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 otherThis 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 to her.
Ferraris did live in Saudi Arabia, being married to a Saudi-Palestinian bedouin, and is therefore well placed to give an insight into the life, customs and attitudes of everyday Saudis, especially women. She describes a society I find incredibly similar to our (Western) world, yet in other ways so alien it might as well be on the moon.
I would have liked to hear a bit more about Katya's and Nayir's story, the central characters from the first book, and see their relationship develop. Develop it did, but more or less off-screen, which is why I liked this just a little less than the previous two. I do hope there will be another book in this series soon!...more
Celebrated English theater actress Laurel Nicolson returns home to the family farm Greenacres to reunite with her three sisters and brother as her motCelebrated English theater actress Laurel Nicolson returns home to the family farm Greenacres to reunite with her three sisters and brother as her mother lies dying in hospital. Now past the age of 90, Dorothy has grown up in an entirely different world and lived through the blitz, yet her adult children know her only as Ma. Only Laurel remembers an incident she witnessed as a teenager that would suggest Dorothy's past is not as straightforward as everyone had thought. Laurel sets out to make sense of what she saw 50 years ago and piece together her mother's life during the war years in London.
I can understand that some readers might find this a bit slow, some parts rather drawn out and, perhaps, the ending a little too neat. Still, I enjoyed this story from beginning to end. I found myself completely immersed in both storylines, past and present, and I couldn't wait to find out how it would fit together in the end. I will say that I guessed part of the conclusion early on, but it wasn't a drawback for me; this one is very much about the journey, not the destination. ...more
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 ear4.5 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, I enjoyed every page of this multi-layered suspenseful mystery. There were many twists and turns as the story unfolded and I was kept guessing until the very end. The main enjoyment for me came once again from the insight into the way of life in Saudi Arabia, which sometimes seems to be from another planet altogether. Who's ever heard of things like religious police? Fatwa-online.com? Bluetooth burqas? Did you know it is immoral to walk one's dog in public? Ferraris provides a fascinating, and, I believe, balanced portrait of a society of many contradictions, and it makes for an intriguing read. I can't wait for the next installment! ...more
I have really mixed emotions about this book. First of all, I love Lisa Genova's books, I love how she writes, how she keeps it real, how she3.5 stars
I have really mixed emotions about this book. First of all, I love Lisa Genova's books, I love how she writes, how she keeps it real, how she makes you feel that "this could happen to me". Still Alice is one of my all-time top 10 books.
Like her previous books, this one grabbed me from the first page. It's the story of two women living on Nantucket; Olivia is trying to make sense of the death, and life, of her autistic son Anthony, and mother-of-three Beth is searching for herself after she discovers her husband is having an affair. Anthony's life, and life of a parent living with a child with autism, is slowly emerging through Olivia's journals and, increasingly, through Beth writing a novel about an autistic boy, after she rediscovers her passion for writing. Both Olivia and Beth have a lot of questions, most of all "why?". Why did my son have autism, why was he here, why did he have to die; why did my husband cheat on me, what does my life mean, who am I really?
Some elements were incredibly fascinating, the writing was vivid and captivating and the parts about Anthony's life were truly enlightening. Some bits, however, seem to be pure chick lit - such as Olivia overly quick transformation into a professional photographer, or Beth's merry band of girlfriends. I would have liked this to be a bit more about autism and a bit less about Beth's marriage. My biggest problem though was how Beth, who had seen Anthony only once briefly, was writing her book.
*Mild spoiler* It was immediately obvious that Beth was writing Anthony's story, in his own words. While that was a great way to give a voice to Anthony, who could never speak, and tell the story inside out from his viewpoint, this required some sort of mystical or spiritual connection (which was never explained) as she was somehow channelling Anthony's spirit while writing. I was not prepared to suspend my disbelief to that extend. Other readers might be prepared to make that leap of faith, but it didn't work for me in this context. *End of spoiler*
However, all my complaints aside, once I got to the last page, I was in tears. This was a quick and easy read, enjoyable for the most part, but not quite what I wanted it to be. ...more
Fabulous and great fun! I really liked the unconventional structure of this mystery/detective story, with several seemingly unrelated cases laid out sFabulous and great fun! I really liked the unconventional structure of this mystery/detective story, with several seemingly unrelated cases laid out separately and occasionally being drawn together by private detective Jackson Brodie. The writing is excellent, very clever and very entertaining. The ending was a little to perfect and happy for my liking, but I'm very much looking forward to the next Jackson Brodie book....more
American art dealer Mischa discovers, just prior to his mother's death, that she is in posession of an unrecorded Titian. To discover it's provenance,American art dealer Mischa discovers, just prior to his mother's death, that she is in posession of an unrecorded Titian. To discover it's provenance, he has to go back to the French village of his childhood, where he and his mother were barely tolerated because he is the son of a German officer, born during the occupation of WWII. He confronts his past and old ghosts, and finds out the truth about his family.
A large part of this book takes place in post-war France, and I enjoyed that aspect of the story. I did want to find out the story of Annouk and the painting, but in the end, when Mischa returned to France, there were just far too many coincidences for it to be credible. There was also far too much sex, as Mischa seemed to fall into bed with pretty much anything in a skirt he came across, and none exept one encounter had anything to do with the story.
It was ok, a quick and easy read, but could have been much better....more