"He was just about to speak again when the door opened behind them, and a woman entered the room. There would, of course, be female examiners to handle the female corpses, but seeing one in the flesh was a shock. She wore a white lab coat and a hijab, a black scarf on her hair. Because her face was exposed, he averted his gaze, blushing as he did so."
"The Night of the Mi'raj" is both a crime novel and an intriguing look at Islamic culture. It succeeds best at the latter. The strength of the novel lies in the two main characters and the way they interact - Nayir's traditional ideas constantly clash with Katya's progressive mindset. It certainly adds to the mystery layer of the book, which is an okay detective story, but not really that inventive or clever. Will this kind of ethnological crime fiction be the next big thing after historical crime fiction and Dan Brown-like thrillers? I certainly wouldn't mind.
Author: Zoë Ferraris
Title: The Night of the Mi'ra (aka "Finding Nouf")
Publisher: Abacus, London
Year: 2009 (orig. 2008)
Number of pages: 360 p.