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Ever since I saw the 1967 film “In the Heat of the Night,” in which black homicide detective Virgil Tibbs (played by Sidney Poitier) brought a redneck killer to justice in Sparta, Mississippi, I confess to having been totally hooked on the “ethnic detective” genre. It’s a popular formula because it allows for an almost infinite variety of historical and cultural backdrops, all the while enabling justice to prevail in the end.

Enter Omar Yussef, the creation of Matt Beynon Rees, a Welsh journalist who served six years as Jerusalem bureau chief for Time magazine. A pudgy, aging Palestinian schoolteacher from Bethlehem, West Bank, Omar Yussef is more of a kindly uncle than a Sam Spade, but nonetheless happens to be tenacious, skilled at deduction and grounded in common-sense logic — which in the tense, faction-ridden atmosphere of the West Bank can be risky, even deadly, attributes.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
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