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City of Veils by Zoë Ferraris
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3633629,902 (3.97)33

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City of Veils by Zoe Ferraris is the second book in her mystery series that is set in Saudi Arabia. I read these books as much for the information about this closed society where woman are considered chattels and are forced to go in public in long black robes and with their faces covered. Many men appear to fear women and blame them for the desires they can inspire. Even though these books are set in the more ‘liberal’ city of Jeddah, there are still incidents of public floggings and executions.

The main characters in these stories are Nayir Sharqi, a Bedouin guide who also assists the police in their inquiries, and a female forensic scientist named Katya Hijazi. Although Katya works for the police, she has to maintain a lie that she is a married woman in order to keep her job. Nayir is in love with Katya but hesitates to say anything as he is unsure of her feelings toward him.

The mystery involves the discovery of a young woman’s body on a beach. She was brutally beaten, burned and stabbed before being discarded into the ocean. The case is a complicated one and eventually involves an American who is working in Jeddah and his wife. The murder mystery is gripping and at one point involves a particularly hair-rising sandstorm in the desert.

This is an excellent series with interesting police cases that also help to shed light on this strange and exotic culture. I highly recommend this original and creative series. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Nov 28, 2016 |
I liked everything about this book - interesting plot, a story set in Saudi Arabia, great characters, fast pace and above all unpredictable ending of a mystery story. A book to definitely recommend! ( )
  Mrvica | Jul 24, 2016 |
4.5 stars

Miriam Walker flies to Saudi Arabia to join her husband in Jeddah; only hours after her arrival he's vanished without a trace. A few days earlier, the mutilated body of a young woman had washed up on the beach. The cases seem unconnected, but they once again bring together forensic scientist Katya and desert guide Nayir.

I loved the first book in the series, The Night of the Mi'raj, and I was really hoping the second one would live up to my expectations. This it certainly did in spades, I enjoyed every page of this multi-layered suspenseful mystery. There were many twists and turns as the story unfolded and I was kept guessing until the very end. The main enjoyment for me came once again from the insight into the way of life in Saudi Arabia, which sometimes seems to be from another planet altogether. Who's ever heard of things like religious police? Fatwa-online.com? Bluetooth burqas? Did you know it is immoral to walk one's dog in public? Ferraris provides a fascinating, and, I believe, balanced portrait of a society of many contradictions, and it makes for an intriguing read. I can't wait for the next installment!
( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
Set in Saudi Arabia, this is a fast-paced murder mystery. The author's knowledge of the land, culture and religion is clearly demonstrated and brought alive to the reader making this a fascinating read on so many levels. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 22, 2016 |
This is the second book of a fascinating mystery series set in modern day Saudi Arabia, a country well known for enforcing its brand of conservative Islam, where women, hidden beneath full-length burkas, remain anonymous and unimportant. In the first book, "Finding Nouf" we met the two main characters, desert guide Nayir and Katya, a tech in the coroner's office. These two have great chemistry, and they work together once more to solve the mysterious death of another young woman whose mutilated body is discovered on the beach.

The body turns out to be that of Leila Nawar, a young woman who had recently started work as a documentary filmmaker. She was living with her overly protective and very conservative brother, the wealthy owner of a successful lingerie shop. Could the killer be her religious brother, ashamed at her lifestyle? Other suspects include a collection of various Saudis threatened when caught by her camera? In a parallel story we meet Miriam Walker, an American woman who had recently moved to Saudi Arabia with her husband, Eric, who works as a bodyguard. Her husband has gone missing while out to pick up food. At first, Nayir and Katya believe these cases to be separate but the reader already knows they will somehow be connected.

While I didn't enjoy this book as much as Finding Nouf, I still remain fascinated by the setting, as well as the two main characters, Nayir and Katya. Nayir is a religious man who is scared of his feelings for Katya. He even finds even riding in a car with an unrelated woman to be agonizing. Katya, on the other hand, pretends to be married so she can continue to have a job. Claustrophobic and totally original, this is modern crime fiction at its very best. I recommend reading Finding Nouf prior to reading City of Veils to completely understand the culture and the characters. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Adult/High School–In this follow-up to Finding Nouf (Houghton Mifflin, 2008), Ferraris reveals an even deeper inside view of the interactions of men and women in Muslim society, this time adding an American couple living in Saudi Arabia. Miriam hated living in Jeddah from the start, but it is only when her husband Eric disappears that she understands the full extent of her vulnerability. Despite his utter discomfort with testing the Muslim edict not to be alone with women, Nayir (desert guide extraordinaire) finds himself helping Miriam. And he also cannot resist when Katya, assistant in the medical examiner’s office, asks for his aid with an investigation into the murder of a Saudi journalist in her early 20s, Leila, .... ( A wonderful tension between Nayir and Katya runs throughout. The pacing is perfect, fast enough to keep readers engaged, but allowing the fascinating cultural details to be clear. Elements such as the introduction of a bluetooth burqa and an intense desert sandstorm rescue will appeal to teen readers. ...–Angela Carstensen, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City
added by terran | editSchool Library Journal, Angela Carstensen (Oct 29, 2010)
American novelist Ferraris....renders a suspenseful mystery and a sobering portrait of the lives of Muslim women.
added by bell7 | editBooklist, Allison Block
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The woman's body was lying on the beach.
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After the body of a brutally beaten woman is found on a beach in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Detective Osama Ibrahim, along with the help of female coroner Katya and her friend Nayir, discovers that the victim was a controversial filmmaker and must discern whowanted her dead.… (more)

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