Greetings, my bookish peeps. I often find it amazing that we can travel the world and even back in time simply by opening a book. As readers, we can borrow a book from our local library system or purchase a book from our local indie bookseller and travel the globe. Readers reap the benefit of untold numbers of hours of research done by the writer. I, for one, am incredibly grateful that writers are so diligent in their research and incorporate the knowledge they’ve gained via this research into their writings. One such writer is Kelly Oliver. Ms. Oliver is the author of the recently released, Covert in Cairo, and she joins us today to discuss the research she made into early twentieth-century Cairo. Thank you, Ms. Oliver, for joining us today. I can’t wait to learn more about your research and writing.
Fiona Figg and Kitty Lane’s latest adventure, Covert in Cairo, takes them to… you guessed it. Cairo! This is the only place Fiona has been that I haven’t. I’m so jealous. But I sent to her Cairo at the end of the pandemic, and I had to settle for a trip to Cairo in my imagination.
As a result, I did a ton of research for the book. And I had so much fun learning about the history of Cairo and the place of Egypt in the First World War. I especially enjoyed reading about the grand hotels of Cairo.
In Covert in Cairo, Fiona Figg and Kitty Lane stay in Shepheard’s Hotel. I first heard of Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo in the novels of Elizabeth Peters. Her Amelia Peabody Mysteries are set in Egypt, and they were a huge influence on Fiona Figg. I absolutely love Amelia Peabody, especially as read in the audiobook by the incredible voice artist Barbara Rosenblatt.
I’m thrilled that in a month, at Malice Domestic, I get to dress up at Amelia Peabody as part of the celebration of Elizabeth Peter’s mysteries. I have my pith helmet and my red parasol with matching outfit. I’m just waiting for the lace-up boots to arrive. It’s going to be so much fun.
Amelia always spoke so fondly of her times at Shepheard’s.
Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo was built in 1841 by Englishman Samuel Shepheard. By the end of the 19th Century, it was known throughout the world as one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, and the first to have private bathrooms in each of its guestrooms. Its corridors were large enough to turn a four-horse carriage. And it was famous for its open-air terrace.
It was said, if you sat there long enough, you’d see the entire world pass by.
With lush gardens, a private zoo, grand granite pillars, magnificent stained-glass windows, and was adorned with colorful tapestries and Persian carpets, it was one of the finest hotels in the world. Weekly balls with evening gowns and dress uniforms were a must for ex-pats.
The hotel had many famous guests, including Theodore Roosevelt, T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), Gertrude Bell, Winston Churchill, and the Prince of Wales, among many others. Lawrence of Arabia and Gertrude Bell have supporting roles in Covert in Cairo.
I read fantastic stories of the Prince of Wales hitting golf balls in the garden, to Winston Churchill forgetting his hat and claiming it a decade later with the same claim ticket.
I also enjoyed researching the food of Egypt. Wherever she travels—at the encouragement of her more worldly friend Clifford—Fiona tries the local cuisine. In this department, I’m a lot more adventurous than Fiona.
Still, Fiona likes to eat. I mean, who doesn’t, right? And good food is a staple of cozy mysteries. I love to include recipes in my newsletter for the food Fiona tries on her various missions.
In Cairo, she was especially taken with the pudding course or dessert. And her sidekick, Kitty Lane is famous for her sweet tooth. Kitty’s favorites are Konafa, a warm dessert made of vermicelli-like strands of dough and either custard or warm milk and nuts, and Om Ali or fragrant Egyptian Bread Pudding, a simple pudding made from special bread, milk, and butter, possibly topped with rose petals and pistachios.
Not as adventurous as Kitty, Fiona’s perennial favorite snack is a few slices of toast served with a whole pot of marmalade and a strong cup of tea.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry! Time for a snack. ♦
Covert in Cairo
by Kelly Oliver
April 24 – May 19, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
Ancient mummies aren’t the only bodies buried in the tombs of Cairo.
The notorious Fredrick Fredricks has lured Fiona to Egypt with a cryptic threat on the Suez Canal.
But when a cheeky French archeologist is murdered, and an undercover British agent goes missing, the threat moves closer to home.
Is the notorious Fredrick Fredricks behind the murders? Or is the plot even more sinister?
Competing excavators, jealous husbands, secret lovers, and belligerent spies are the leading suspects.
As they dig deeper, soon Fiona and Kitty are up to their donkeys in dead bodies.
If they can’t unwind the clues and catch the killer, they might end up sharing a sarcophagus with Nefertiti.
With humor as dry as the Arabian desert, and pacing as fast as a spitting camel, Fiona and Kitty are back in another sparkling adventure, this time in WW1 Egypt.
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: April 2023
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 9781804831700 (Paperback)
ASIN: B0BMF2YYQM (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B0BXYT5XKB (Audible audiobook)
Series: A Fiona Figg & Kitty Lane Mystery, 2 (These are Stand-Alone Mysteries)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Bookshop.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
PRAISE FOR FIONA FIGG:
“Perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and Maisie Dobbs.”
“Tantalizing and riveting with a good dose of humor while keeping the heartbreaking reality of war in the mix.”
The Los Angeles Post
“A clever mix of humor and espionage that will keep you turning the pages and laughing all the way!”
Dianne Freeman, author the Countess of Harleigh mysteries.
“A perfect blend of wit, fun, and intrigue.”
Debra Goldstein, Author of the Sarah Blair Cozy Mysteries
“The perfect wartime spy: Fiona Figg. Smart, sneaky, and full of surprises… A fun whodunit that will keep you turning the pages!”
Cathi Stoler, author of The Murder On The Rocks Mysteries
“Fun, easy-to-read, witty mystery that had me happily turning the pages.”
“Humor, action, and intrigue. I found myself thoroughly entertained.”
Urban Book Reviews
Covert in Cairo Trailer:
Kelly Oliver is the award-winning and bestselling author of three mystery series: the seven-book suspense series, The Jessica James Mysteries; the three-book middle-grade kids’ series, Pet Detective Mysteries; and the four-book historical cozy series, The Fiona Figg Mysteries, inspired by those trips to the Green Hills Library.
Currently, Kelly is the Vice President of Sisters in Crime.
When she’s not writing novels, Kelly is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.
To learn more about Kelly and her books, go to:
BookBub – @KellyOliverBook
Instagram – @kellyoliverbook
Twitter – @kellyoliverbook
Facebook – @kellyoliverauthor
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