Mystery Authors You May Have Missed
Matt Beynon Rees

Photo of Matt Rees

Rees was born in 1967 in Wales. He attended Oxford University and the University of Maryland. In 1966 he went to live in Jerusalem where he still resides. He says that there was never really a time when he didn’t write. Arriving in the Middle East as a journalist, he had only a couple of published short stories. He wrote for The Scotsman, then Newsweek, and served as bureau chief for Time in Jerusalem from 2000 until 2006.

What he writes: While his first book, Cain’s Field: Faith, Fratricide, and Fear in the Middle East, was well received, he felt that journalism constricted his writing. In his words “the most striking images and people rarely make it into print.” He turned to mystery writing. The protagonist of his four mystery novels is a 56-year-old Palestinian school teacher named Omar Yussef, a Muslim who initially turns amateur detective in an attempt to clear the name of one of his Christian friends accused of collaborating with the Israelis.


List of works
Omar Yussef series
  The Collaborator of Bethlehem (2007)
  A Grave in Gaza (2008)
  The Samaritan's Secret (2009)
  The Fourth Assassin (2010)


For The Collaborator of Bethlehem:
Under its UK title Bethlehem Murders, this novel won the Crime Writers Association John Creasey Dagger Award in 2008. It was also nominated for the Macavity First Mystery Award, The Barry First Novel Award, and the Quill Best Mystery Award. It was included in Booklist’s Top Ten Mysteries of the Year..

What the critics say
Colin Dexter, author of the Inspector Morse novels, described Omar Yussef as "a splendid
Another reviewer described Yussef as “Yassar Arafat meets Miss Marple."
Other authors have compared Rees's novels with the works of Graham Green, John Le Carre, Georges Simenon, and Henning Mankell.
French magazine L’Express has described Rees as “the Dashiell Hammett of Palestine.”


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