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A Dead Djinn in Cairo

(Dead Djinn Universe #0.1)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  8,865 ratings  ·  1,708 reviews
Egypt, 1912. In an alternate Cairo infused with the otherworldly, the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities investigate disturbances between the mortal and the (possibly) divine. What starts off as an odd suicide case for Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi leads her through the city’s underbelly as she encounters rampaging ghouls, saucy assassins ...more
ebook, 43 pages
Published May 18th 2016 by Tor Books
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Audrey Pérusse I believe it is only available digitally, unfortunately. I would gladly buy a physical copy of this book if it was possible!
Rachel I don't know about buying it, but you can read it for free here:…more
I don't know about buying it, but you can read it for free here:

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Average rating 4.05  · 
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A confident, urbane investigator has a dead djinn on her hands. The setting is vaguely a steampunk colonial Cario, with an interesting twist--when magic was discovered, the locals were able to throw out the British colonizers. The byproduct of magic is a plethora of djinns, angels, and ghouls. Really interesting and well done, with an intriguing female lead and hints of alternate gender/sexuality. I'd read a book-length tale.

Might appeal to fans of Detective Chen (of Liz Williams) although with
Jun 24, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5/5 stars

A Dead Djinn in Cairo was so interesting; seems like I have to give A Master of Djinn a try after all.

A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark is highly praised and quite popular right now, but I felt a bit apprehensive; plenty of hyped debut novel in bookish social media has disappointed me. Because of that, I decided to give A Dead Djinn in Cairo a try first. Now, there’s a lot of limitation put into this novelette, and its short length doesn’t allow many rooms for exploration. But that’
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021-reads, shorts
This is the first glimpse of the fascinating world that is further expanded in P. Djèlí Clark’s lovely Hugo- and Nebula Award nominated The Haunting of Tram Car 015. It’s the look at the alternate 1912 Cairo a few decades after a gateway to the world of supernatural was opened, bringing new residents in the form of the Djinn and the Angels (with the mechanical parts) and ghuls, turning Egypt into a modern and tolerant world superpower (the Djinn helped to defeat the British) and bringing quite a ...more
Jul 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
An alternative Cairo, set in 1912. A world of magic and the supernatural, inhabited by ghouls, sorcerers, and evil spirits. Against this backdrop, Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi, has a dead Djinn on her hands. Murder, or a possible suicide ? Fatma will discover there’s a lot more to this death than meets the eye.
Loved Fatma, and the action packed plot!
It’s free here
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Dennis by: Mir
2021 reread:

In preparation for the upcoming novel, I read this one again and I’m once again amazed at Clark’s fantastic worldbuilding, especially considering that this novelette is only 43 pages long. It’s quite extraordinary. And while I said in my 2019 review that the characters are not particularly fleshed-out, something’s got to give in such a short tale. But Fatma el-Sha’arawi is nonetheless a very cool main character. And the story is fast-paced and fun. It put a smile on my face, and I de
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
An alternative Cairo, filled with steampunk Angels, magic and Djinn. A murder mystery with a diverse leading woman who rocks a gentleman's suit and cane. And a wonderfully action filled plot that ricochets between the supernatural and the mysterious. And all neatly written within 50 pages.

Honestly, Fatma's character development is better than I've seen in 500+ page books, and I felt fully invested in the story. The world building is just enough to whet my appetite without being too much for suc
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Oh my lord, we've got a police procedural with a lady detective in a magically version of our world in CAIRO with djinn & ifrits? This was 100% my jam - can't wait to keep reading in this series! ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This Tor fantasy novella (free online here at is memorable mostly for its setting: A magical steampunk version of Cairo, Egypt, in 1912. Forty years earlier a man managed to open a portal to the other magical side, and djinni, "angels" and other magical creatures streamed through to our world. The good news is, they helped the humans quickly kick the British government out of Egypt. But can you trust them?

Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi, an unusually liberated woman for her day
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fatma el-Sha’arawi is a Special Investigator for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities in an alternate-history Cairo where supernatural entities live alongside human beings. The magically exsanguinated body of a djinn turns out to be only the first death of the night.

Fun! Hope for more by this author. It would also be great as a graphic novel, very visual and with lots of action.
Richard Derus
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rating: 3.5* of five, rounded up because "more, please" is not strong enough

A delicious taste. More, please.

Rating: 3.5* of five

In honor of the publication tomorrow of A Master of Djinn, the first full-length novel in Author Phenderson Djèlí Clark's Majgickqal-Cairo steampunk series, as well as his publishing career, let's revisit the place it all began.

Fatma of the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, and Aasim, the Cairo policeman, are two of the series' through-line ch
Chelsea Humphrey
May 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-deals
"First unwritten rule of investigation-when in need of information, make sure you flatter your source."

Wow! Absolutely blown away by this introductory short story to the author's Dead Djinn world. I'll be catching up on all the novellas before starting A Master of Djinn.
Jul 26, 2021 rated it liked it
This is a fun, diverting, pulpy work of a fertile imagination. A pleasant treat between more substantive, lengthier books. My 3-star rating is not at all grumpy.
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is Cairo; this is 1910 C.E…………….or it’s not. This is the second piece I have read by Clark and I am captured by this author's web. As you can see, I started and finished it in a few hours.

This book's hero is a plucky young “inspector” named Fatma. She has the smarts and the style to tackle a world that we can only imagine since Cairo was changed a couple decades before this tale by someone who intentionally let magic and magical creatures into the wo
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

I've had to think hard about my rating for this novella, as the story did show some fantastic creativity and I loved some of the descriptive passages & I found the end very exciting.

It's just that I wasn't totally engaged at the start - in fact, I was more than a little confused! This could say more about me as a reader than Clark as a writer.

Anyway a 3.5★ from me means that i have enjoyed the story enough that I want to read more work by the author & I'm hoping to get to The Angel of Khan e
Spencer Orey
May 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
Rad worldbuilding and a fresh spin on urban fantasy. I'm excited to read the novel and see what's possible with a longer story. ...more
Another great short story in the Dead Djinn universe: a murder mystery with a lovecraftian touch.

Can be read here:
J  (Midnight Book Blog)
Jul 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
As usual, I did this the worst way possible and read book 0.6 and half of book 1 before this one. But at least I’m on brand (:
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: sci-fi & steampunk buffs looking for something New
Recommended to jade by: carol.
“most of cairo slept, except for the glow of a gaslight market or the pinprick lights of towering mooring masts where airships came and went by the hour.

her fingers played with her cane’s lion-headed pommel, watching aerial trams that moved high above the city, crackling electricity illuminating the night along their lines.”

last month i had the immense pleasure of reading the haunting of tram car 015, another novella by p. djèlí clark set in an enchanting, 1900s steampunk cairo. thu
In an alternate historical Cairo that is filled with steampunk 12ft tall Angels, magic, and Djinn, a murder mystery unfolds with a queer, Black woman named Fatma who rocks a gentleman's suit, pocket watch, and cane leading the investigation. This story was wonderfully action-packed and filled with supernatural stuff and mysteries. All neatly packed into 50 pages!

I really think this is a great precursor to A Master of Djinn - which I am so excited to read now!. I absolutely adore Fatma's characte
Althea Ann
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Paranormal steampunk fantasy set in 19th century Cairo, starring a feisty female investigator.
Fun, but rather by-the-numbers and not as remarkable as I felt P. Djeli Clark's other story that I've read was. ("Things My Mother Left Me.") That one set my expectations rather high, I have to admit!
Mark Rizk Farag
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
01/04/2021 - Tried the Audiobook second time round and I'd give that a 4 star review 😅. A bit weird but I definitely prefer the text. I feel like the narrator was decent, it felt at times that she was trying too hard with her accent and that while the text wasn't orientalist, the performance certainly was at times. Also the accent more like a 'Jewish Brooklyn' accent than an 'Egyptian Arabic' one (if that's what she was going for). Anyway, enough rambling! The audiobook is mad cheap and if that' ...more
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
A rich taste of UF set in 1912 Egypt, with all the magical goodies you might expect from that part of the world.

