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From the PublisherPearce, Michael. The Snake Catcher's Daughter. Apr. 2003 202p. Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (1-59058-051-6).
Gareth Owens, Cairo's Intrepid Mamur Zapt (head of the secret police), is back in another seriocomic adventure that is both witty and engrossing. After finding a naked woman in his bed, and after a diamond necklace mysteriously appears in his girlfriend's boudoir, Owen decides someone is trying to bribe him. Then the local newspaper prints a stinging indictment not only of Owen but also of Garvin, commandant of the Cairo police, and his assistant, McPhee.
In the course of his investigation, Owen becomes involved in a women's purification ritual, meets a rare female snake catcher, and incurs the wrath of his girlfriend. As usual, though, Owen is at all times the epitome of unflappability, and his calm, sensible, highly intuitive approach eventually leads him to the culprit. Recommend this droll and amusing novel to fans of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series (Pearce is Peters'equal to evoking bygone Cairo) or to anyone who enjoys the comic mystery.