Sunday, June 21, 2020

A Dead Djinn in Cairo, by P. Djèlí Clark (author), Suehyla El-Attar (narrator)

Macmillan Audio, August 2019 (original publication May 2016)

In an alternate Cairo in 1912, the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Superatural Entities investigates potentially criminal activity involving magic or supernatural entities, such as djinn.

Such as, in this case, a Marid djinn who appears to have committed suicide, in a very odd way.

Special Agent Fatma el-Sha'arawi is the agent who got the case, and nothing about it looks right. Suicide isn't common among djinn. Magical exsanguination seems like an incredibly unlikely way to do it. There is evidence of a ghoul being present, but ghouls eat their victims alive, not drink their blood. She and the constable find evidence suggesting a tie an, um, not really an angel but they mostly go with that term, they investigate and find one who calls himself Maker, and is a maker of timepieces, and it doesn't seem at all relevant.
And then on the way home, Fatma is attacked by someone who steals her watch, which is from her grandfather, and she's not giving it up--and that pursuit, which really should be completely unrelated, turns out to not be at all unrelated.

Being the only female agent of the Ministry makes Fatma unusual enough, and she has followed her father's advice; if people are going to stare at you anyway, give them show. Part of that show is that she wears a British man's suit, in a Cairo where the re-emergence of the djinn and other supernatural beings has enabled Egypt to kick out the British and other European powers, establish a constitutional monarchy of its own, and become a major power in its own right. This is an interesting world, and I'd like to see more stories set in it.

I bought this audiobook.

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