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City Of Veils Paperback – 3 Jun 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 379 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (3 Jun. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408701731
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408701737
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 555,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


** 'Good to find competition from an unexpected quarter to Henning Mankell and Steig Larsson. The plot is thrilling, characters well drawn . . . extraordinary. Highly recommended (GUARDIAN)

** 'Nuanced , Gripping, engrossing - more than lives up to the promise of her magnificent debut, The Night of the Mi'raj (SUNDAY TIMES)

** 'Zoe Ferraris's confident debut The Night of the Mi'raj, is followed by an even more impressive performance in City of Veils. She expertly weaves an excellent whodunit into an engrossing portrait of a vibrant society, full of sexual, religious, political and moral contradictions (THE TIMES)

** 'It's a double whammy: a riveting portrait of an extraordinary society and a satisfying police procedural to boot (DAILY MAIL)

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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 July 2010
Format: Paperback
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 Zoë 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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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Suzie on 21 July 2010
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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Format: Audio CD
"City of Veils" by Zoë Ferraris is author's second novel in the series after "Finding Nouf" novel that introduced reader to Saudi Arabia setting and two main characters, forensic scientist Katya and her would-be suitor Nayir.

The story starts when body of a brutally killed unidentified woman is found in Jeddah, a case that will be almost impossible to solve in this part of world where women are carrying veils making them anonymous.
But Katya, who is forensic scientist who work at medical examiner office thinks opposite, she is sure that killer can be found and unfortunate woman identified.
Due to that reason, she will call her friend Nayir to help you in investigation and they two will find out that the killed woman is actually girl named Leila who worked as maker of documentaries why she wasn't popular in traditional Muslim circles and due to that she acquired herself a lot of enemies.

The story of missing American expat Eric, who is searched for by his wife Miriam is interwoven in novel, one unfortunate event that will also show the face of Arab society especially to women who are strangers.
Having only Leila's footage to help them find a murderer, while their investigation is moving, they will increasingly be drawn into the circle of prostitution, violence and woman exploitation; they will form unusual alliance with Miriam and finally if they don't give up in fear for their lives, that all could maybe lead them to the killer...

Although at first glance this novel is just another who-dunnit thriller, it's really about oppression against women in Saudi Arabia, and author through her gripping tale succeeds to disintegrate this motif into tiny details giving fairly clear picture of Arab society.
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