Monday, August 8, 2016

Golden Scales: a mystery series set in Egypt

Set in the late 1990s, Golden Scales is the first in a projected 10-book series about Makana, a exiled police inspector from Sudan, covering the 1990s up to the Egyptian revolution.

On the surface this is a mystery, with the main character, Makana, hired by a powerful businessman, Hanifi, to locate a missing soccer player, Adil. But life is rarely simple, and personal & political ramifications proliferate as Makana searches for Adil in Cairo. The story is laced with uncomfortable parallels of loss between Hanifi's & Makana's family, as well as between the British woman Liz & Makana.

Makana's integrity after the '90s coup in Sudan endangered his family. Now, living in exile in Egypt, he again attempts to balance integrity & survival where the practice of one attribute endangers the implementation of the other. I liked this novel. It can be read as a straight-up mystery, but following Makana, his friends (and his enemies) also gives a glimpse of some of the societal concerns shaping life in Egypt and Sudan.

The fifth book in the series, City of Jackals, was published in June 2016. For more information about the author, see his two websites: Parker Bilal (his pen name for mysteries) or Jamal Mahjob (his literary fiction) or his Wikipedia entry or this interesting article from 2013. Thanks to Suzanne on Library Thing for introducing me to this series!

Title: Golden Scales
Copyright: 2012
Genre: mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Author: Parker Bilal (pseudonym for Jamal Mahjob)

Also listed in Akilah's Diversity on the Shelf and Naz' Read Diverse Books challenges.


  1. What an ambitious series this must be. It looks like it's about half way through so quickly, it doesn't seem like fans will have to wait very long to read the last book. That's great! Nobody deserves waiting 5 years between some authors make their fans wait. :/

  2. Yeah, seems like he's publishing one a year. It may take me awhile to get through them, but I'm looking forward to watching things through Makana's eyes again.