Filmmakers Ethan, left, and Joel Coen promote their film No Country For Old Men at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2007. ((Jeff Christensen/Associated Press))

The Coen brothers have selected another offbeat murder mystery as an upcoming project, The Yiddish Policemen's Union.

Joel and Ethan Coen, directors of Fargo and Oscar-nominated No Country for Old Men, reached a deal with American author Michael Chabon for the book, according to trade publication Variety.

In The Yiddish Policeman's Union,Chabon has created an alternative history. Berlin has been destroyed by an atom bomb; Israel lost the 1948 War of Independence; and a community of Jewish refugees is living in Alaska.

That small Alaskan community, itself precarious, is the setting for an alcoholic detective's investigation of a heroin-addicted chess prodigy who might be the messiah.

The story is packed with potential for the Coen brothers' trademark quirky characters.

Joel and Ethan Coen plan to write and direct with Scott Rudin, who worked on No Country, as producer and Columbia Pictures.

Rudin also worked on film versions of two other Chabon novels, Wonder Boys and the Pulitzer Prize-winner The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which is still in production.

No timetable has been released for shooting The Yiddish Policemen's Union, but the Coens are expected to make it after they finish A Serious Man, a dark comedy to be shot in Minnesota.

No Country for Old Men has eight Oscar nominations, including best picture and best director.