"Pearce is a master at bringing to vibrant life in subtle and direct ways the life of turbulent Cairo."
-Carl Brookins, author of the Sean Sean
and Tanner/Whitney mysteries
"Worth reading, as much for the timely insights into Islamic and Egyptian cultural and political history as for the wonderfully eccentric characters, flawless storytelling, and charming denouement." -Booklist
The world is changing around the Mamur Zapt, British Chief of Cairo's Secret Police. It's 1912 and there's a war on that no one's heard of. When an Italian man is murdered in the city's back streets, there is concern that this could be some kind of ethnic cleansing. "One of us" Morelli may have been, but was he "one of us" enough? And were the guns in his warehouse anything to do with it? Gareth Owen-the Mamur Zapt-has to find out fast.
And then, as external pressures crowd in, other difficult questions arise. What is Trudi von Ramsberg really doing in Cairo? Not to mention that other noted traveller, Gertrude Bell, or the irritating little archaeologist, T.E. Lawrence? And why has the post of Khedive's Librarian suddenly become so important?
As Cromer's Egypt gives way to Kitchener's Egypt, Morelli is not the only one who has problems over where his allegiance lies. Maybe the solution is for Owen to go to Zanzibar....
Michael Pearce is a former Anglo-Egyptian civil servant who grew up in the (then) Anglo-Egyptian Sudan among the political and other tensions he draws on for his books. He returned there later to teach and retains a human rights interest in the area.