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A Dead Djinn in Cairo

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,733 ratings  ·  355 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 ...more
ebook, 41 pages
Published May 18th 2016 by Tor Books
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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
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Dennis by: Mir
Cairo, 1912. Fatma el-Sha’arawi, special investigator with the Egyptian Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities, comes across a dead djinn that has been drained of his blood. Together with her partner inspector Aasim Sharif she starts to look into the case.

Their investigation will lead them to palaces, into a mausoleum, and through the streets of Cairo. Some steampunk elements are to be found in this alternate Cairo, but they are not predominant. The most prominent feature
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.
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
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!
Richard Derus
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5* of five

A delicious taste. More, please.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. I loved the world building; I got a great picture, even though this is only a short, of a complex world with interesting social dynamics because of the presence of the djinn, ghul, ifrit and Angels existing alongside humans. I kept picturing a nattily-dressed Fatma making her way through Cairo on her investigations of otherworldly incidents. I would happily follow Fatma through more of her cases. My only complaint about this great story is that I want more Fatma and Siti saving the ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Set in a steampunk version of Cairo in 1912, Fatma el-Sha’arawi is a special investigator with the Egyptian Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities. She is called to a murder, where a dead djinn has been exsanguinated. Her investigation leads her to the famous City of the Dead, where she finds ghouls feasting, eventually figuring out an evil plot to unleash chaos. While I appreciate Arabian mythology and the Cairene setting, the characters are significantly underdeveloped. ...more
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
The same but different.

Enter the alternate world of eastern magic set Cairo about 1920.

The story's title caught my eye. It reminded me of the "Dead man in..." series of detective/murder novels by Michael Pearce, which are set around the Mediterranean. This story looked so similar that I began reading it.

Our detective, Fatma, is a young lady working alongside men who can not quite accept her.

The beginning of magic...
al-Jahiz, the famed Soudanese mystic and inventor. Some named him as one and the
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it

Plum Gingerbread. That's what this nifty short read is...Plum Gingerbread.

Continuing my 'affair' with Egyptian tales (The Names of Things, Voyage to the Pharos, What Life Was Like on the Banks of the Nile: Egypt, 3050-30 BC, The Alchemist, Chronicle of the Pharaohs: The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt, The Keys of Egypt: The Race to Crack the Hieroglyph Code, The Golem and the Jinni), I eagerly awaited my chance to read of the land of magic (well, it is
Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The plot is simplistic, but the worldbuilding is pretty great, especially for a short story.
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a teen I read way too much Lawrence Durrell… I know, I know, what was I even doing reading it? But, I loved his descriptions of Alexandria and Egypt. This story feels like that to me. Evocative.
It’s also a magic steampunk version of The Mummy, if the librarian was a policewoman who dresses like an Englishman (tailored suit, bowler hat, cane and fob watch), and the rogue who helps rescue her is a claw and rifle wielding Nubian magic wielder who is also female and flirts with menace.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! 6 stars.

In a scant 40 pages Clark creates an exquisite and fully realized world, characters and mythology, and tells a great tale that feels fully complete, not one additional word required. So good I read it twice! Many authors struggle to do half as much, half as well in 300-400 pages. A writer to watch. VERY highly recommended for lovers of fantasy, particularly those who love fantasy with an exotic Egypt/Middle East/North African influence.
Montzalee Wittmann
Very entertaining!

A Dead Djinn in Cairo is a short story but has all the fun from a big book crammed into it! Angels, djinns, magic, and more! Interesting characters U would love to see in a novel, and a great plot!
Peter Tillman
Well-written and fun, if not quite first-rate. Or, maybe, just not quite my sort of thing? Anyway, worth a try, if exotic Steampunk is your choice. Chthulhu pushing through the Great Clock.... A bit much, but love the artwork!

