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A Cold Touch of Ice
by Michael Pearce

Category: Fiction / Mystery
0 pages; ISBN: 1590580656

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


A Cold Touch of Ice
Michael Pearce
Poisoned Pen, Aug 2004,
ISBN: 1590580656

In 1912, Italy invades Tripolitania. Turkey declares war on Italy since Tripolitania belongs to them. Most of Europe wants to remain out of the conflict hoping that it will remain somewhat localized. British leaders choose a neutral path, but not all of the empire agrees. Though a British Protectorate, Egypt remains part of the Ottoman Empire and sympathies lie strongly with the Turks.

In Cairo, someone strangled to death an Italian-Egyptian Sidi Morelli, a resident for forty years and whose warehouse contained weapons. Gareth Owen, the Mamur Zapt, investigates the homicide wondering if this is the beginning of an anti-Italian movement or was the murder tied to the guns? As he digs deeper and looks into several seemingly unrelated other incidents, Owen struggles with what he should do with his beloved Zeinab, who as she turns thirty wants a deeper commitment from him. As his own loyalties are questioned even by himself and Zeinab demands more of him, Owen wonders if it is time to relocate to perhaps Zanzibar.

As usual, Michael Pearce provides a deep and entertaining early twentieth century historical mystery that brings to life Egypt under British control. The story line works on three levels (historical, investigative, and personal) that cleverly intertwine into a cohesive terrific who-done-it. Gareth is a fantastic protagonist who symbolizes the pull in two directions. He is at his witty, somewhat bewildered best as he ponders to Zanzibar or not to Zanzibar that is the question.

Harriet Klausner


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