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The Bride Box by Michael Pearce
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Cairo, 1912. The Pasha receives an unexpected gift. When opened, however, the box contains an unwelcome jolt from the past--one which connects with practices long thought dead. At the same time, a little girl is discovered riding under a train from Luxor--and the Mamur Zapt, Head of the Khedive's Secret Police, is called in to investigate.… (more)



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From the back" Cairo 1912. The Pasha receives an unexpected gift (it is sent to him, but he Never receives it); a traditional Bride Box. When opened, however the box contains an unwelcome jolt from the past - one which connects with practices long thought dead. At the same time; a little girl is discovered riding under a train from Luxor - and the Mamur Zapt, head of the Khedive's Secret Police, is called in to investigate.

An Englishman (He's Welsh) squeezed between the demands of a world about to disappear and the merging needs of a world about to come, the Mamur Zapt, finds himself confronting a political storm as the end of British rule approaches and his investigations uncover a tangled web of family loyalties and betrayals, with its roots in a slave trade long supposed to have been stamped out in Egypt."

If you are going to write a blurb/synopsis for a book, Make It Accurate! Sheesh!

The little girl found riding under the train has escaped from slavers, long thought to be abolished & gone. She is taken to the Local Vet (a woman doctor) who then takes her to the Mamur Zapt.... In turn Owen (the Mamur Zapt) takes the child to his "wife" Zeinab, the daughter of a local Pasha.

Off of the train is a container wrapped in protective cloth..... it is seeping liquid and smells mightily addressed to one of the local Pashas..... Once opened the container turns out to be a Bride Box (Dowry Chest) and it contains the body of the young one to whom it belonged...... In the hand of the deceased is a pearl button made from a trochee shell, much traded in Sudan & Egypt.

At the train station there appears to be a major transport of Gum Arabic, Trochee Shells, & the newest Rifles w/ the latest sights...

The Mamur Zapt, the Parquet (Egyptian Criminal Lawyers who investigate & try crimes), the British, and local investigators are all busy working on apparently different cases that all come together.....

I ? the Mamur Zapt. I have been waiting for this book to come out since the last one was published in 2008... this has been a long wait and now I find that this is the last book in the series and for me this is a major crime (pun intended)!

There is a lot of action in this book and many quirky, yet likeable characters..... There is much ambiguity (which seems to be a cultural attribute) as many of the characters in the book are never forthcoming about what they've seen, heard, or done... so it takes a bit of time and patience to unravel the truth of the goings on. There is also much underlying humor & tenderness within the heroes of the series.....

The book held my interest, it was well written and seemed to work well with the era it was set in..... I am sorely going to miss this series.

I know Michael Pearce writes other series, but I'm not much interested in those, although now that I'm not working it is obvious I'll have more time to read & will be pushed to reach out past my comfort zone. ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
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Gareth Cadwallader Owen, the Mamur Zapt, Head of the Khedive's Secret Police, was sitting in his office, the blinds drawn against the sun, grappling with the latest misdeeds of the Brotherhood, when Nikos, his official clerk, came in looking pale.
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