City of Veils
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City of Veils (Nayir Sharqi & Katya Hijazi #2)

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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  1,983 ratings  ·  421 reviews
When the body of a brutally beaten woman is found on the beach in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Detective Osama Ibrahim dreads investigating another unsolvable murder—chillingly common in a city where the veils of conservative Islam keep women as anonymous in life as the victim is in death.

But Katya, one of the few females in the coroner's office, is determined to identify the wo...more
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Published August 9th 2010 by Tantor Media (first published January 1st 2010)
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Harry
Book Review:

The saga of Katya and Nayir continues in this, the second in this Ferraris series.

Elsewhere here on GR I have been embroiled in commentary regarding the nature of protests: political, economical, etc. And as I was responding in that particular thread my mind kept returning to perhaps the only form of protest not mentioned: the fictional author mounting a protest. In particular it kept returning to my latest read in a mystery series quite unlike any other.

City of Veils is assuredly a...more
Jill
There have been many literary mysteries written and many books about the plight of women in repressive Saudi Arabia, but I have never read an author who is able to so seamlessly weave these threads together to create a potboiler thriller that sizzles with knowledge.

Set in Jeddah – seemingly one of the more liberal cities of Saudi Arabia – the core of the story focuses on a burqa-clad and tortured body of a young woman on a beach. Three stories are interwoven: a whodunit story of how she got ther...more
Giovanni Gelati
This novel is an eye opener. I am the proud father of seven girls (we also have a son) and must say that the way in which women are treated in the Middle East have always stunned me. City of Veils gave me a new perspective on the whole thing. Zoe Ferraris has a unique viewpoint being both a woman and having lived in the Middle East, experiencing it first-hand. Her previous novel, Finding Nouf, was a Los Angeles Times Prize Winner.
Here is the summary of the novel; When the body of a brutally beat...more
Sanaa
This book I thought was brilliant.
Crime, religion, culture and mystery all in one. FAB!!!!
I don't like to make a review and basically tell what the whole story was about because then those who haven't read it know too much but the way the characters within the book are portrayed and portrayed with such realism I thought made this story all the more soo real. Each of the main characters intrigued me in their own way and I could relate to them all in way or another. As a Muslim woman I think I r...more
Jeanette
Life for women in Saudi Arabia =

Burqa required
Brain optional
BYOB(Bring Your Own Brother/Bodyguard/Bedouin) any time you set foot outside your home.

I thought City of Veils, although perhaps overlong, was a much better novel than Finding Nouf. It explores the varying levels of compliance with religious law in what is considered an "open" city, from both a male and female perspective. I found it especially interesting to read how modernization might pose dilemmas for devout men, as we usually tend...more
Tara Chevrestt
This is not typical thriller. You don't race through it, figure out whodunit by page 30, roll your eyes when the heroine predictably bangs some FBI agent or her partner, and forget about it. Instead, this is a very thought evoking and eye opening story. As well as a murder mystery, this book includes an eye opening look at what life is like for women in Saudi Arabia. Some choose to hide behind the veil, some are tired of hiding behind the veil. Some dare to walk out of their homes without a male...more
Blumental
A lot of reviews of this book make us believe that the interesting angle for this crime novel is the fact that it is set in Saudi Arabia, written by a quasi-local and, hence, that the novel offers us an insight into a world we know very little about. Unfortunately, this book fails to do so in quite a disappointing fashion.

