Cairo, 1909. The murder capital of the world, where deaths are two a piastre. But the death of an effendi? That is something different. Effendis - the Egyptian elite - are important. Especially if - in a country ruled by foreigners - they happen to be foreign. When Tvardovsky, effendi and foreigner, is shot at a gathering of financiers, the Mamur Zapt, Chief of Cairo's Secret Police, is called to investigate. But is he the right man for the job? In some countries, if someone goes out with the Head of the Secret Police and doesn't come back, it's best not to ask any questions. And there are powerful people who might have preferred Tvardovsky dead.
As Tvardovsky said, before going on the shooting party, there were still crocodiles in Egypt. Of all kinds. And perhaps the place to look for them was Crocodilopolis, where the financiers were to hold their meeting. It is when the crocodiles start co-operating, he said, that you really have to watch out . . .