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The Fig Tree Murder: A Mamur Zapt Mystery (Mamur Zapt Mysteries Series, Vol. 10)

Overview

Why was the body put on the line? Chance? Or did someone want to halt the progress of the new electric railway out fom Cairo to the City of Pleasure being built in the suburbs?
Was it another of Egypt's traditional revenge killings? Or had the murdered man somehow got caught up in the manoeuvrings of the sinister power groups jostling for position around the new railway? In this, the tenth novel in Michael Pearce's award-winning series, Old Egypt is pitted against New and in the...

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Overview

Why was the body put on the line? Chance? Or did someone want to halt the progress of the new electric railway out fom Cairo to the City of Pleasure being built in the suburbs?
Was it another of Egypt's traditional revenge killings? Or had the murdered man somehow got caught up in the manoeuvrings of the sinister power groups jostling for position around the new railway? In this, the tenth novel in Michael Pearce's award-winning series, Old Egypt is pitted against New and in the middle is the Mamur Zapt. To answer these questions he has to look both in the luxurious quarters of the dazzling New Heliopolis and in the more humble houses of the dead man's village, and in neither place are things as straightforward as they seem. What is the significance of the tree of the Virgin? Does it matter that the gathering place for the Mecca caravan is only a mile or two away? And what of the ostrich that passed in the night?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
First published in the U.K. in 1996, Pearce's 10th Mamur Zapt mystery is good on period atmosphere but less successful as a whodunit. Gareth Owen, who as the Mamur Zapt heads the secret police for the British in early 20th-century Cairo, is summoned when a corpse is discovered on an unfinished piece of railroad track linking the capital city to a new city under development. The location of the body suggests that the crime may be the work of nationalists or religious figures opposed to the project. In addition to tackling the murder, Pearce's engaging creation masterfully uses his familiarity with bureaucracy to douse the brewing controversy surrounding the ownership of a nearby fig tree said to be linked to the Virgin Mary. As in several of its predecessors, the circle of suspects is a little too narrow to afford the author the ability to enhance his entertaining with a real puzzle. (Dec. 1) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A runaway ostrich is the only eyewitness to a murder. When Gareth Cadwallader Owen, the Mamur Zapt of colonial Cairo (The Camel of Destruction, 2002, etc.), trudges out to rural Matariya, he finds the area in the midst of a growth spurt. Alongside the ostrich farm, the village well, and the holy fig tree where the Virgin and Child once rested lie the soon-to-be-completed tracks for the spanking new railway leading to New Heliopolis, site of a racetrack playground for the rich. Unfortunately, lying on those tracks is the dead body of Ibrahim, who may have been killed by avenging relatives of the woman he debauched; the French, who demand control of that fig tree, supposedly a gift to Empress Eugenie; the Belgian Syndicate underwriting the Heliopolis development; assorted local sheiks and warring pashas; or even Daniel the Copt, who has turned the fig tree into a money-making tourist attraction. In a slapstick prefiguration of Laurel and Hardy decades later, Owen sorts through the political intrigues, gathering pilgrims, and rampaging ostriches while waiting for the Cairo court system to determine who owns that much-coveted fig tree. A droll view of clashing cultures and nubile daughters, with some helpful advice on why you might want to think twice before taking possession of an ostrich.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590581759
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2003
  • Series: Mamur Zapt Mysteries Series , #10
  • Pages: 185
  • Sales rank: 901,614
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Pearce was raised in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. He trained as a Russian interpreter but later moved to an academic career, first as a lecturer in English and the History of Ideas and then as an administrator. He now lives in South West London and is best known as the author of the award winning Mamur Zapt books.

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