A Cold Touch of Ice

Written by Michael Pearce
Review by Kathy King

This is Michael Pearce’s thirteenth Mamur Zapt mystery set in Cairo in 1912 when the British governed Egypt. The Mamur Zapt is the head of the secret police and is a Welshman, Captain Gareth Owen. An Italian man is found murdered; the murder leads to questions of ethnic unrest. As the murder investigation progresses, Owen discovers a major gun smuggling conspiracy. He races against time to stop an explosive situation from occurring which could start a major war and endanger thousands of lives.

Not having read any other Mamur Zapt mysteries, it took a long time to get familiar with the characters. Several of the characters have appeared in the other mysteries, but not much background is provided in this installment to familiarize a new reader with them. I also felt there was inadequate historical background provided to give a clear view of the political situation in Egypt during the time period. I was left struggling through half the story before many of the characters and political foundation made sense. Overall, however, I enjoyed the mystery, which had several twists and turns.