystery.
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Rating details

66 ratings
3.81 out of 5 stars
5 30% (20)
4 36% (24)
3 21% (14)
2 9% (6)
1 3% (2)
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