Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Samaritan's Secret by Matt Rees

This is the third in the Omar Yussef series of novels. Omar Yussef has come with his family from his home in Bethlehem to attend a wedding in Nablus. The groom, Sami, is a policeman and he gets Omar Yussef involved with an investigation. There has been a theft from the Samaritan synagogue in Nablus.

'I knew you'd be intrigued, as a history teacher who's knowledgeable about all elements of Palestinian culture.......They are part of Palestinian culture aren't they?'
'The Samaritans? They've been here longer than we have Sami. They claim to be descended from some biblical Israelites who remained in this area when their brethren were exiled to Babylon. In a way, they're Palestinians and Jews and neither, all at the same time.'

The precious Abisha Scroll is the item which has been stolen from the synagogue. It is extremely valuable, not only in monetary terms, but also in religious significance. Then the son of the Samaritan priest is found tortured and murdered, and Omar Yussef finds himself embroiled in a very dangerous situation. It involves the tiny Samaritan community and some of the richest businessmen in the area.

I've enjoyed both of the Omar Yussef novels I've read previous to this, and I enjoyed The Samaritan's Secret just as much. As always I enjoyed learning more about Palestine and way people live there. I have come to realise that I enjoy reading about unlikely sleuths - and Omar Yussef is certainly unlikely. I particularly enjoyed learning more about his family in this book; his complicated marriage to Maryam, and his adored granddaughter Nadia.


  1. I think Palestine is very interesting to read about too. This kind of book is not usually what I read, but I think the setting and the fact that it is a scroll that has been stolen would make me more inclined to read it.

  2. Never come across this series at all, but they sound interesting.