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City Of Veils [Paperback]

Zoe Ferraris
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

5 May 2011

The crime: one scalding afternoon, the mutilated body of a young woman, half naked beneath her burqa, is discovered on a Saudi beach; soon afterwards a Western woman's husband vanishes without trace.

The place: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the City of Veils. A city of narrow streets and closed shutters, where nothing is what it seems ;and the Empty Quarter - one of the most beautiful, yet unforgiving deserts on earth.

The people: Miriam Walker, alone in an alien culture, desperate to find her missing husband. Katya, a forensic scientist battling the prejudices of a society full of sexual, religious and moral contradictions; and Nayir, devout Muslim, desert guide, amateur sleuth - the man she loves.

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City Of Veils + The Night Of The Mi'raj + Kingdom Of Strangers
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (5 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034912213X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349122137
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 134,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


PRAISE FOR CITY OF VEILS: "Zo Ferraris delivers the Muslim "The Da Vinci Code." It kept me up at night. I loved it!"--co-author of The Faith Club "Ranya Idliby "

Book Description

* Sequel to THE NIGHT OF THE MI'RAJ, which was Zoe Ferraris's first novel, a stunning literary detective novel set in Saudi Arabia

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Behind the veil 21 July 2010
By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER
The discovery of a young woman brutally murdered and found left washed up on a beach in Jeddah sets the scene for an intriguing murder-mystery in ZoŽ Ferraris' City of Veils, but the book is also rather more than a conventional crime thriller, the author in the process revealing a great deal about the attitudes and actions of men and women in Saudi Arabia.

The author's second novel features characters who first appeared in her debut, Night of the Mi'raj - desert guide Nayir and forensic scientist Katya - and between them they not only prove to be a strong team to investigate the murder, but also reflect the conflicts and the disparity between men and women in Islamic society. Nayir struggles with his conflicting desires between his religion and the woman he is in love with, while the independently-minded Katya struggles to not only earn the respect of her male colleagues, but has to pretend she is married in order to even keep her job. The case they are investigating - their even working together as a partnership is a serious and potentially dangerous matter - reveals however even deeper and more disturbing issues that lie behind the murder of the young woman and the seemingly connected disappearance of an American security guard working in the country.

While the investigation opens up several interesting lines of criminal activity and revolves around fascinating theological matters associated with to the Quran, underlying them all - and making the issue more complicated and difficult to resolve - are more day-to-day questions related to religious belief and its impact on Islamic society, particularly as it pertains to women.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A crime story with a difference 21 July 2010
By Suzie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A woman's body is washed up on a beach, mutilated and unrecognisable. Detective Inspector Osama Ibrahim investigates. Meanwhile, Miriam Walker returns to Jeddah after a month's holiday back home in America, but shortly afterwards her husband Eric disappears. Could the American's disappearance be linked to the murder?

In her job as a technician in the local forensic lab, Katya is trying to piece together evidence that might reveal the murdered woman's identity, while trying to come to terms with the reappearance in her life of Nayir, a desert guide and devout Muslim. He is as troubled by his feelings for Katya, as she is about hers for him. She is clearly not the sort of girl who will accept the traditional woman's role of wife and mother, and when chance offers her the opportunity of a greater role in the investigation Katya jumps at it.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the way it highlights the position of women in modern Saudi society, the gulf between the fundamentalists and the modernists who risk the wrath of the so-called `religious police' by exposing their faces and seeking employment outside the home.

It's a tightly plotted story that unfolds at a gripping pace, once you get through the first third of the book. Until then I thought it was ok but nothing special - and I was waiting for the `maze of narrow streets' that so tantalisingly beckoned from the description on the front cover. Also (for me at least) there was nothing to give me a flavour of Jeddah itself. Apart from the heat and the repressive regime, the story could have been set in virtually any city. Certain aspects of the investigation, such as Nayir's involvement in it, seemed a bit unlikely too - after all, he's a desert guide, not a policeman.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars `This was a different kind of horror.' 8 Dec 2010
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER
Set in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, this novel opens with the discovery of a brutally tortured and murdered young woman whose body has been found on the beach. Detective Osama Ibrahim is assigned this case. Can the case be solved? So many murders of women are unsolvable in a city where the veils guarantee anonymity. And if this proves to be another murdered housemaid, then finding the culprit is likely to be impossible.
Women in Saudi Arabia are expected to live quiet lives within the boundaries of Islamic law and tradition. Yet there are some women, such as Katya who works in the medical examiner's office, who are determined to be more independent. Katya is convinced that the victim can be identified, and her killer identified and found. With the help of her friend Nayir, Katya discovers that the dead girl was a young woman named Leila.
Meanwhile, Miriam Walker (an American woman) has just returned to Jeddah after a holiday in the USA. Her husband Eric has a job in Jeddah and she is becoming concerned that he may wish to stay in Saudi Arabia. Shortly after her return, Eric vanishes. While trying to find out what has happened to Eric, Miriam discovers how difficult it is for a woman without male relatives to exist in this conservative Islamic city.

Katya's search for Leila's murderer and Miriam's search for her husband intersect, and solving the two mysteries makes for an interesting read. The story is told from the perspectives of a number of different characters and this provides different insights into the cultural aspects of life in Jeddah. In some ways, this was more intriguing than the crime-solving. The setting and the characters make this story interesting.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story, brilliantly written !
I was introduced to Zoe Ferraris recently and I am really glad I was. Knowing a little about the Middle East I have an interest in the position of women in these regimes and to... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Esther J. Richards
4.0 out of 5 stars another great Zoe Ferraris read
This is the third book that I've read by Zoe Ferraris and have not been disappointed.
The view into life in Saudi through the eyes of a woman is excellently portrayed with a... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. R. King
4.0 out of 5 stars Author manages to lift the veil from Arab women at least during the...
"City of Veils" by ZoŽ Ferraris is author's second novel in the series after "Finding Nouf" novel that introduced reader to Saudi Arabia setting and two main... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Denis Vukosav
5.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting Info about Life in Saudi Arabia
Loved this book apart from the story really enjoyed all the facts about the life lived in Saudi. a really enjoyable and interesting read.
Published 6 months ago by Susan Richmond
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I can't say any more than i did for my review for the first book. Zoe Ferraris is amazing, the book is fascinating!
Published 8 months ago by Elsbeth
4.0 out of 5 stars One of my Book Group's favourites
'City of Veils' was one of my Book Group's favourite books, out of three years' worth of reading. We found it to be an easy read, with compelling setting. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Stumptown
3.0 out of 5 stars long drawn out and choppy story.It jumps around from one thing to...
rated 3 star because that is my opinion, feel it was badly edited.
Very boring. It was a recommendation to me but I will not recommend.
Published 11 months ago by jacqui ganesh
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read.
This was a book group choice. It is well written with interesting characters and good pace. Would recommend this book.
Published 11 months ago by Wenmarking
3.0 out of 5 stars Setting more interesting than plot
The mystery plot of this is just okay, too many coincidences and a very clunky device at the end to resolve the murder mystery. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Damo Green
4.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of thriller
The main feature, and the most interesting part of these books, is not the plotting and the twists, indeed the plot of this book is flagged a bit too early, but the oppressive... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Adam Dare
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