Burqas, sand dunes, camels, the Quran. Harley-Davidsons, lingerie stores, Bluetooth, birth control pills. I would not have expected all of these incongruous things in one book, but they are all in City of Veils. It seems that the city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, while being an ancient city (500 B.C.) and the gateway to Mecca, is very large and quite modern. I learned a lot about this area of the world just by reading this work of fiction. It was fascinating.
City of Veils is a murder mystery. A filmmaker by the name of Leila is found dead on the beach and no one knows how she got there. Detective Osama Ibrahim is called to the scene to investigate. As he looks into the evidence, it appears this will be another murder that will go unsolved.
Until Katya becomes involved. Katya is one of a few females who work in the coroner's office. And when she and her friend Nayir begin to dig a little deeper, they find that this is no common murder of a housemaid but a crime of passion by one who wants to stop Leila from trying to blackmail him. Also part of the story is the involvement of Americans and a romance that is threatened by the culture in which the lovers must live.
This book was a refreshingly different one than I am used to reading. I usually don't pick up books about other countries or cultures. I'm not sure why, but I'd rather read the ones that have their setting in the United States (unless they are set during WWII). So this was a stretch for me. And I'm glad I read it. I really liked learning more about Middle Eastern culture and getting a feel for how men and women interact in that part of the world. Plus, the mystery itself was written very well. I'm going to look for Ms. Ferraris' first book, Finding Nouf, which was referred to in City of Veils. I'm sure it will be just as good as this one was.
The "f word" is used about a dozen times in this book. Therefore, I give it 4 1/2 stars (out of 5). Otherwise, a great read!