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Cigars of the Pharaoh begins with Tintin and Snowy on a pleasure cruise in the Mediterranean Sea, where they agree to assist fellow passenger Professor Sophocles Sarcophagus in finding the lost tomb of the Pharaoh Kih-Oskh. Before they reach land, Tintin is framed for drug smuggling and needs to evade the detectives Thomson and Thompson. When Tintin and Sarcophacus locate the tomb, Sarcophagus disappears and Tintin discovers that the tomb itself is being used by an international drug smuggling operation to store boxes containing mysterious cigars bearing the mark of Kih-Oskh. After travelling around Arabia and then India, Tintin finds Sarcophagus, but discovers that he has been driven insane by a mysterious poison being used by the smugglers.
Cigars of the Pharaoh marks the first appearance of regular characters Thomson and Thompson, who are noticeably less incompetent here than they would later become, as well as recurring characters Roberto Rastapopoulos and Senor Oliveira de Figueira.
- Bedlam House: Tintin is falsely incarcerated in one of these at one point.
- Bedouin Rescue Service: Subverted. Tintin at one point sees two Bedouins in the distance while travelling in the desert and intends to ask them for help, but as he approaches them he recognizes them as Thomson and Thompson.
- Contrived Coincidence: Tintin just stumbles onto the base of the villains' operation in India by accident after flying a propeller plane from Arabia in a random direction.
- Characterization Marches On: The Thom(p)sons are much more effective here than in the rest of the series; successfully disguising themselves as Bedouins and veiled women and fooling even Tintin, arranging for Tintin's death to be faked and arriving in the nick of time when Tintin has been knocked out by the Fakir.
- Climbing Climax: At the end, Tintin chases the Fakir and his boss up a mountain.
- Dead Guy on Display: When exploring Kih-Oskh's tomb, Tintin comes across a hall full of dead, mummified explorers on display, as well as three empty sarcophagi with his, Snowy's and Sarcophagus's names on them.
- Disney Villain Death: The unknown ringleader of the smuggling operation suffers this fate. In the next book, it turns out he survived and is in fact Rastapopoulos.
- Early-Bird Cameo: In the redrawn edition, Hergé gave the later recurring villain Allan a small role. However, his role is constructed so that he and Tintin never meet each other to avoid continuity issues.
- Elaborate Underground Base
- Freak-Out: Anyone infected with the Rajaijah juice; including Professor Sarcophagus and Zloty the writer.
- Hollywood Mirage
- His Name Is: Before Zloty can reveal the name of the smuggling ring's leader he is hit by a poison dart contining the Rajaijah juice.
- Hypnotic Eyes: The evil Fakir has this ability.
- Inspector Javert: Thomson & Thompson.
- Jerkass: Rastapopoulos behaves this way when he meets Tintin aboard the ship. He becomes nicer later on, though it's just a ruse.
- Lost at Sea: Tintin, Snowy and Sarcophagus find themselves adrift in sarcophagi in the middle of the ocean.
- Recursive Canon: The Sheik Patrash Pasha recognizes Tintin because he has read the books and even shows him a copy of one of the albums. Even more oddly, in the redrawn version, the album he shows Tintin is Destination Moon, which takes place AFTER Cigars of the Pharaoh, so Literary Agent Hypothesis can't be at work here (in the original version, it is Tintin in America).
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The Maharajah of Gaipajama.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Tintin carves a trumpet and uses it to communicate with elephants at one point.
- Traveling Salesman: Oliveira de Figueira
- You Just Ruined the Shot