City of Veils by Zoe Ferraris

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Women in Saudi Arabia are expected to lead quiet lives circumscribed by Islamic law and tradition. But Katya, one of the few women in the medical examiner's office, is determined to make her work mean something. When the body of a brutally beaten woman is found on the beach in Jeddah, the city's detectives are ready to dismiss the case as 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. If this is another housemaid killed by her employer, finding the culprit will be all but impossible. Only Katya is convinced that the victim can be identified and her killer found. She calls upon her friend Nayir for help, and soon discovers that the dead girl was a young filmmaker named Leila, whose controversial documentaries earned her many enemies. With only the woman's clandestine footage as a guide, Katya and Nayir must confront the dark side of Jeddah that Leila struggled to expose: an underworld of prostitution, violence, exploitation, and jealously guarded secrets. Along the way, they form an unlikely alliance with an American woman whose husband has disappeared. Their growing search takes them from the city's car-clogged streets to the deadly vastness of the desert beyond. In CITY OF VEILS, award-winning author Zoë Ferraris combines a thrilling, fast-paced mystery with a rare and intimate look into women's lives in the Middle East.

About Zoe Ferraris

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Zoë Ferraris moved to Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the first Gulf War to live with her then husband and his extended family of Saudi-Palestinian Bedouins. She has an MFA from Columbia University and is the author of two previous novels, Finding Nouf and City of Veils. She lives in San Francisco.
Published August 9, 2010 by Little, Brown and Company. 393 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for City of Veils

Book Reporter

Nayir, despite his concerns about Katya's professional ambitions, wants to marry her, and Katya, despite her reservations about Nayir's traditionalism, is drawn to him.

Dec 27 2010 | Read Full Review of City of Veils

The Independent

Walker's wife, Miriam, is one of the novel's most sympathetic characters, meeting one obstacle after another – women are not supposed to go out alone – as she tries to find out what has happened to her husband.

Jun 16 2010 | Read Full Review of City of Veils

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Three stories are interwoven: a whodunit story of how she got there and who perpetrated such violence on her…the story of forensic scientist Katya and her would-be suitor Nayir, a Bedouin guide, who is crippled emotionally by the yokes of his religion…and a vanished American expat Eric Walker, w...

Aug 09 2010 | Read Full Review of City of Veils

The Roanoke Times

Parallel to the hunt for Leila’s murderer is the hunt for a missing American, Eric Walker, a highly regarded security employee of a small U.S. civilian firm located in Jeddah.

Jul 25 2010 | Read Full Review of City of Veils

The Christian Manifesto

With a tight plot, nice action, good suspense, and a sweet touch of romance, City of Veils is an entertaining story, which takes the reader into the heart of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and immerses them into Islamic culture and criminal investigations.

Aug 16 2010 | Read Full Review of City of Veils


Her second book set in Jeddah is as satisfying and well written as The Night of the Mi’raj, Zoe Ferraris’ first crime novel.

May 05 2011 | Read Full Review of City of Veils

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