cover image Mamur Zapt & the Men Behind

Mamur Zapt & the Men Behind

Michael Pearce, Author Mysterious Press $26 (256p) ISBN 978-0-89296-487-1

As head of the British secret police in Cairo in 1908, Captain Cadwallader Owen is called the Mamur Zapt. In his fourth appearance (after The Mamur Zapt and the Donkey-Vous ), Owen receives complaints from a spate of English visitors and Egyptians that they are being followed; then a Customs Department official is shot at. Owen is reluctant to mount a full-scale investigation, however, because of current political unrest: the previous government has recently fallen and the Khedive, Egypt's hereditary ruler, has yet to name a new cabinet. After entertaining a man named Roper who has come to look at old emerald mines as a possible investment, Owen is faced with the death of two students killed when a bomb explodes in a cafe. While still uncertain whether the bombing and the shootings are political or personal, Owen learns of another bombing outside Hamada near the mines Roper is inspecting. Only by traveling to the edge of the desert can Owen unravel the forces and motivations behind the killings. Pearce deftly captures the intertwined political, cultural and religious tensions of his colorful locale and turbulent period. (July)