The Mark of the Pasha
Review: Egypt finds itself in a period of political unrest in 1918 and Gareth Owen, the Mamur Zapt, head of the Egyptian Khedive Secret Police, has his hands full dealing with members of the British High Commission and protecting the Khedive from assassins in The Mark of the Pasha, the 16th mystery in this historical series by Michael Pearce.
The Great War has ended and the Egyptians are anxious to regain control of their country from the British. The Khedive, nominal ruler of Egypt, is planning a procession of motor cars through the city together with other Egyptian royalty in a public display of solidarity. Owen discovers a plot to bomb the motorcade and persuades the Khedive to change his route at the last minute. A bomb is indeed found, fortunately harming no one, but setting Owen on a quest to determine its source. What he finds, however, are the seeds of a religious insurrection. While Owen agrees in principle with their demands, he understands that change, while good for some, would be bad for others unless done so through proper channels. When the leader of the rebellion is found murdered, Owen's position is even more tenuous as he seeks to solve the crime.
Meanwhile, Owen's new wife, the only daughter of a pasha, a honorific title typically given to important, wealthy, or politically connected (sometimes all three) Egyptians, is trying to live the life of a modern woman who dresses in the style of Europeans and who works as an administrator in a hospital. In a country so heavily tied to tradition, her attempts at change are, not surprisingly, met with resistance.
The Mark of the Pasha is not so much a mystery with a puzzle to be solved as a mystery with a story and characters to be enjoyed. There's a certain intrigue to the setting that is undeniably appealing. The political aspects of the story are, at times, difficult to understand, maybe appreciate is a better word, but they don't interfere with following the basic plot. It is a fine addition to this fascinating series.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Mark of the Pasha.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of The Mark of the Pasha for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
A Dead Man in Tangier
Carroll & Graf (Hardcover), September 2007
ISBN-13: 9780786720453; ISBN-10: 078672045X
A Dead Man in Barcelona
Soho Constable (Hardcover), December 2008
ISBN-13: 9781569475379; ISBN-10: 1569475377
Location(s) referenced in The Mark of the Pasha: Cairo, Egypt
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The Mark of the Pasha by Michael Pearce — A Mamur Zapt Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: May 2008
List Price: $24.95