The Fig Tree Murder Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Fig Tree Murder

Poisoned Pen, Dec 2003, 24.95
ISBN: 1590580680

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.
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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.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of The Fig Tree Murder

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Plot & Themes

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:    -   1900-1920's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Kind of investigator    -   hard boiled/private eye Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   politics Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   40's-50's


Africa    -   Yes Part of Africa:    -   Arabic Africa

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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