Running a bed and breakfast in Riad Waqi, an old courtyard house in exotic Marrakech, is not the escape it seems for Ramzi, a disillusioned Scottish scientist. He cannot decide who are more exasperating, staff or guests, especially when one of the visitors, Paul Gallisot, a young Frenchman, is murdered in the city.
Up for a challenge, Ramzi turns detective and makes his own investigations into the killing, at a time when Morocco prepares for the festival of Eid and the ritual slaughter of sheep in the nation’s homes.
Paul Gallisot’s childhood links to North Africa, his enigmatic wife Nicole, and their relationship with Tahar, who is suspected of being involved in the Casablanca terrorist attacks, lead Ramzi down a path as challenging as the labyrinth of the historic medina of Marrakech.
As Ramzi makes headway, he meets the unorthodox Dr Rashida, is bewildered by Inspector Haddad, endures the prejudice of Paul’s sister, is confided a mystery by an American Bob Spasoff, and in his role as hotelier, plays havoc with Riad Waqi’s guests.
The search for motive and murderer progresses from a traditional exorcism to a journey across the Atlas to the disturbing Blue Rocks near the ancient oasis of Tafrouate. There comedy turns to tragedy as he tests out his suspicions.
As Ramzi uncovers the truth behind Paul Gallisot’s death, he realizes people are unknowable—and that life defies scientific logic.