The Honored Dead: A Story of Friendship, Murder, and the Search for Truth in the Arab World
By Joseph Braude
Spiegel & Grau, 318 pages, $26.00
You can take the Jew out of the Arab world, but you can’t take the Arab world out of the Jew. That basically sums up Joseph Braude, a young American Jew of Iraqi descent who studied Near Eastern languages at Yale and Arabic and Islamic history at Princeton, and who is fluent in several Arabic dialects, Persian and Hebrew. It also partially explains why, in 2008, he found himself conducting his own unofficial investigation into a violent murder while officially embedded with the Moroccan police on a journalistic assignment.
At once a murder mystery, a travelogue, a history text, and memoir, “The Honored Dead: A Story of Friendship, Murder, and the Search for Truth in the Arab World” is a compelling and illuminating chronicle of Braude’s sleuthing in the slums of Casablanca and the Berber countryside. He does this together with an unemployed baker referred to as Muhammad Bari, a poor, average Moroccan who believes that the police are covering up a conspiracy, and who convinces Braude to help him discover the real circumstances surrounding the murder of his night watchman friend, Ibrahim Dey.