Off on Another Writing Retreat in Cairo

Off on Another Writing Retreat in Cairo


The title of this post is a not-so-clever way to say I’m taking the month of December off from blogging. Back in February, I spent a few weeks in Egypt writing my neo-pulp detective novel The Case of the Purloined Pyramid, which recently won the Kindle Scout contest. It’s coming out soon and I’m using part of my advance to head on back to Cairo to write the next one, The Case of the Shifting Sarcophagus.

I’ll be seeing friends, hopefully making new ones, helping a colleague with his fascinating book proposal, and visiting some sights. Mostly I’ll be wandering around the old medieval neighborhood, where one of my heroes has his antiquities shop. Nothing like walking the actual streets to get the old brain pan bubbling!


Bread seller tucked beneath a busy overpass and two main roads.
Street vendors are everywhere in Cairo. Actually there used to be
lots more, but the new government cleared many of them out, thus
denying thousands of poor workers the chance to make a living.

So to tide you over, here are some photos from my last trip. Type “Cairo” or “Egypt” into the search box and you’ll find plenty more right here on Black Gate. I’ll be regularly updating my Facebook and Instagram starting this time next week, so catch me there if you like.


Koshari, one of the national dishes of Egypt, a mixture
of pasta, rice, chickpeas and a bunch of other stuff topped
with a spicy tomato sauce. One of my faves.


In the older neighborhoods of Cairo you come across lots of
great architecture, such as this relic of the Ottoman period


Most Cairenes live in less ostentatious accommodations,
although the interiors of the apartments are quite homey


A mosque and an Armenian Orthodox Church standing side by
side in my neighborhood. Despite what you hear in the news,
most Egyptians of differing religions get along. The
fundamentalist nutcases, of course, ruin it for everybody else.


Photos copyright Sean McLachlan. More below!

Sean McLachlan is the author of the historical fantasy novel A Fine Likeness, set in Civil War Missouri, and several other titles. Find out more about him on his blog and Amazon author’s page. His latest book, The Case of the Purloined Pyramid, is a neo-pulp detective novel set in Cairo in 1919. It just won the Kindle Scout program and will be published late in 2017.



The infant Horus at the National Museum,
a place I keep going back to again and again


First dynasty decorated mace head


Block statue of Hetep, Inspector of Priests for
the Pyramid of Teti, XII Dynasty, c. 1981-1952 BC


Canopic jars of Kiya, XIII Dynasty, c. 1351-1334 BC.
Kiya was a secondary queen of Akhenaten


The most arresting artifact in the National Museum is
this Old Kingdom death mask. You can still see faces like
this on the streets of Cairo today, four thousand years later.

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