Doves Necklace: A Novel

Alem Raja


When the body of a young woman is discovered in the Lane of Many Heads, an alley in modern-day Mecca, no one will claim it, as they are ashamed of her nakedness. As Detective Nasser pursues his investigation of the case, seemingly all of Mecca chimes in—including the Lane of Many Heads itself—in this “surreal, meditative take on a murder mystery” (The Guardian, Best Books of Summer).

Nasser initially suspects that the dead woman is Aisha, one of the residents of the area, and searches her emails for clues. The world she paints embraces everything from crime and religious extremism to the exploitation of foreign workers by a mafia of building contractors, who are destroying the historic areas of the city. Another view reveals the city through the eyes of Yusuf, Aisha’s neighbor, increasingly frustrated by the accelerating pace of change.

As gripping as classic noir, nuanced as a Nabokov novel, and labyrinthine as the alleys of Mecca itself, this brilliant fever dream of a novel masterfully reveals a city and a civilization in all its contradictions, at once beholden to brutal customs and uneasily coming to terms with new traditions.

Price £12.99
Format Paperback / softback
Publication Date 28 May 2019
Pages 480
Height 203mm
Width 137mm
ISBN-13 9781468316223