In 1982, my University of Maryland boss Dave Glazer called me up in Spain and asked me if I'd be interested in going to Bahrain for my next assignment. "What country is that in?" I asked. And David laughed and told me that Bahrain's not in a country, it is a country — a tiny island emirate smack in the middle of the Persian Gulf.

I went, supposedly for four months, but wound up staying for close to a year. The American community in Bahrain is small and tightly knit — and very welcoming of newcomers. Within a couple of weeks of my arrival, I'd been written about in both of the country's English-language newspapers, interviewed on the national radio station, invited to dinner at the homes of the US ambassador and the admiral of the Navy's Middle East fleet....

There's not a lot to do in Bahrain except attend social functions: there's a beach exclusively for the use of foreigners, there's the National Museum, there's shopping in the alleyways of the suq. And that's about it. So, after an 8-year hiatus, I resumed writing detective stories and created the character of Mahboob Chaudri, a Pakistani policeman on the emirate's Public Security Force. I wound up selling a dozen Chaudri stories to various magazines: you can find them all listed in my bibliography and read several of them here.

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