It's a classic mystery with a host of the divine and not-so-divine. I suppose I would be MORE interested in a longer tale or a full series rather than this short taste, but from what I've read, I did enjoy it.

Looking forward to more.
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This is the third novella I've read by P. Djèlí Clark and once again I find myself loving his building but not his story or characters. This novella is set in an alternate 1912 Cairo where djinns and angels are the norm. world happens to be the home to djinns Egypt, . In an alternate Cairo infused with the otherworldly, the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities investigate disturbances between the mortal and the (possibly) divine. What starts
i think we're all in agreement here that p. djèlí clark writes the most FASCINATING and immersive worlds ...more
Di Maitland
4.5*s. In just 43 pages, this story evokes a wonderfully exotic and intriguing world that I hope to see more of in future. The story is free to read here on Tor.

Set in 1912 in a Cairo that has traded British colonials for magical beings (an excellent trade if you ask me), the story follows Fatma el-Sha’arawi, Special Investigator for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, as she investigates the death of a very large, blue djinn.

Fatma is one of those people who's so coo
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this - I need to read more Arab inspired fantasy!
Jul 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Angel of Khan El-Khalili ★★★ 1/2
A Dead Djinn in Cairo ★★★★

I really enjoyed this short story and it was a great introduction to the world. I really love the settings and it sounds the closest thing to my culture mixed with fantasy I have ever read. I usually am not a big fan of the steampunk genre but this is really unique and mechanical angels and Djinn sound so interesting!

I am immediately jumping into the novella next before reading the novel!
Mar 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
My rating: 5 magical stars

This is masterful storytelling in all its brilliance!! It would not be farfetched to say that you must have read many a book, with hundreds of pages, with worldbuilding which would not only pale in comparison to this 43-page short story but if those books were alive they would go to a nearby cliff and jump off knowing that they don't even stand a chance here. I certainly have. P. Djèlí is an absolute master in creating these amazingly brilliant worlds and writing such c
may ➹
3.5 stars

It’s impressive how much was able to be packed into this short of a story. There were a few times where I thought it could have benefitted from being a tiny bit longer, where the anticipation could have been built up more, but it was well-paced overall. I am so intrigued by the worldbuilding—from the gleaming city of Cairo, a mix of mechanical wonders and magic, to the threat of dark gods and the multiple other worlds they come from—and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books to see
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SciFi and Fantasy...: "A Dead Djinn in Cairo" by P. Djèlí Clark 8 40 Feb 19, 2020 12:59PM  

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Phenderson Djèlí Clark.

P. Djèlí Clark likes creating fantastic, dangerous, and exciting worlds. Usually with heroines & heroes. Almost always with magic & monsters. His short fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Lightspeed, and in print anthologies including Griots, Steamfunk, Myriad Lands and Hidden Youth.

Other books in the series

Dead Djinn Universe (1 books)
  • A Master of Djinn (Dead Djinn Universe, #1)

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“And her father always said if people were going to stare, you should give them a show.” 7 likes
“She looked closer at the object she’d mistaken for a bookmark—a length of metallic silver tinged with hints of bright mandarin. She picked it up, holding it aloft as it glinted in the gas lamps’ glare.

Aasim cursed, his voice going hoarse. “Is that what I think it is?”

Fatma nodded. It was a metallic feather, as long as her forearm. Along its surface, faint lines of fiery script moved and writhed about as if alive.

“Holy tongue,” Aasim breathed.

“Holy tongue,” she confirmed.

“But that means it belongs to . . .”

“An angel, ” Fatma finished for him.

Her frown deepened. Now what in the many worlds, she wondered, would a djinn be doing with one of these?”
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