|Plot Summary of The Fig Tree Murder|
Poisoned Pen, Dec 2003, 24.95
Owen Gareth, the Mamur Zapt, the head of Cairo's secret police, becomes involved in a dispute over a corpse. The local Parquait should work what seems like a non-political murder, but an incident could occur before the law enforcement official arrives on the scene. The electric railroad construction workers want to leave the crime scene pure, but Sheikh Isa insists on moving the body. The Mamur Zapt manages to stall the groups until the Parquait arrives.
Because the case is not political Owen feels he has no further involvement. However, his superiors, the foreign investors, and even the local Islamic leaders want him to look into the murder that is linked to a fig tree that many believe is the Tree of the Virgin. Thus religious differences have surfaced as well as international and social issues. As he investigates the crime, the Mamur Zapt finds himself embroiled into the construction of a pleasure city with a casino that is at the crossroads of the caravans to Mecca. Egypt is divided between varying interests with only Gareth seeking the truth.
The tenth early twentieth century Mamur Zapt mystery is a superb tale that as with the previous ones emphasizes Egypt during a pivotal moment in the country's history. Ancient Egypt battles with modernization as depicted by caravan vs. railroad. The investigation is brilliantly managed to enhance the era so that the audience receives a powerful who-done-it and why, but an even greater insight into the clashing social classes. Michael Pearce continues to demonstrate he is one of the best writers of historical mysteries with this delightful look at Egypt at the crossroads.
This synopsis report prepared by Harriet Klausner
|Chapter Analysis of The Fig Tree Murder|
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Composition of Book
descript. of violence and chases - 10%
Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives - 40%
Feelings, relationships, character bio/development - 30%
How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) - 20%
Tone of story
- suspenseful (sophisticated fear)
How difficult to spot villain?
- Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues
Time/era of story:
What % of story relates directly
to the mystery, not the subplot?
Kind of investigator
- hard boiled/private eye
Kid or adult book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
Any non-mystery subplot?
Murder Mystery (killer unknown)
Part of Africa:
- Arabic Africa
Accounts of torture and death?
- generic/vague references to death/punishment
Amount of dialog
- significantly more dialog than descript
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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