cover image The Mamur Zapt and the Spoils of Egypt

The Mamur Zapt and the Spoils of Egypt

Michael Pearce, Author Mysterious Press $19.95 (186p) ISBN 978-0-89296-560-1

The choice locale of turn-of-the-century Cairo is squandered in this fifth Mamur Zapt mystery (after, most recently, The Mamur Zapt and the Men Behind). Captain Gareth Owen's position as part of the British Police force is always a tricky balance of force and subtle diplomacy. In this instance, he must also deal with the politics and economics of archeological treasure, an old Egyptian industry with very few governing rules. Miss Skinner, an influential American woman who would like all valuable artifacts to stay in the country, is asking difficult questions around Cairo, threatening the profits of powerful Pashas who would like the sundry sarcophagi and mummy parts sold to the highest bidders. Unfortunate accidents occur at the archeological digs she visits; in a crowded market street, she is nearly killed when pushed in front of a tram. Then Owen is introduced to some very fancy forgeries. The plot is enlivened by Owen's fiery and relentlessly manipulative lover, Zeinab, but the lack of both suspense and prominent dead bodies makes this an arid jaunt through the labyrinthine society of colonial Egypt. (Oct.)