cover image The Mamur Zapt and the Night of the Dog

The Mamur Zapt and the Night of the Dog

Michael Pearce, Author Doubleday Books $15 (184p) ISBN 978-0-385-41521-7

First met in The Mamur Zapt and the Return of the Carpet , Captain Gareth Owen is a colonial police officer in British-controlled Cairo. As Mamur Zapt, his job is to keep the uneasy peace between the Coptic and Muslim factions of the city. One night a dead dog is left at a Coptic gravesite. Smarting over the insult, the Copts retaliate and a Zikr , a Muslim dancer, is murdered during a dervish-style ceremony. These incidents land smack on Owen's plate, and lead to increasing violence in the city. That Jane Posthelthwaite, the attractive niece of an influential British politician, was witness to the murder--and, worse yet, in Owen's less-than-protective company--makes for lots of pressure on Owen to find the guilty parties and calm the city down. In a slyly witty and altogether logical manner, Pearce's self-effacing sleuth discovers (through bribes, conversations, stakeouts and deduction) that the strife is due to high-level government sneakiness and abuse of power. Each scene is sharply rendered with local color, and Pearce explains often complex social and political behavior through believable dialogue. (May)