Kingdom of Strangers
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Kingdom of Strangers (Nayir Sharqi & Katya Hijazi #3)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  1,049 ratings  ·  246 reviews
A secret grave is unearthed in the desert revealing the bodies of 19 women and the shocking truth that a serial killer has been operating undetected in Jeddah for more than a decade.

However, lead inspector Ibrahim Zahrani is distracted by a mystery closer to home. His mistress has suddenly disappeared, but he cannot report her missing since adultery is punishable by death....more
ebook, 368 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company (first published June 1st 2012)
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Kingdom of Strangers is the final chapter in the intricate and exotic story of Nayir Sharqi & Katya Hijazi. Is it the final chapter? I don't know. Ferraris is currently exploring other topics aside from the Saudi peninsula. In all honesty, should Ferraris choose to she could extend this series indefinitely, as far as I'm concerned. What do I find so intriguing about these books?

There is something unique about this author's writing, especially in the area of Point of View. It is s...more
Kingdom of Strangers is the third crime novel in a series set in Jedda, Saudi Arabia. Some of the characters from the first two novels make appearances, but the novel could probably be read on its own. (That said, the novel is much more enjoyable when you know the history)

By now it is clear who is the undisputed hero of these novels: Katia, a female forensic scientist, working for the police, mostly stuck in a lab, but keen to have a more active role in the investigations. (The first novel centr...more
I think that Zoe Ferraris is my new favorite mystery author. 50 or so pages into KOS, and it's like getting back together with old friends I have not seen for a while. These books for me are less about the mystery, and more about the characters lives in Saudi Arabia. I really want to go to Saudi Arabia someday, but only if I could spend a couple of weeks or so out in the empty areas. Finished. She is a great author.
Lisa Beaulieu
Utterly fascinating! We get a glimpse into Saudi life and culture, a society that has two sets of everything to keep women and men separated. Separate work areas, separate restaurants, even separate shopping malls. Early in the book, there is a description of what it is like to walk in dim light in a burqa - I was hooked from that point on. Things I never considered. Also, Ferraris educated me about the issue of foreign workers, esp Asian and Fillipino women, in Saudi Arabia. It's quite horrifyi...more
P.d.r. Lindsay
Now this was a novel which made me sit up and say ‘Wow ’ It is a novel women should read if only for the purely educational reason of understanding what living in a Moslem country, Saudi Arabia, is like. There is more to the book than that, but it is a slap in the face to those of us females who fought for equal rights. How do these Saudi women stand their treatment?

‘Kingdom of Strangers’ is the third novel in a series of crime novels set in Jedda, Saudi Arabia. The first two are ‘The Night of...more
Kingdom of Strangers is the third in a mystery series by Zoe Ferraris that takes place in Saudi Arabia. This is my choice for Saudi Arabia in the Around the World challenge on Goodreads. It's also the best of the series at this point. I was intrigued by the first book, Finding Nouf , because it brought us into the world of the Bedouins. The second switched the primary viewpoint to Katya Hijazi who I find more complex and sympathetic than Nayir, the main protagonist of Finding Nouf , but I otherw...more
This offbeat mystery set in Saudi Arabia was fascinating. The two detectives, one of whom is a woman assigned to the police lab, are trying to find a serial killer who has murdered 19 Asian housemaids.
While the mystery itself is intriguing, the main attraction of the novel is a depiction of the absurdity of daily life in Saudi Arabia, where men and women are segregated to a ridiculous extent, e.g., separate morgues for men and women.
Strict application of the "Virtue Laws," whereby adultery is...more
This is the third of Zoe Ferraris' murder mysteries set in Saudi Arabia, the first two being The Night of the Mi'raj and City of Veils. Like the others, this one drew me in immediately and was a page-turner from beginning to end.

During an investigation into a serial killer, Inspector Ibrahim Zahrani's mistress goes missing, something he cannot report - as a married man he'd possibly face the death penalty. He turns to his colleague, forensic pathologist Katya Hijazi, to find out what happened t...more
Kasa Cotugno
Zoe Ferraris said at a booksigning that when she started writing her crime series set in Saudi Arabia, she would only write three books. That was all she felt she could mine out of the material, that she could say all that needed to be conveyed about life in that country so baffling to outsiders. Granted that each book can stand on its own although reading them in order gives a full picture not possible to form if only one or two are read. But what she has done is provide that totally immersive...more
A well done, layered novel that explores Saudi culture through an investigation of a serial killing. The narration is largely through the eyes of 2 characters, although there are moments narrated by other key characters.

