Qui a tué l'Ayatollah Kanuni ?

Who Killed Ayatollah Kanuni?
Qui a tué l'Ayatollah Kanuni ?

Naïri Nahapétian
FOREIGN SALES: Spain (Alianza) Netherlands (Querido), Sweden (Sekwa), Ukraine (Tempora)

Having returned to Iran, then in the thick of the presidential campaign, Narek Djamshid hopes to achieve two dreams: to rediscover his lost roots and launch his career as a journalist. A week after his arrival – while the candidates confront each other and an outsider named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is emerging – things are far from going to plan… Mollycoddled by his great-aunt who stuffs him with delicacies and gossip, snubbed by the women of Tehran who hide their sequins under the obligatory raincoat, perplexed by the unfathomable social codes, Narek has the feeling he’s just not getting this country. So when Leila Tabihi, a celebrated Islamic feminist and a candidate herself, provides him with the opportunity to penetrate inside Tehran’s law courts, he jumps at the chance: it’s the ideal place to get close to the “men in beards” who rule the roost in this republic of the ayatollahs. But far from putting him in the picture, this first contact is going to lead him down the most slippery of slopes, for he unwillingly finds himself on the scene of the murder of a highly placed judge, Ayatollah Kanuni, known as the butcher of Mashad.

Incarcerated in the formidable Evin Prison, but very quickly freed, Narek and Leila will try to discover, each following their own leads, who killed Ayatollah Kanuni. Their investigation takes us back to the bloody period that marked the founding of the Islamic republic as well as into the impenetrable workings of religious foundations and petroleum companies. Narek will also clear up the circumstances of his own mother’s death in the aftermath of the 1979 revolution.

Through this subtle detective novel, the first in a series, the reader will better understand the Iran of today, beyond preconceived notions.
Naïri Nahapétian was born in 1970 in Iran, a country she left following the Islamic revolution. Over a few years as a free-lance journalist, she carried out many reporting assignments in Iran for Le Journal de Genève, Le Nouveau Quotidien, Politis, Charlie hebdo, Témoignage chrétien, and for the Arabies review. She currently works for Alternatives économiques and has published an essay entitled L’Usine à vingt ans.

  • Published on janvier 8th, 2009
  • 288 pages


« This first novel puts Iran on the world map of the detective novel for the first time. » Le Monde
« A thriller to shatter simplistic clichés about the Iran of today. » Le Canard enchaîné
« She offers a strongly contrasted image of this society which we often know only through the clichés of the political media that manage to reach us. » Tageblatt