In my view City of Veils does very little to shed more light on an intriguing culture and instead re-hashes preconceived, rather superficial notions of the culture of Saudi Ara...more
Evelyn
I zoomed through this in a couple of days. It is a wonderful followup to Ferraris' first book, "Finding Nouf." I am on the fence between a 3 star rating and a 4 star rating. I love the characters. I will certainly read anything else written in this series. It is highly engrossing, but not great literature. It reminds me very much of Faye Kellerman's first books, but set in Saudi Arabia. The two main characters are Muslims struggling with orthodox religion and their growing relationship, while Ke...more
Dee
Wow...I loved this book from the setting to the story, I will definately be seeking this author out in the future. The setting of Saudi Arabia is definately not commonplace in fiction and it was obvious from the writing that the author had either lived in the society or done a significant amount of research because it seemed authentic. I could understand the confusion that Miriam would have felt having come from the US to the Saudi culture. The plot was fast moving, and I didn't figure out who d...more
Denis Vukosav
"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...more
Florence
The body of a murdered young woman is found in Saudi Arabia, beside the sea. Now, the treatment of women in that kingdom is a horrible crime in itself, but I confess to a curiousity of how everyday life is lived hidden behind a veil. This book did not provide much understanding. Burqas up or burqas down? - it was downright confusing. There was a subplot featuring a scientist, inferred to be a criminal, who was trying to prove that the Quran is not the direct word of god. That is a controversy th...more
Miriam
A really well-written and fascinating mystery that also gives insight into the Saudi Arabian culture.
switterbug (Betsey)
Jeddah is an intriguing place to set this crime thriller/social examination of Islamic culture. It is the gateway to Mecca, but also the most cosmopolitan of cities in Saudi Arabia. It lends itself to exploring the conflicts between a more traditional way of thinking and a more progressive outlook. The novel contains men and women on various sides of belief, as well as the American perspective. In Jeddah, laws are more liberal, and lend itself to some ambiguity, such as the wearing of the burqa...more
Sarah
Finding Nouf, the author's first novel, was a 2009 Alex Award winner and a huge favorite of mine (especially since I was on that committee). Why did I wait so long to read City of Veils? I truly believe that Ferraris is one of the best authors writing in the adult fiction realm. She is so readable--hundreds of pages zoom by without the reader realizing it. I want to know her characters and be their friends. Although, honestly, Nayir would have a hard time with me since I'm American and don't kno...more
Diane
I have a problem with plot-driven novels like this one, which is that they keep me too engrossed during the day when I have other things I should be doing, and up too much of the night so I don't get enough sleep and am a zombie the next day. Definitely happened here. That said, if you like compelling plots you'll probably like this book - and if you also enjoy learning about different cultures and ways of life, you'll probably love it! Like her other novel, Finding Nouf, it's a murder mystery s...more
Sabina
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,...more
Julie
I wondered several times during The City of Veils if I could read another Nayir Sharqi mystery after this follow-up to the mesmerizing Finding Nouf. The oppressive Saudi culture and the unforgiving interpretation of Islam that requires subjugating women sets a haunting and desperate tone that is almost unbearable. I wince at the thought of spending more time in the wet, stifling heat of Jeddah and with its suffocated citizens.

