Date With a Sheesha: A Russell Quant Mystery #7
2010 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Mystery/Thriller
2011 American Library Association GLBT Round Table Over The Rainbow Top Mystery
McNally Robinson Saskatoon #1 Fiction Bestseller for 2010
ISBN 13: 978-1-897178-90-4
Neil Gupta travelled to the Middle East to buy carpets. Instead, in a dim corner of an exotic spice market, his lifeless body is found wrapped up in one.
From the glitzy, flamboyant, mega-high rises of Dubai, to the frankincense fields of Oman and scorching sand dunes of Saudi Arabia, PI Russell Quant is on one heckuva magical carpet ride; one that skids to a deadly halt on the frozen surface of a Saskatchewan pond.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Russell prepares to face the killing heat, choking sand storms, and pungent, dead-black nights of Arabia. Attempting to find out why Neil Gupta was killed, Quant embarks upon a perilous journey that pits him against a deceitful Bedouin sheikh, shifty souk merchants, a snooty museum curator, quirky antique carpet enthusiasts, and an underground club for “fabulous men”.
As Russell’s spicy foreign adventure heats up, he learns valuable lessons about love, life, and learning to seize the moment…before it all disappears like smoke from a genie’s lamp. On the verge of solving his sizzling mystery, Russell finds himself making the biggest personal decision of his life, and discovering that sometimes, bitter endings pave the way for new beginnings.
John G. Diefenbaker Airport
"Saskatoon’s John G. Diefenbaker Airport is named for the thirteenth Prime Minister of Canada who grew up in our city."
Attending an invitation to death.
"I searched the plane and the surrounding area all over again. Big metal tube. Two wings. Sitting on a wide, flat, frigid-looking expanse of runway. All looked standard to me. But there had to be something…something…"
Chapter 3 - "The College Building, a national historic site, is one of six buildings surrounding a popular campus green area known as The Bowl."
Museum of Antiquities
Chapter 3 - "I stepped inside and, for a moment, was astonished by what I saw. Immediately before me were full-scale Greek and Roman sculptures, friezes of the Parthenon, and groupings of pottery and weapons and other interesting items..."
Chapter 6 - "I’d scored a tasty take out sandwich from Souleio Foods, a culinary natural food market and eatery relatively new to the south downtown landscape."
Flight to Paris
Chapter 7 - "But our seats in the new Boeing 777 were worth the wait. Actually, these weren’t so much seats as they were mini, individual apartments."
Maple Leaf Club
Chapter 7 - "The place was an oasis in the middle of the busy Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport."
Arriving in Dubai
Chapter 7 - "...about a million cranes at the ready to build more of the same."
Russell stays at the Dubai Marina
Chapter 7 - “...inspired by and designed to look much like your Concord Pacific Place development along False Creek in your Vancouver, British Columbia."
Hema Gupta stays at the Madinat Jumeirah Al Qasr Hotel
Chapter 7 - "...the idea behind the hotel was to recreate life as it used to be for residents along Dubai Creek, complete with waterways, abras, wind towers and its own bustling souq.'
Meeting Hema for Breakfast
Chapter 8 - "...a beautiful outdoor spot, with umbrella-shaded tables and oversized, cushioned rattan chairs, and an outstanding view of the famous Burj Al Arab Hotel..."
Seeing Dubai Creek
Chapter 9 - "The water was incredibly bright, a vivid turquoise I thought impossible in nature. Dancing across the surface were small whitecaps of white and gold, reflecting off the sheet glass of spectacular high rises..."
The dhows of Dubai Creek
Chapter 9 - "The boats seemed to carry everything under the sun; from cartons of Pepsi, to couches and air conditioners, to sacks brimming over with who knows what."
Crossing Dubai Creek in an abra
Chapter 9 - "Before long, I found myself mesmerized by the beauty surrounding me. Turquoise water, azure sky, soft, balmy breeze in my face..."
New and Old
Chapter 9 - "...a landscape of ancient world mixed with modern on either shore."
English Hallwood introduces Russell to the souqs of Diera
Chapter 9 - "There are souqs for perfume, gold, electronics. All jolly fun places.”
Searching for clues in the Spice Souq with English Hallwood
Chapter 9 - "It’s small, maybe only three hundred or so shops, but terribly atmospheric. It’s lovely. One of the oldest in the city I believe."
Dining with Hema
Chapter 9 - "She’d booked us an outdoor table at Zheng He’s, which promised (and delivered) “new Chinese” cooking – a blend of Western tastes and Far Eastern ambiance."
Approaching Burj Al Arab at night
Chapter 9 - "As we approached, the light of day long gone, I saw that the hump side of the grand hotel was lit up."
Being ferried along the causeway to Burj Al Arab, the world’s only seven star hotel
Chapter 9 - a golf cart "...carried me down the bridge to the massive front entrance hall of the hotel. I felt like Cinderella in her carriage."
