Cairo, 1909.The murder capital of the world, where deaths are two a piastre. But the death of an effendi? That is something different. Because effendis - the Egyptian Ã©lite - are important. Especially if - in a country ruled by foreigners - they happen to be foreign.
When Tvardovsky, an effendi and a foreigner, is shot at a gathering of financiers, Gareth Owen - the Mamur Zapt, Chief of Cairo's Secret Police - is called in to investigate. But is he the right man for the job? In some countries, if someone goes for a walk, or a boat ride, with the Head of the Secret Police and doesn't come back, it's best not to ask any questions. And there are powerful people who might have preferred Tvardovsky dead.
As the maverick financier said, before going on the fatal shooting party, there were still crocodiles in Egypt. Of all kinds. And perhaps the place to look for them was Crocodilopolis, the ancient City of the Crocodiles, where the financiers were to hold their meeting. It is when the crocodiles start cooperating, said Tvardovsky, that you really have to watch outâ¦
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