The Cairo Diary
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The Cairo Diary

3.2 of 5 stars 3.20  ·  rating details  ·  435 ratings  ·  53 reviews
British-occupied Cairo, 1928: Several young children have disappeared and were then found, horribly mutilated, in the tombs just outside the city. Panic is spreading among the locals after a cloaked giant is sighted. Has a ghoul from One Thousand and One Nights been brought to life? British inspector Jeremy Matheson follows the trail of the monster, which takes him into th...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 12th 2007 by Minotaur Books (first published 2005)
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Abbie Ennis
From the blurb I thought this would book be right up my street and though I had not heard of the author before and not read any reviews on any of her books I thought I would take a risk and go for it. However I was left disappointed and unsatisfied with the book.

This book had the slowest beginning, sixty six pages in and I was still waiting for some sort of introduction to the main character Marion, who to be honest in the first sixty pages did nothing but annoy me though the author did nothing...more
Chattam was daring, intertwining the threads of two mysteries in this novel. One of the mysteries is set in recent modern times in France, though it is infected with the much older mystery set in Cairo, and thus sustains an old-fashioned and musty feel. The setting for the newer mystery--a remote and ancient stone monastery that is, if not neglected exactly, not easily renovated—contributes to a feeling of abandonment.

The back and forth between the two mysteries was successfully handled, and sin...more
Airport lit. There are two interwoven stories in this book, and I found that Marion's story was really kind of pointless. It didn't really go anywhere. Marion reads the Cairo diary, and the author uses her character to compliment his own writing, which is the most transparent tool ever, and it's really annoying. He constantly has Marion make comments or have thoughts that go something like, "Well, in those Agatha Christie novels..." or "Well, fiction is so predictable and neat, but what could yo...more
Nominally a murder mystery, there are two separate story lines, one of which is tracked through a modern day character reading a diary. The earlier one is set in 1920s Cairo and I found it more interesting, but only just. With about 50 pages to go, I realized I had a lot of other books to read from the library checked out and I just didn't care how this comes out (or both the stories, I suppose). I realized I should probably do this more often since there are lots of good books to read but only...more
i might not last very long on this one. the "note to the reader" at the beginning was a HUGE turnoff, and the writing so far (i think i am on page 12) sucks.

i read this lovely essay in the new yorker a week or two ago about magicians, and about how the less they call attention to the mechanics of the trick they are doing, the better they are at their craft. i feel this way about suspense/mystery novels. if the manipulation of the reader is obvious, i can't enjoy the ride. that's (part of) why i...more
My Inner Shelf
Structure originale qui permet au lecteur de plonger dans un suspens fort bien mené. Difficile de parler de ce livre sans trop en dévoiler, et s’il est différent de la trilogie, il est tout aussi captivant !
De quoi le relire, histoire de voir ce qui a bien pu nous échapper !
Wesley Paine
For heaven's sake, who edited this book?? The plot has a potentially interesting premise: a contemporary woman, isolated from friends, job and family while in protective custody, finds a hidden diary written by a detective living in Egypt in 1928 and becomes immersed in his world. The story moves back and forth between the two time periods. Leaving aside the somewhat cheesy way the plot is developed, the writing is unbelievably bad--purple prose to the Nth degree. No noun or verb is allowed to l...more
Lily Wren
The Cairo Diary is an atmospheric thriller that does, I feel, edge towards the realms of gothic horror.

We are presented with Marion who, after uncovering something within her real life, is sent to hide away under the guise of seeking a 'retreat' amongst a religious order. Whilst helping one of the monks catalogue books in the library in the nearby town, she uncovers a diary written by a detective in 1928 who is investigating the rather extreme murders of children in Cairo. Over the coming days...more
Jeannie Mancini
In present day Paris, Marion, a young woman working as a secretary in the department of Autopsies for a Paris Medical Institute, becomes an unfortunate innocent victim by stumbling upon documents that will prove a local politician a criminal. The DST, which is France's version of our CIA, wishes for her to go missing for a while until the scandal dies down. People might want her dead. Immediately whisked away for temporary exile, Marion finds herself deposited at the daunting doors of the famous...more
Marion, secrétaire à l'institut médico-légal de PAris, est éloignée pour sa sécurité par la DST. Elle est à l'origine d'un scandale politique à l'insu de son plein gré. Elle est exilée au Mont Saint-Michel où elle est confiée à la Soeur Anne. Celle-ci fait partie d'une fraternité établie dans l'abbaye du Mont. Là-bas, elle va faire la connaissance des autres membres de cette confrèrie.
Afin de se rendre utile et d'occuper ses journées, un des moines l'emmène à la bibliothèque d'Avranches pour y f...more
I was drawn to the book for many a reason, the cover, the cheap price (I found it in a second-hand bookshop), the fact that it happened near where I'm from, talked about what I studied, etc. In retrospect, it's just one of these idiotic mystery novels you pick up at the airport to pass the time and turn out to be of rather poor quality.

I found it very difficult to start, the plot was messy, there was no indication of what was happening and I constantly felt like I had missed out on some part of...more

Kitapla ilgili birşey yazmadan önce çevirene bi çift sözüm var: İshal olsun inşallah! Bu yazara olan övgülerim (hikayede açık nokta bırakmaması, benim bütün detay sorularıma cevap vermesi) yine geçerli. Ama çeviren mahvetmiş kitabı. Sinirlene sinirlene okudum. Sürekli bi "beriki" lafı geçiyor. Marion şunu dedi, beriki güldü. Beriki ne lan! Ama daha kötüsü var: "Nirengi noktaları". Lanet olası nirengi noktaları yüzünden kitaptan soğudum. Doğan Kitap olacak...more
The plot was very good, the thrills, twists and reveals worked very well - except, possibly, for the original premise of the scandal that meant the protaganist had to leave Paris (which I found slightly stretched). It is difficult to be original in this genre and the author succeeded convincingly.
The creation of atmosphere and the sense of being in two very different places and times was also conveyed well.
But, oh dear, I really must stop reading translated books: I wanted to go thru the book wi...more
Grange okumayı severim :)

Bu kitapla ilgili olumlu birşey bulmakta zorlanıyorum desem yeri sanırım.Çok mantıksız ve gereksiz bir ana karakter ve sanki önemliymiş gibi yaratılan gizem ve bu karakterin sıkıcı maceraları ve aptallıları kitabın her sayfasında adeta.Mesela herkesten korunmak için zorla invizaya çektiriilen, hayatının tehlikede olduğuna inanan bir insan tehdit mektubu aldığında nasıl bu kadar soğukkanlı davranabilir şaşırdım.Sanırsın kadın bond'du önceki hayatında,çok profosyonel davra...more
Stephen Bradley
The book was kind of slow to get started, but it did get very gripping towards the end! Unfortunately, I found the ending a bit of an anti-climax, as it was very ambiguous. It seemed like the author was writing this whole book just to make the point he made in the final paragraph, which was that truth is in the eye of the person who believes it and not just a universal thing.

Throughout the book, you feel like the story of Marian is just a pointless distraction from what becomes the main story,...more
What a thrilling, epic book shrouded in mystery and adventure! Embracing genres of (hybrid- historic/contemporary) fiction, mystery, thriller/suspense, Chattam writes a one-of-a-kind novel. A page turner, I finished the book in three days. Only reason why I don't give this a 5, is because the ending was anti-climatic. Still, for him to write such a book only means his imagination is boundless.
Jul 06, 2007 asra rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: novels
historical mystery with parallel stories. the first is of a woman called marion who's hiding at a french monastery because of a political scandal of her own making. one day, while assisting a monk in the abbey’s library, she finds a diary disguised within the binding of a book by edgar allan poe. enter cairo 1928. the diary is that of jeremy matheson, a british detective investigating the murders of four small children. The murders are so strange that most don't believe the culprit to be human -...more
I began this book and stopped after a few pages. I couldn't go on. For some reason, I kept eyeing it for a long time and then picked up again. I'm glad I did. It is a different story in that there are two stories seamlessly told into a single tale. It's about a tortured soul product of severe abuse by his "fraternity", bullied into an inch of his life and no one there to help. He acted out in the same manner. He used to be a soldier and the solders did literally and figuratively disfigured him f...more
ce livre est bizarre. Je l'ai lu vraiment sans préjugés, je savais juste que Maxime Chattam est un auteur reconnu donc que l'écriture allait être de qualité, sur ce point là pas de problème. J'ai vraiment été transportée dans ces pages, donc au premier abord cela semble parfait.

