Sinister intertwining

The Labyrinth of Osiris, by Paul Sussman, Bantam Press, RRP£12.99, 560 pages

When a female investigative journalist is found garrotted in Jerusalem’s Armenian Cathedral, the problem is not uncovering her enemies but working through a list that includes the bosses of a multinational corporation. Arieh Ben-Roi is the detective charged with the task, and he enlists the help of Yusuf Khalifa of the Egyptian police. Khalifa, in turn, needs to find out who’s poisoning desert wells, and soon the cases intertwine. By the time Khalifa is trapped in the titular labyrinth, he’s not the only one sweating.

From the cover and title, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Sussman is after Dan Brown’s crown, but take heart. This is a genuinely exciting read from a world-class storyteller. Sussman pulls together the strands of a complex, well-researched tale with ease, combining his archaeological puzzler with contemporary Middle Eastern concerns. It’s a beautifully observed thriller that’s sadly also the author’s last, following his death in May.

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