Book Review: A Dead Djinn in Cairo, by P. Djèlí Clark

I previously enjoyed Djèlí Clark’s “The Haunting of Tram Car 015“, so was looking forward to more stories set in the same world.

What to Expect

This story establishes the world, but many of the same elements as from Tram Car 015 are explained in either story. The stories are short and interesting enough for this not to be repetitive, and essentially – since they involve two different cases with different agents, it doesn’t matter which you read first.

In short, it’s a Steampunk-ish world, where in the early 20th century Egypt – after releasing magic in the mid 19th century – has risen to a world power and ousted Britain from interfering in its affairs. The story itself focuses on agents of the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities — this time dealing with an apparent suicide of a djinn. This story has some slightly more other-worldly, darker overtones, with grander conspiracies rather than a more “local” haunting.

What I liked

I love Djèlí Clark’s prose, very clean, flowing, and engaging. The world-building it top-notch original, with an excellent mix of alternate-history, mad-science, and magic. A perfect blend, and a strong author-voice to carry them through.

What to be aware of

My only quibble is that it’s a very short novelette! I want more — which luckily is due to come next year.

Felix’s Review

Felix had his own clashes with official government agencies trying to control magic and with well-meaning women who meddle in darker arts. He was (cynically) happy to see that the combination didn’t end up in disaster.


Highly recommended reads! Both this novelette and other other novella won many accolades, and they are well-deserved. Read both, and jump on the full novel when it comes out.

Enjoying the reviews, but wondering who the heck is that Felix fellow? Glad you asked! He’s the protagonist of the Toags, Daggers, and Magic series, an historical-fantasy blend of a paranormal detective on the background of ancient Rome. You can meet him via the free short stories!


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