My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the second in Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series, chronicling the adventures of Amelia Peabody Emerson and her husband, Radcliffe Emerson as they work to uncover the tombs of ancient pharaohs in Victorian era Egypt.
In this installment, we begin with Amelia and Emerson back in England, now married, and the parents of a precocious son. They had left the infant in the care of Amelia’s best friend, Evelyn, and Emerson’s brother, Walter, to go back to excavating in Egypt. Upon their return to England after the excavating season ends, Emerson becomes enthralled with his son, and refuses to leave him behind again. