Today I’d like to inaugurate a ‘Behind the Book’ feature , where I talk about certain moments, themes or places in each of my books. Given that an election is taking place in Iran, it’s the perfect time to chat a little more about AMONG THE RUINS, the third book in my Khattak/Getty mystery series. As RUINS opens, Khattak is in the city of Esfahan in Iran, a breathtakingly beautiful, former imperial capital. There’s a saying known to all Iranians, and possibly to all speakers of Persian/Farsi: Esfahan nesf-e-jahan…or Esfahan is half the world. In fact, it is with these words that RUINS begins. As Khattak seeks peace in the city’s gardens, he receives a mysterious letter urging him to read the poetry of no less a personage than the revered figure of Hafiz. Khattak’s correspondent observes that instead of reading Hafiz, Khattak has a different book. He's traveling his own ‘closed circuit.’ This is a reference to a book of poems by the Iranian poet, Shadab Vajdi. I was given this volume of poetry by a friend when I was in law school, and the haunting beauty of those poems has stayed with me. Though the poems in Closed Circuit reference a previous era in Iran, their themes of exile and oppression translate to the present moment Khattak finds himself in, and to the murder he’s asked to solve. Here’s a look at the Naqsh-e Jahan square in Esfahan, where Khattak passes his days.