The stabbing death of a Moslem dervish virtually under the eyes of Mamur Zapt Gareth Cadwallader Owen, chief of Cairo's Political CID, raises problems of many kinds: If the murderer was a Copt, as other Moslems claim, will Owen be able to head off the racial violence that's bound to follow? Will the presence of visiting M.D. John Postlethwaite's niece Jane, the best witness to the killing, land Owen in trouble with his British masters? And who killed the dervish, anywayand on whose orders? The answers to all these questions aren't very interesting, but as in The Mamur Zapt and the Return of the Carpet, Pearce deftly juggles Empire detail, political threats and intrigues, and the ins and outs of running a laughably stiff-necked bureaucracy in a culture that regards the profaning of graves by dead dogs as grounds for homicide.