The Snake Catcher's Daughter by Michael Pearce
Someone is running a campaign to discredit Cairo's senior police officials. Is Garvin, the Commandant, playing power games, or is he trying to get to the bottom of the allegations of corruption? What about Garvin's senior deputy, McPhee, a man who might finally be going round the bend? And what of the Mamur Zapt himself? He may be the British head of the city's Secret Police, but is he above suspicion? After all, he does have an Egyptian mistress, placing him not only in the uncomfortable position of possible divided loyalties, but bringing him under her own stern scrutiny. Owen's attempts to get answers and avoid political (and personal) embarrassment take him into uncharted territory, the world of Cairo's female rites. And more terrifyingly, into one of Egypt's traditional crafts. Snake catching. How do you milk a cobra? Do snakes have ears? Can they be tamed? Can a mere woman fill the traditional role of snake catcher without the undying opposition of the Rifa'i - and without loosing the plague of Egypt? The Snake Catcher's Daughter is the eighth in the award-winning Mamur Zapt series highly praised for its elegance, wry wit, telling period detail, and political astuteness.