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90. City of Veils by Zoe Ferraris...

August 6, 2010
city of veils
Title: City of Veils
Author: Zoe Ferraris
ISBN-13: 9780316074278
ARC: 389 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

FTC Disclosure: My copy of City of Veils was provided by the publisher for this review. I am an affiliate at IndieBound, The Book Depository, and Amazon, and any purchases made by clicking on the cover or the links provided may result in monetary compensation.

drey's thoughts:
Zoe Ferraris' City of Veils is a simple enough whodunnit--there's the victim, the victim's family and friends, and the investigators. What makes this more than just another whodunnit is its setting--in the Saudi city of Jeddah. Where women's movement and activities are limited, the police investigator's first thought is that the battered body found on the beach belongs to a housemaid--they're numerous, often abused, and without much recourse.

Then they find out that the victim--Leila--is outspoken, rebellious, and an aspiring film-maker who's been filming the not-so-pretty side of life in Jeddah. In a world where women can't do anything without a man (& not just any man, but a relative), part of the appeal of City of Veils was the figuring out of how Leila managed to maneuver herself into the situations she filmed--and whether her filming had anything to do with her death.

One of the other players in this story is Miriam, whose bodyguard-for-hire husband goes missing just as she returns from a visit home to America. The pages describing her experience at the airport (a room in the airport for Unclaimed Women!) really punctuate how different their world is from the West. And the description of Miriam's attempt to move while wearing the burka highlights how restrictive the simple day-to-day stuff is for someone who's used to much more freedom--not just in dress and verbal expression, but also in movement.

Tying Leila's death and Miriam's story together is the investigative "team"--the detective, Osama Ibrahim; the coroner's assistant, Katya Hijazi; and her friend, Nayir Sharqi. In the course of this story, Nayir's strict views on the edicts of Islam is tempered by his exposure to Osama's more balanced interpretation, and he realizes that when so much is expected of women, men must step up too.

Religion, murder, and mayhem combine into an engrossing mystery in City of Veils.

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Challenges: 100+, Pub


bermudaonion said...

I love a good mystery and the setting of this one sounds like an added bonus!

holdenj said...

This looks good, thanks for the nice review about it. I recognize a couple of the names from Finding Nouf, which I really liked.

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