Murder Under the Bridge (Book 1)
Winner of the Independent Publishers Book Awards (IPPY) 2016 silver medal for mystery.
Rania is the only female Palestinian police detective in the northern West Bank. She is also a young mother, in a rural community where many believe women should not have such dangerous careers. When she discovers the body of a foreign woman on the edge of her village, her investigation puts her career, her son, and even her life in jeopardy.
Chloe is a Jewish American peace worker with a camera and a big attitude. Laid-off from her tech job in Silicon Valley, she came to Palestine to learn about the situation. Now, after nine months in the country, she dreams of single-handedly bringing peace to the Middle East.
Can these two women bridge the cultural gulf that separates them and find out who murdered Nadya Kim? Their investigation takes them from the refugee camp in Jenin to the beaches of Eilat, revealing secrets about war crimes and Israel’s thriving sex trafficking trade. Fast-paced and intricately plotted, Murder Under The Bridge is an intimate look at the lives of women in the Middle East.
“Raphael has created a wonderful cast, most especially her Palestinian policewoman, Rania, and a taut, page-turning plot. But the real star here is the setting. When an immigrant is murdered, Rania’s investigations take her directly into the treacherous, deadly politics of Israel and Palestine. Authoritatively and vividly rendered, MURDER UNDER THE BRIDGE is a compelling read.”
— Karen Joy Fowler, PEN/Faulkner prize winning author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and The Jane Austen Book Club
“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
Murder Under the Fig Tree (Book 2) (Lambda nominee
Foreword INDIES Book of the Year)
The bold heroines of Murder Under the Bridge are back, and they’re in trouble.
Hamas has taken power in Palestine, and the Israeli government is rounding up threats. Palestinian policewoman Rania Bakara finds herself thrown in prison, though she has never been part of Hamas. Chloe flies in from San Francisco to free her friend – and rekindle her romance with Tina, a beautiful Palestinian Australian. The only way Rania can get out of jail is by agreeing to investigate the death of a young gay Palestinian in a village near her home.
With Chloe and Tina as guides, Rania plunges into a subculture she never knew existed: exploring a Jerusalem gay bar, meeting with a lesbian support group, getting to know the young man’s secret lovers. The investigation tests her deepest loyalties and forces her to question her beliefs about love, justice, and cultural identity.
“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
“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
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What people are saying:
“The mix of murder and politics makes for fascinating reading, made even richer by the revealing glimpse of life in the occupied territories.”
“This riveting story provides a rich portrait of life behind the headlines of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”
— Ayelet Waldman, author of Love and Treasure
“One of the best mysteries I’ve read in a long time. Kept me from doing ten important things I should have been doing, because I just had to finish it! 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 who bridge cultural divide and distrust to investigate a death on the Israeli-Palestinian border. 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
“Kate Raphael gives us smart, complex women who challenge the boundaries of states and expand the boundaries of mysteries. This is a great read!”
–Elana Dykewomon, Lambda award winning author of Beyond the Pale
“Strong and complex female characters, a unique and vividly drawn setting, and an utterly compelling story—Kate Jessica Raphael offers you everything you could possibly want in a page-turning mystery. Let’s hope this is the first of many novels to come.”
—Elaine Beale, author of Murder in the Castro