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City of Veils    by Zoe Ferraris order for
City of Veils
by Zoe Ferraris
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

City of Veils follows Finding Nouf as the second in a new mystery series by ZoŽ Ferraris, set in Saudi Arabia and starring desert guide Nayir Sharqi and forensic scientist Katya Hijazi. Though the traditional Nayir has long been attracted to Katya, he struggles with his feelings for her and has not spoken to her for eight months. This new mystery will bring them together again and force him to carefully examine his heart and motivations.

The mystery opens on the mutilated, badly burned body of a woman found on a beach by an old fisherman. Detective Inspector Osama Ibrahim leads the investigation, and hopes that she's not another abused housemaid. Katya ends up working with Osama on the case and makes the key discovery that the woman had been wearing a Bluetooth burqa, a tool for its owner to communicate with strangers. This leads to the identification of the victim as Leila Nawar, and a connection to controversial old Quranic texts.

We meet American Miriam Walker, reluctantly returning to Jeddah to rejoin her husband Eric Walker after a month's break in the United States. Eric works as an executive protection specialist. On arrival in Jeddah, Eric is late meeting Miriam's flight, and disappears entirely soon after they return to their apartment. A distraught Miriam contacts her husband's friends, the company that employs him, and the U.S. embassy, with no success.

How does this all come together? Read City of Veils to find out. There's a kidnapping, and an exciting desert rescue in the face of a sandstorm before it is resolved, the truth uncovered, and the villain delivered to summary justice. This is an unusual police procedural series in a fascinating context, not to be missed by mystery fans.

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