Poisoned Pen, Dec 2004, 24.95, 224 pp.
After serving a tour of duty in Egypt, Gareth Owen became the Mamur Zapt, the official who deals with political factions in a land where much of the population comes from other lands. While he is in the province of Minya, he finds the body of a dead woman wrapped up in bandages surrounded by cats that were mummified ages ago. The dead woman was a German who was married to an Egyptian. Owen was supposed to take her to an internment camp based on orders from England that stated that all Germans must be placed in speciously set up camps to prevent their giving any information to the German government.
While in Minya he notices that the ghaffirs (watchmen) at each village are being armed to fight the bandits. When Owen returns to Cairo, he learns that two hundred unaccounted rifles were sent to Minya; in a country where British rule is hated, that is very dangerous. Owen has to find out where the rifles went and how they are linked to the ghaffirs. While he is investigating that, he also tries to learn who killed the German and nearly gets killed for his work ethics.
Egypt at the beginning of World War I is a country which prefers to ignore the actions of the superpowers only caring about how the war will affect them. The protagonist is working harder than ever but wonders if he should enlist in the British Army. His Egyptian lover, the pasha's daughter Zeinab is giving him a hard time about his possible enlistment which puts their relationship on shaky ground.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner