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The Golden Scales by Parker Bilal
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Jul 22, 12

bookshelves: fiction-crime-detection
Read in July, 2012

THE GOLDEN SCALES. (2012). Parker Bilal. ***.
Bilal is the pseudonym of Jamal Mahjoub, an author who has written several mainstream novels. This is his first mystery/thriller, and features Makana, an ex-policeman from Sudan, now living in exile in Cairo. Makana was driven from Sudan as a political undesireable, after he watched his wife and daughter die in their attempt to escape over the border. He makes his living by doing odd jobs in Cairo – mostly in finding missing persons. He lives on the ragged edge; his house is a ramshackle houseboat made of spare parts and docked on the Nile. He is asked to meet with Saad Hanafi, a big man in the city. He is the owner of the city’s football team and his star player, Adil Romario, has gone missing. Without Romario the team is falling apart and Hanafi is truly worried that something wrong has happened. Hanafi puts a great deal of money at Makana’s disposal, money that he had accrued over the years as a kingpin in the underworld of Egypt. Makano does his best, but complications butt in, as Romario’s disappearence begins to involve the criminal element and the political forces of the city. We even learn that revolutionaries may be involved – purist Islamists – who hope to change the whole picture of religion in Egypt. Sometimes, however, in mystery novels, there are just too many bad guys. This is one of those novels. You can’t trust anyone except Makano, and he’s lucky he has an indistructable body.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Caroline (new)

Caroline I like the idea of a whodunit full of the exotic flavours of a turbulent Cairo...but this sounds too much of a good (bad?) thing.


Ms.pegasus I, too, felt this was an enjoyable but flawed book. The observation about too many bad guys is an interesting explanation. Thanks for the insight.


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