Mais le fond est aussi creux que la forme est parfaite. On n'a pas de réponses à nos questions, des fois je me sentais mal à l'aise en lisant. Bref, une sensation de "bizarre", d'être mené en bateau et de ne jamais savoir...more
There are two storylines taking place in this book. One is a murder investigation taking place in British ruled 1928 Cairo seen through the eyes of a British detective. The second storyline is a woman who is under protective custody in modern day France. She is hiding out at Mont St. Michel. While helping with a research project she discovers the journal written by the police detective in Cairo. It was hidden in the bindings of another book. The story alternates from the exotic setting of the ba...more
Terrible stuff. Anyway, quick plot summary: a woman hidden in present time in Mont Saint Michel by the French secret service finds the diary of an English detective who chased after a particularly vicious serial-killer of children (gratuitous descriptions ensue, followed by much reflection on oriental mystique and the fatal attraction of women) in Cairo in 1928. The book bifurcates: one trail following the Englishman, and the other following the fugitive woman. I can't think which is worse: the...more
I can't understand the general bad reviews of this dual-time frame book, I thought it was really good. Marion, placed in hiding on Mont St Michele by the secret police, stumbles on a hand-written diary from Cairo in the 1920s. She takes it away to read and finds its about gruesome child murders, written by the English detective in charge of the case.

I found both settings riveting, the wind-swept dark alleys and stairs of the Mont, the strange brotherhood and few residents left in the late autum...more
Vanessa Vallos
C'etait une lecture etrange et derengante de part le theme de l'enquete.

La fin essaye de nouer un lien entre les époques mais ne le reussit pas, c'est boiteux.

J'ai tout de meme aimé le style d'ecriture de maxime chattam et je lirais d'autre livre de cet auteur.
Yes, diff style of writing but too much explanation of surroundings, than main matter.
I like the climax, as it leaves the reader with its own footprint and makes one to think.
Quick read, good ending that keeps you guessing.I enjoyed it, but it wasn't without it's flaws. Writing style is a bit pedestrian and descriptions of some events that occur were a little too gruesome for my taste. I liked the notion of two stories carried out simultaneously, but author could have been more complex with the Marion story line.
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An OK thriller, gothic settings of Mont-Sant-Michel (which everyone should visit at least once) and 1920's Cairo. There are two intertwined stories which are linked together with two lead characters, I enjoyed it although I probably wouldn't have chosen it myself from the blurb on the back.
I almost gave up on this book it had such a slow start. 440 pages and i finally got into it at about page 300. Not sure if i would recommend this book or not as it was such a strange ending. Not sure it was worth the effort of reading it really. Very odd book.
Mar 13, 2008 Joyce rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: wendy.Kissack
I really got wrapped up in this story. I was particulary interested in the music suggested to listen to while reading. That was something unique to this book. The last few chapters and the ending were a surprise. I wanted this story to go on a bit more!
Angel Serrano
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Alrighty... 2 14 Feb 28, 2013 09:19AM  
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Enfant discret, Maxime Chattam grandit en région parisienne. Il n'est pas particulièrement brillant à l'école mais se passionne pour le cinéma. A quatorze ans, après avoir regardé le film 'Stand by Me', il se met à le réécrire en rajoutant des péripéties. Il découvre le livre 'Le Seigneur des anneaux' et les romans de science-fiction de Stephen King notamment. Il suit le cours Simon, devient figur...more
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L'âme du mal (La trilogie du mal, #1) In Tenebris (La trilogie du Mal, #2) L'Alliance des Trois (Autre Monde, #1) Maléfices (La trilogie du Mal, #3) Les Arcanes du chaos (Le Cycle de l'homme, #1)

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