More of Kevin Hong (the Illustrator's) work:
mina reads™️
I really wish this was a full length novel
Matthew Quann
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun and quick

I was delighted to see The Haunting of Tram Car 015 had a prequel short story from a few years ago. The world remains interesting, and this story is action-packed. It doesn’t have all the charm of Haunting’s case, and is more focused on bombastic, widescreen action. All the same, this is good fantasy fun. Would recommend to fans of Clark’s work!
Karina Webster
This was fun! Would love a full length novel set in this world
More please. :) Fun adventure in an alternate 1912 Egypt. The opening made me expect more of a mystery, but it was more adventure in that Fatma is led to the showdown with the big evil rather than puzzling it out, but the setting and characters are cool, and I'll certainly pick up any more of Fatma's adventures if some novels or more shorts are forthcoming.
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Came for the Djinn, stayed for the suave, badass MC. I quickly fell in love with Fatma and her cunning. This woman totally deserves her own novel. A Dead Djinn in Cairo is fast, fun, and lush. I highly recommend this story as well as other works by Phenderson!
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fun short story set a steam-punk, jinn and ghul loaded, alt-Cairo. I enjoyed the main character a lot and her interactions with the other folks, human and otherwise, in the story
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Egyptian steampunk-like paranormal murder mystery? Yes.

A Dead Djinn in Cairo is one of the best shorts I've read in a while. The first thing I thought after finishing this story was how I wanted more from this world, and then I remembered that the novella The Haunting of Tram Car 015 will be set there too. I was already anticipating it because I loved The Black God's Drums, but now? I can't wait.

Anyway, this is a story about an Egyptian investigator, Fatma, trying to understand if a
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Dead Djinn in Cairo is the third story by P. Djèlí Clark that I have had the pleasure to read and review. In all three stories, Clark demonstrates a keen ability to tease out small details to the reader and build an evocative and confident story.

He manages to do all this within the confines of a short story. I think he is one of the best fantasy short story writers working today.

A Dead Djinn in Cairo is the tale of investigator Fatma el-Sha'arawi in 1912 steampunk Cairo. A confident,
This was terrific. Really fun to read with a compelling female lead. It left me wanting more.
Nadine Jones

“Are we still alive?” Aasim whispered in the silence.

Fatma released a long-held breath. They were alive, but with more questions than they had started with.

This is a Tor short that feels like a full-length novel, and you'll wish it was a lot longer than it is.

The genre: steampunk paranormal murder mystery set in early 20th Century Cairo
The set-up: Sometime around 1880, someone drilled a hole between our world and the djinn world in Egypt. Things haven't been the same since.
The murder: a djinn
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5? 4? I certainly enjoyed reading it, though there are some problematic elements in this short story.

This is a steampunk detective novella set in 1900s Cairo with djinni and ghuls. It has a lot in common with the feel of Throne of the Crescent Moon, but more than anything else, it reminds me of the ridiculousness and irreverent *fun* of watching The Mummy as a kid. As in, the setting is mostly window-dressing and anachronisms and attempted one-liners abound.

But! The British Egyptologist trope
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Steampunk fans, Early Anita Blake fans

This must be made into a book immediately! Remember the glory days of Anita Blake, when she was a supernatural cop keeping St. Louis safe from the things that go bump in the night. Now imagine all that but with a spicier flavor, imagine steampunk Cairo!

This is the best TOR I've read so far!

Everyone read it for yourselves!
Bryn Hammond
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: imagined-fiction
Fun and nicely written. I'm glad we now have a novella ('Tram Car') in this same world of 1912 Cairo, where Egypt is a world heavyweight due to a djinn-related discovery, and has sent the Brits slinking home. I hope we see more of Fatma, and her colonial-irony English suits. I hope, as hinted, she takes up with the woman who worships ancient Egyptian gods (a new fad) and helped her against the 'alleged angels'.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read, fantasy
Actual rating: 4.00
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Imagine an early 1900's in which magic had been introduced a generation before. That is the world of this story. It takes place in an Egypt where djinn and angels live amongst humans, and magic is an everyday occurrence. The protagonist is investigating the murder of a djinn, but the stakes quickly escalate. World building is a really strong point of this story. It blends fantasy with Egyptian culture in a way that is fascinating. The only thing I can complain about is that it is so short. I ...more
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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.
“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?”
“Even now, you fail to grasp the strength of my conviction.” And with those last words, he plunged the three blades through his body—one stabbing into his chest, a second ripping apart the armor surrounding his heart, and a third sliding through the metallic links of his neck. Bright fluid like the blood of a star poured from the wounds. He swayed, then toppled to crash upon the ground and was still.

“Well, that was unexpected,” Siti remarked.”
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