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

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,724 Ratings  ·  519 Reviews
The burkha-clad body of a young woman is discovered on the grimy sands of Jeddah beach; soon afterwards, a strong-minded American woman finds herself alone and afraid in the most repressive city on earth when her husband suddenly disappears.
Investigating policeman Osama Ibrahim, forensic scientist Katya Hijazi and her friend, the strictly devout Bedouin guide Nayir Sharqi
Kindle Edition, 411 pages
Published August 9th 2010 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2010)
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Aug 02, 2010 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Giovanni Gelati
Jul 26, 2010 Giovanni Gelati rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 12, 2012 Blumental rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mirela Ivancevic
Ova knjiga ima sve što treba imati punokrvni triler. Odličan zaplet , savršenu napetost koja ne prestaje ni na jednoj stranici , jako zanimljive glavne likove koji se bore sa nekim svojim "demonim " . Uz sve to spisateljica nas upoznaje sa jednom kulturom koja je nama "zapadnjacima" uglavnom nepoznata , a koja u čitaocu stvara dodatnu dozu napetosti i intrige . Poglavlja su kratka , čita se u jednom dahu , preporuka svima koji vole dobar krimić / triler.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
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
Dec 25, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie, Carey
There are some books that we do regret when it's finished. This is one of them.

4* City of Veils
TR Finding Nouf
TR Kingdom of Strangers
Dec 04, 2013 Sanaa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 23, 2016 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: around-the-world
This book was read for my 2016 Reading Challenge Around the World in 80 Books

I first discovered Zoë Ferraris when I read around the world in 2013. So I was really excited for this challenge when I saw another book had been released in the Nayir Sharqi & Katya Hijazi saga. A murder mystery and criminal investigation set against the religious extremism and the harsh desert of Saudi Arabia is the perfect combination for a cannot-put-this-down read. City of Veils picks up roughly a year after
Jun 30, 2015 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it!

Another winner from author Zoe Ferraris. City of Veils is a must read if you read her first novel in this series, Finding Nouf. I read Finding Nouf some time ago and enjoyed it so much. I always intended to read this next book in the series. I really don't have any logical excuse for the delay. Maybe I forgot how much I liked these characters. Catching up with Katya and Nayir was like a reunion with old friends.

This is a murder mystery series with a twist. What makes this so inter
Eszter Faatima Sabiq
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
Dec 17, 2015 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Bettie☯
17 DEC 2015 - a recommendation through Bettie. She really does read great books. Many Thanks, Dear Friend.
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
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
Jamie Collins
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
Dec 01, 2010 Evelyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 12, 2010 Dee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Carey Combe
Dec 19, 2010 Carey Combe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie, Henrietta, Trisha
I loved this a great deal more than the first one. Gives a wonderful perspective of what it is like to live in Saudi culture. The mystery was also excellent, had me guessing right up to the end. Excellent stuff.
Mar 01, 2014 Florence rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 07, 2010 Miriam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really well-written and fascinating mystery that also gives insight into the Saudi Arabian culture.
Aug 04, 2015 Susanne rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Wie im ersten Band der Reihe hatte der Kriminalroman schon durch das exotische Setting mein Interesse gewonnen. Die Handlung spielt in Dschidda, einer der großen Städte Saudi-Arabiens. Auch die beiden sympathischen Protagonisten, der Wüstenführer Nayir und die forensische Assistentin Katya sind wieder bei den Ermittlungen dabei. Doch im Vergleich zum ersten Band zeigt "Totenverse" deutliche Schwächen.
Im ersten Band der Serie habe ich viel Interessantes über die saudische Kultur, Mentalität, Reli
Amy Paget
Jun 13, 2015 Amy Paget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When the body of a brutally murdered and severely disfigured woman is found on the beach in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Detective Osama Ibrahim dreads investigating another unsolvable housemaid murder—unpleasantly common in a city where the veils of conservative Islam keep women as anonymous in life as the victim is in death. Digging deeper, however, an ambitious lab-tech named Katya discovers that the body is not that of a disobedient servant, but Leila Nawar, a rebellious young filmmaker who has mad ...more
Dec 05, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is the second in a series featuring Bedouin desert guide Nayir Sharqi and forensic investigator Katya Hijazi, set in Saudi Arabia. In this book, they both become involved in the case of a woman whose body is found washed up on the beach, horribly burned and with multiple stab wounds. Later, the case leads to the disappearance of an American bodyguard, but it is well into the book before his link to the dead woman is revealed.

Zoe Ferraris does a wonderful job of depicting the complexities of
Jan 14, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 08, 2011 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 24, 2012 Sabina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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,
Sep 29, 2012 Booknblues rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
City of Veils
by Zoe Ferraris
4 stars
pp. 400

I was so impressed with Zoe Ferraris’ first book Finding Nouf that I looked forward to reading her second of the series City of Veils. I wondered if it would fulfill the promise of the first, if the budding and strained romance of Katya and Nayir would continue and if she would continue to explore the culture of Saudi Arabia, while helping the Western reader to understand it. Ms Ferraris has done all that and more by providing us with an interesting and
Nov 02, 2011 David rated it really liked it  ·  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
Sep 08, 2010 Frances rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 about Zoë Ferraris...

Other Books in the Series

Nayir Sharqi & Katya Hijazi (3 books)
  • Finding Nouf (Nayir Sharqi & Katya Hijazi #1)
  • Kingdom of Strangers (Nayir Sharqi & Katya Hijazi #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
“I'm sorry about what I said about the police," she said. "I know your friend works for them."

"You have reason," he said. "You don't know what they'll do, and when they become known for doing crazy things, you have no reason to trust them. That's their fault, not yours.”
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