About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris

3. – 562.) Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris – Sex and murder in contemporary Saudi Arabia. Sixteen year old Nouf ash-Shrawi is missing from the family island. Her brother, Othman, calls on his friend, Nayir ash-Sharqi, to assist in the search. Othman, when Nouf is found dead, asks Nayir to find out what happened. Her traditional Saudi family cannot understand what has happened. Aiding in the search is Katya Hijazi, a lab technician in the coroner’s office. The devout Nayir is deeply troubled about working with a woman. His senses of modesty and appropriate place are unsettled. Their investigation is a mixture of the old (tracking footprints) and the new (chemical analysis). A Bedouin tracker is an expert in determining information not just movement from examining human footprints. Katya has been trained to operate the most modern laboratory equipment. There is one of the best descriptions of wind since the opening lines of Who Has Seen the Wind. The investigation is hampered by the strict rules on women in Saudi Arabia. They are not to be with men who are neither spouse nor family nor escort. The hajib is to be up at all times only exposing the eyes. Katya, as a working woman and a woman free with her opinions, is a difficult partner for Nayir. His comfortable acceptance of a woman’s limited role is challenged by Katya. He is more open to change than he had realized when he first met Katya. It is a wonderful story. It is made special by the use of its setting. While the basic themes are universal Ferraris superbly incorporates the land, people and culture of Saudi Arabia into the mystery. It is a thoughtful mystery. (Nayir strongly reminds me of Travis McGee from the John Mcdonald mysteries. He is a big, rough hewn single man living on a boat with no real occupation.) I look forward to the next in the series. Hardcover or paperback. (Jan. 13/11)

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