The key plot of the novel is about the pursuit of a serial killer by Detective Ibrahim Zahrani and a female lab worker Katya Hijazi. The details of the killings, and the investigation are well thought out and intriguing. The additional twist of the male/female interaction and re...more
This is the newest book in a contemporary mystery/crime series set in Saudi Arabia. It’s perhaps the weakest of the three, but it’s still a good read. It describes a rigid, repressive society where men and women are obsessively segregated, which poses obvious problems for those trying to solve crimes.

The title is a reference to Saudi Arabia’s large population of poor immigrants, many of whom work as servants, are ill-protected by the law, and are vulnerable to exploitation. The mystery plot invo...more
I found the ending somewhat abrupt but still love this series with its unique setting.
Another great insight into life in Saudi Arabia.

As in her previous novels, the who-done-it aspect of this book is secondary to the taste of Saudi that it offers. The author expertly weaves in so many little gems of information about how this enclosed society operates, particularly with a view to its women. These are illustrated around the resulting impossibility of conducting a crime investigation where men and women cannot directly communicate without the permission of a male family member. Our...more
The bodies of nineteen women are found in the desert and, in spite of their desire to deny that such a thing can happen in Saudi Arabia, the police have no choice to concluded that a serial killer has been killing young women in Jeddah for more than a decade. Lead detective Ibrahim Zahrani is distracted from the investigation because his mistress Sabria has disappeared. Although forensics technician Katya Hijazi is involved in the investigation because the bodies are female, she is kept very muc...more
Robin Webster
A number of women’s bodies are found buried in the desert outside Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and it becomes apparent to the police that a serial killer has been operating in the area undetected for years. Although it is essentially a crime novel, much of the interest regarding this book involves the complex lives of the two main characters. There is Ibrahim Zahrani, a detective in charge of the investigation whose lover has also gone missing, but he is unable to say anything to the authorities as ad...more
Lauren Smith
Kingdom of Strangers is the third in a series of mystery novels set in Saudi Arabia, but it reads very well as a stand-alone. I thought it was great, although not because of the two mysteries contained in the plot. These are good, but not as brilliant as some. The real drawcard is the myriad ways in which the extreme social restrictions of Saudi society affect police investigations, as well as people’s personal and professional lives. It’s a place where modern conveniences are juxtaposed with ar...more
The third and final book (so far) set in Saudi Arabia. There is a serial killer in Saudi Arabia, who is killing immigrant workers. An American profiler is brought into the investigation, after nineteen bodies are discovered in a mass grave. Katya using her forensic skills and keen eye for detective work seeks to find out the truth, as well as battling sexism and being a second class citizen in her own country.

There are a great deal of interesting things going on in the book. The unhappily marrie...more
Kingdom of Strangers by Zoe Ferraris is an intricate, up to date mystery. The novel's setting is Saudi Arabia. The mystery is about nineteen murders perpetrated by one person. This serial murderer plans a woman's death like a woman would plan what her baby should wear on a cold winter's day. The nineteen women are not Saudis. Neither are these women rich and well known. They are what I might call the Blue Collar workers here in America. These particular women have worked in the homes of other pe...more
I lived in Saudi Arabia for 5 years and taught I. An international school. My husband worked for an oil company. We did not live on a compound and this allowed us to meet many people from all over the world, and have Saudi friends. We lived in Yanbu, mentioned in the book, and went to Jeddah often.
I found the author's portrayal of life in Saudi to be very accurate. Women do live lives that are only as happy or miserable as their fathers, husbands, sons decide they should be.
I do not think there...more
Another excellent book by this talented author. She manages both to tell a good story with interesting, well-developed characters, and to give a vivid portrait of the claustrophobia, paranoia and hypocrisy of life in the Saudi theocratic society. It is a society where nobody is safe, especially not women, especially not foreign women.

The roles of men and women are so restricted and so enforced that nothing is simple. Katya, the ambitious forensic technician, has the most difficult challenges on...more
An enjoyable entertaining read. A bit tv serial murder, mystery so not to be taken as a true and accurate reflection on Saudi life. Yes, some of what is portrayed in the novel is pretty realistic but there are some serious errors and inconstistencies regarding what is and is not socially and morally acceptable for women and their role in society and the work place.

