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No crime, whether a theft or murder, is an isolated event in Palestine; it's an intersection of religious, cultural and political issues, as shown in Rees's absorbing third Omar Yussef mystery (after 2008's A Grave in Gaza). Omar Yussef, a 57-year-old history teacher, becomes immersed in finding who killed Ishaq, a member of the tiny, ancient Samaritan community on the outskirts of Nablus. While his fellow Samaritans didn't respect Ishaq, he controlled millions of dollars of government money through his job at the Palestinian Authority-money that's now missing. Unless the funds can be found, the World Bank will cut off all financial aid to Palestine. If the quiet Yussef stretches believability as a sleuth, Rees excels in capturing the essence of Palestine, from the claustrophobic casbah with its myriad scents to the harsh beauty of the countryside. Rees vividly illustrates daily Palestinian life, where violence is a constant threat and religious attitudes permeate each decision. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.