Once again Pearce does an excellent job evoking the time and place for his historical mystery. His descriptions are brief but the reader has a definite understanding of the tensions building in this area of the world just prior to the First World War. We are also given a nice peek at a harem--both the general operations and the machinations at work amongst the inmates. He tends to devote a great deal of time to dialogue and tangible clues aren't exactly thick on the ground but he does sprinkle enough hints throughout the conversation that one can (and I did) identify the culprit.
I did find the poisoning of the cat to be interesting. Apparently (it hasn't been entirely clarified), the poison was in the milk. But the cat smelled it and rejected the milk until it was fed candies with marzipan which somehow dulled the sense of smell to the extent that it later drank the milk. Was this a two-part plan? Was the marzipan fed to the cat on purpose and, if so, was the poison really in the chocolates? I found myself more intrigued by the cat's death than the attempt on the ex-Sultan and the death of the British man.....Another solid entry in the historical series. ★★★