The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djeli Clark is a fantasy novella set in an alternate early 20th century Cairo, where the world of djinn and other supernatural beings has made Egypt a world super-power, and two Agents of the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities — a seasoned agent Hamed and a rookie Onsi — are tasked with solving a mystery of a haunted aerial tram car. Is the tram car haunted?
Clark writes this unique, detective-style story where the city of Cairo comes alive with excellent worldbuilding. Also, the women’s suffrage movement weaves into the story giving it added depth and political currency. Hamed and Onsi are a good pair of old/new school cops as they work together to solve the case. However, the interaction with their supernatural opponent comes very close to being perilous for them.
This story is set in the same world as the short story, A Dead Djinn in Cairo, and the novel, A Master of Djinn. I will have to read those stories to get the full worldview of Clark’s alternate Egypt. The Haunting of Tram Car 015 is an interesting story I liked, but not loved. However, I want to keep exploring more Clark’s work especially after reading this one and The Black God’s Drums. He is adding another layer (and subgenre) to fantasy literature and I’m here for it.