Yet, this is a brilliant and irresistible work of literary crime fict...more
David
Nov 02, 2011 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Saudis, ex-pats, veiled women, unveiled women
A detective mystery set in Saudi Arabia. Your first thought might be that there is going to be a lot of exposition about Islam and contrasting radical extremists with "good" Muslims, or disquisitions on the status of women in Islam and how much it sucks to be a Saudi woman. While these topics come up (and yes, it does kind of suck to be a Saudi woman), Zoe Ferraris never gets up on a soapbox and neither do her characters. I was skeptical at first, but the writing is plain, straightforward narrat...more
Eszter Faatima
I hesitated between 2 and 3 stars because it is an entertaining read but also full of pretentious nonsene. The writer is trying hard to describe Saudis, Arabs and Muslims in a surprisingly unconventional way- the bad guy is an atheist, the good guy is a fundamentalist and Islam is nice just misunderstood etc. but she fails in understanding how Muslims feel or think in the framework of their beliefs and religion and towards an authority representing and enforcing one understanding of Islam. She a...more
Jamie
I really enjoyed this second book from Ferraris: another murder mystery set in modern day Saudi Arabia. Perhaps someone suggested that her first book was too sympathetic to Saudi culture, because this one is much harsher. We get the point of view of an American woman who feels trapped and humiliated by the restrictions on women - her husband is late picking her up at the airport so that we can witness the procedure for “unclaimed women”. We see a woman being chastised on the street by the religi...more
Frances
From the moment I opened the cover of this book I was hook. This is a modern murder mystery set in Saudi Arabia, but it is so much more. It is a glimpse into the Muslim world where women are inferior to men and must learn to cope in a society determined to keep them down. But Ferraris also shows the nuances of Saudi Arabia. There are men who are deeply religious, who have internalized the idea that pious women cover themselves completely with burkas, who insist that women exist only to serve men...more
Katie
I read Finding Nouf a while ago and really enjoyed it. For some reason City of Veils has been sitting on my to-read shelf for a long time, so a couple of days ago I opened it and started reading. It isn't often that a book grabs me so much that I haven't done much else until now, when I have just finished it. It reminds me of those days as a youngster when all I could do was read read read. Yes, I managed to put a load of washing on and do a couple of other chores, but mostly I just sat and read...more
June Seghni
I enjoyed this crime novel set in Saudi Arabia. It is interesting to see the country seen both through the eyes of a western woman, Miriam, whose husband is missing, and those of the Saudi investigators .It gives a more well rounded picture than we sometimes get I feel. Likeable characters, especially some of the men, Omar and Nayir, both adjusting to the changes that are happening with regard to women's roles in general,and more personally with the women they love..
Natnat
Kasusnya lebih kompleks dan lebih menarik, tapi tokohnya kebanyakan, dan terlalu besar porsinya sehingga tiak jelas lagi siapa tokoh utama dan siapa tokoh pembantu.

Saya sih tetap lebih suka mengikuti perkembangan hubungan Katya dan Nayir. Hehe...
Ape
Oh wow, I absolutely loved this book. What a story. Even aside from the murder mystery investigation, it is just fascinating to delve into Saudi Arabian life. I think the only books I've read about the place tend to be about the mega rich, so it's nice to read about everyday people trying to muddle through life, under the pressures of what can be a very restrictive culture. I think it's dealt with very well, it feels quite neutral at many points, presenting things as they are but not passing jud...more
Alicen
I really enjoyed this book as it mixed mystery and good character development against the backdrop of Saudi Arabia, which made it an even more interesting story. I especially enjoyed the female Saudi Arabian characters and our bookclub discussion of them. It reminded me a lot of "Eight Months on Ghazzah Street" which I also really enjoyed, and I look forward to reading more from this author.
Laurie
If you are looking to fall into a good murder mystery, pick this one! I could not stop reading this book. All the characters are well developed. Interesting description of Saudi life, and like the first in the series, the ever-present / intense push-pull of modern ideas in conservative Muslim world.
Martin
A seriously incredible book. Sheds more light on what life is like in Saudi Arabia than any number of articles in Time magazine. This is the second in a series, after finishing, I immediately grabbed a copy of the first book by Ferraris, Findin Nouf which I am currently reading.
Melinda
Another fabulous mystery behind the veil in Saudi Arabia. Ms. Ferraris delivers again with a well written mystery with a few twists and turns that keep you guessing until the very end. Ms. Ferraris has a knack for entwining assorted characters and their stories into the plot in such a smooth and meaningful manner.

Ms. Ferraris not only presents a mystery but a cultural lesson as we learn the customs both religious and social in Saudi Arabia.

The two main characters Katya and Nayir evolve in each...more
Chris
It was difficult for me to get into the book because the main point of women are treated badly in Islamic countries really got to me. Hence why took me a really long time to finish. Once I got past the women are treated really badly, this was a really good book. There's the main murder mystery, and most authors are content with delving into who did it and the various parties involved. I liked that the author included the personal lives of each character working on the mystery, and although some...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) Kingdom of Strangers (Nayir Sharqi & Katya Hijazi #3) La Ciudad de los Velos Retro Vol. 1 No. 3

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“And like some part of himself that, two days ago, had thought pray and propriety were antidote enough to what ailed the world.” 5 likes
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