The Skyview Bar atop the Burj Al Arab, to meet the mysterious Aashiq
Chapter 9 "...I giddily stepped out onto the cantilever which hangs off the top of the building where...the Sky View Bar resides."
Driving to Fujairah
Chapter 11 - "...mile after mile of strangely desolate sand dune landscape."
Preparing to sail out of the Port of Fujairah
Chapter 11 - "Port of Fujairah, on the Gulf of Oman, is simply unattractive. Dirty. Industrial. Generally yucky."
Discovering the Frankincense Tree in Oman.
Chapter 12 - "A small amber tear of resin had popped up where Hema had touched the tree."
Waylaid on the highway to Mughsail
Chapter 12 - "According to Ali our driver, many camels in Oman, and the rest of Arabia for that matter, were free to roam at their will."
Walking the Omani coastline
Chapter 12 - "Mile after mile, soft-sand beaches sat deserted below glittering azure skies, against water so sparkling blue it almost hurt my eyes to look at it for too long."
An afternoon with Hema at the blowholes of Mughsail
Chapter 12 - "We got soaked at the blowholes near the shore that intermittently shoot up plumes of ocean water through vents."
View of Salalah on the way to Job's tomb
Chapter 12 - "Although I’m not fond of narrow winding roads, the view of the sun coming to rest over the plains outside of Salalah was stunning."
On the path to Job's tomb
Chapter 12 - "A curving pathway, sloping gently upwards as I went, led past serene and holy looking places."
Chapter 12 - "And low and behold, in a square about eighteen inches long and wide and deep, was an imprint of a very large foot. Job’s footprint."
Chapter 12 - "In the centre of the room was a tomb, close to the ground. It was covered with some kind of thick material, gold, burgundy and light green woven into the fabric, creating symbolic designs."
Incense at the tomb
Chapter 12 - "At one end, was a small sandbox. Buried in the sand, were several small, colourful, pottery vessels smoking with incense. The odour was intense, but not unpleasant."
Staying in Saudi Arabia
Chapter 13 - "The Jeddah Hilton was a strikingly modern building, with a unique triangular design and views of the Red Sea and an attractive stretch of North Corniche Road."
Rendezvous in Souq al-Alawi in Al-Balad (Old Jeddah)
Chapter 13 - "As the four of us traversed the darkened, aged streets, lined with near-dilapidated buildings towering above crammed market stalls, the wailing call to evening prayer followed our every step."
Meeting Shadee at Nassif House
Chapter 13 - "Nassif House is an ancient mansion, now restored, and used as a museum and cultural centre."
Spotting a spy near Nassif House.
Chapter 13 - "...standing behind a power box, under the partial cover of shade from an overhead awning belonging to a rather modern looking store."
Night falling on Old Jeddah
Chapter 13 - "I glanced about. It was getting darker in the souq. People were scurrying about, completing their tasks before going home or to prayer."
Heading into the sand dunes outside Jeddah.
Chapter 14 - "The relentless ups and downs, ups with curves, and downs with greater curves, came at us without warning."
In the desert at night
Chapter 14 - "I was heartened when, having humped over one last doozy of a sand dune, I saw a muted light in the foreground."
Chasing clues at sunset
Chapter 14 - "I wasn’t convinced that heading out into the Saudi Arabian desert at night to meet a carpet salesman was such a good idea any more."
Mounting a camel
Chapter 14 - "I swore I saw Shadee’s mute father crack a smile as I tried to maneuver my bulk atop the camel. It wasn’t pretty. But finally I made it."
Riding into the Bedouin camp
Chapter 14 - "But something about the purple night, the starry skies above us, the faint shushing noise as breaths of wind kissed the sand dunes, made it seem only right."
Arriving at the Bedouin camp.
Chapter 14 - "The men, dressed in variations of the same theme—shirt dresses and head scarves—helped us off our camels."
The Bedouin camp
Chapter 14 - "Inside, the camp was faintly lit by burning torches, their acrid pitch smell cloying the air."
Smoking a Sheesha with English and Sereena
Chapter 14 - "When the man had left, English reached for the sheesha’s mouthpiece and helped himself to a long pull."
The pond near Ash House
Chapter 16 - "It was taken at the property’s own pond, just on the other side of the hill from the residence."
Meeting at the frozen-over pond
Chapter 16 - "I searched the area. Even through sunglasses, the sun was blindingly bright against an immaculately white landscape."
Attending the World Carpet Antiquities Symposium
Chapter 18 - "We were attending the World Carpet Antiquities Symposium’s opening night banquet, being held that evening at TCUP."
Facing suspects at TCUP
Chapter 18 - "The upper hall of TCUP with its spectacular floor to ceiling glass walls facing 22nd Street, was done up as best as a room that size (huge) can be done up."