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A Dead Djinn in Cairo

(Fatma el-Sha’arawi #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  3,649 ratings  ·  732 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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carol.
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
...more
Sara
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
...more
Mir
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.
Dennis
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 o
...more
HBalikov
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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... 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
...more
jade
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Anna Luce
/ / / Read more reviews on my blog / / /

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. Wha
...more
Richard Derus
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5* of five

A delicious taste. More, please.
Mark Farag
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Whenever I delve into any book which uses Egypt as a setting or in any way refers to the Pharaohs or uses Egyptian themes in its narratives I am cautious and wary. Can you blame me? I watched the mummy with Brandon Frasier after all ('he bears the mark of the slaves') , I witnessed the release of Gods of Egypt (with an almost all white cast) and I've even watched the masses consume chocolate hummus. I do not want to suffer further indignities.

But in this work, Djeli Clark does such a good job of
...more
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!
Sara
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this - I need to read more Arab inspired fantasy!
Skip
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. R ...more
Lata
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 wo ...more
Moon
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories-sf
"Everything I do is obviously political, I don't think there's anything I write that doesn't have some kind of political motif. If I'm writing works like A Dead Djinn in Cairo, yeah, I want to tell this wonderful tale, first and foremost I want to tell the story, but I'm also well aware that in having a queer woman character as the main lead, and having the anticolonial narratives in there, and deciding to set this steampunk story outside of Victorian England I'm immediately engaging in politics
...more
Sahitya
Definitely a solid 4.5.

I’ve always heard that the short stories by Tor.com are awesome but never got around to reading any before. But as I’m waiting for the nebula nominated The Haunting of Tram Car 015 to arrive from the library, I decided to try this short in the meantime. And it was just wow.

Clocking at just about 40 pages, I was only expecting a fun murder mystery being solved by a female investigator but I didn’t expect the author to capture the atmosphere of a steampunk, paranormal earl
...more
Kaa
Fabulous world-building and a wonderful lead character. I really enjoyed this novelette, and am absolutely THRILLED to know that there will be a novel starring Fatma.
Martin
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
...more
G.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5/5
The plot is simplistic, but the worldbuilding is pretty great, especially for a short story.
GoldGato
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it

Plum Gingerbread. That's what this nifty Tor.com 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
...more
mina reads™️
I really wish this was a full length novel 😩
4.5
Joan
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was so good! Fun, exciting, adventurous etc etc. I loved reading about the city of Cairo and I can’t wait to dig deeper into this authors other books.
A.M.
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.
Fatma’s wat
...more
Stephen
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.
Oleksandr Zholud
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a novelette about alt-history Cairo at the start of XX century. The border between worlds was breached a generation ago and now magic is real, Egypt is a powerful state and people coexist with Djinns and angels.

Just like the title suggests, the story starts with a dead djinn, exsanguinated and there are for strange symbols next to the victim. The protagonist, Fatma el-Sha’arawi, is well-educated female detective working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities
...more
abi
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5*

ahhhhh. this should be a full-length novel.
Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura)
Really enjoyed this one! The audiobook was really good too.
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: https://www.kevinhong.com/
...more
Montzalee Wittmann
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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!
Suaad (I just want a cat)
Update January 2020:
Upped the rating to 5 stars and added to favourites shelf because this novella was remarkable. Clark achieved so much in such a short story that it's still fresh in my mind even a year later

Also, we are getting a full novel in the same world soon so woohoo!
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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, Tor.com and in print anthologies including Griots, Steamfunk, Myriad Lands and Hidden Youth.
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Other books in the series

Fatma el-Sha’arawi (3 books)
  • The Haunting of Tram Car 015, (Fatma el-Sha’arawi, #2)
  • A Master of Djinn (Fatma el-Sha’arawi, #3)

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“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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“And her father always said if people were going to stare, you should give them a show.” 3 likes
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