The Final Bet

by Abdelilah Hamdouchi

This is a classic crime story. Rich old woman marries much younger man. When she is found stabbed one night, Othman, her unfaithful husband and the sole beneficiary of her will, is the the prime suspect. The author's strong political message, highlighting the flaws in the Moroccan police system, do not overpower what I found to be a quick and enjoyable, if slightly predictable, read.


The detective looked up and exchanged a glance with the inspector, who was standing with his elbow on the edge of the large fireplace. Alwaar took something down in his notebook.
'Listen, Othman,' he said in an official tone. 'I'll be straight with you. You're the only one who knows what happened. You've got to remember all the details.'
Othman grimaced as his eyes widened.
'That's it. I told you everything.'
The detective felt Othman's story didn't check out. There was clearly something wrong with the knife. It wasn't normal for killers to leave the murder weapon behind at the crime scene, unless something forced them to. Also, the knife wasn't still in the victim's stomach; someone pulled it out and left it next to her on the bed.
The detective swallowed with difficulty. For him, the murder weapon was always the fundamental clue in discovering the killer. And this point was shrouded in obscurity.
Translated by Jonathan Smolin


Dead Man's Share (Inspector Llob Mystery) by Yasmina Khadra
Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

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