Edwardian Egypt and archaeology go hand in hand, not just for the antiquarian but for the men, whether poor fellahin or rich merchant, who profit from the illegal export of antiquities. Captain Gareth Owen, the Mamur Zapt or head of Cairo's Secret Police, turns his attention to the trade when Miss Skinner arrives. She's a woman with the habit of asking awkward questions. And because her uncle might be the next President of the United States, her queries demand answers. So what is she doing looking at crocodiles? And mummified ones at that? Were they priceless? Are they even antiques? Owen's new brief is to see that Egypt's priceless treasures stay in Egypt. But when Miss Skinner narrowly escapes falling under a conveyance - whether she was just accidentally nudged by a Passover sheep or not - Owen expands his command. As he labors to thwart killers and the flight of national treasures abroad, he faces an even graver problem: whether to risk his career by asking the pasha's lovely daughter to marry him...
by Michael Pearce