The author only lived for 9 months in Saudi and divorced her husband.. Therefore, she only had minimal time living and experiencing t...more
This is a fascinating series, a look under the burqa of what life is like in Saudi Arabia for women. In this case, a female detective in a quintessentially male world. (Be very glad this is not where you live your life...) Katya is becoming a fully realized character, able to maneuver as a homicide investigator. My one complaint is that the constant descriptions of how constrained the world of women is in this culture detracts a bit from the ongoing investigations into tracking a serial killer p...more
Zoë Ferraris Krimi könnte mit seinem klischeehaften Buchcover und dem irreführenden deutschen Titel falsche Erwartungen wecken, handelt das Buch doch von der Suche nach einem Serienmörder im Saudi-Arabien der Gegenwart. Von dem Fall, den Polizeiinspektor Ibrahim Zahrani und sein Team zu lösen haben, war ich trotz des sonderbaren ersten Eindrucks schnell gefesselt.

Südlich von Dschidda werden in der Wüste insgesamt 19 Frauenleichen gefunden. Die Getöteten sind junge Fremdarbeiterinnen aus Asien, w...more
R.J. Lynch
I spend a lot of time in Jeddah, and have done so for many years. My friends and acquaintances there are Arabs--I have never mixed with the expatriate community. This book says a great deal about what it means to live in Saudi Arabia and it is particularly strong in the anger that is always just below the surface (and sometimes breaks through) about what it means to be a woman there, and how women are treated, and the way Islam is used to justify what cannot be justified. It is particularly stro...more

This is the third book by this author. Like her other books, this is a crime story in Saudi Arabia involving a female lab technician/detective. What makes this series is the duel plots of crime solving and the main characters struggling with the religious restrictions involving women. Wonderful mystery series with added depth of a female character in a strongly Muslim country. Sad that I may have to wait a couple more years until the author's next book.

Simply captivating, brilliant and exciting. I love the way the author wrote about the Arabian cultures, about Muslim world.

The way the crime resolved is interesting, the way the serial killer works his masterpiece. Disturbing, but brilliant.

I love how the author wrote from few character’s point of view, jumping from Katya, Nayir and Ibrahim. It gave me different perspectives at each chapter and that makes it interesting.

I love Katya, I think she represents a very strong, independent and bold...more
I always enjoy reading a book by Zoe Ferraris. Kingdom of Strangers is her best yet. I'm fascinated with the Saudi culture and I think Ms. Ferraris does a great job of educating us. I do suggest that you read these books in order start with Finding Nouf, City of Veils and then Kingdom of Strangers.
Awesome third book to this amazing mystery series. I couldn't put it down. Ferraris does it again--I love her unique angle of: a)having a strong female as her primary "investigator" and b)setting this series in SAUDI ARABIA of all places. So awesome--can't wait for the next one.
Interesting detective novel-apparently a series featuring a female forensic tech who wants to be a detective and usually ends up solving the cases the male detectives have!! Set in Jeddad.SA so all kinds of cultural and religious issues involving women heavily influence all facets of life and police work. For example-women do not generally ride in taxis-fake cab driver was serial killer; and main character-forensic tech is afraid fiancé not be accepting of her being a female detective and carryi...more
Chris Ellis
One the best reads so far this year. I will definitely be looking up and reading her previous two books. Well plotted well written, and completely new, at least to me.

This is essentially a police procedural set around a newly discovered serial killer. What makes it a great read is that it is set in Saudi Arabia, with all of the cultural differences that are part of that society - the role of women (not in the work place, to be sure) the role of foreigners (doing all the jobs Saudi will not) the...more
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Zoë Ferraris moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the first Gulf War. She lived in a conservative Muslim community with her then-husband and his family, a group of Saudi-Palestinians.

In 2006, she completed her MFA in Fiction at Columbia University. Her debut novel, Finding Nouf (published as Night of the Mi'raj in the UK) is now being published in thirty countries. A follow-up novel,...more
More about Zoë Ferraris...
Finding Nouf (Nayir Sharqi & Katya Hijazi #1) City of Veils (Nayir Sharqi & Katya Hijazi #2) Retro Vol. 1 No. 3

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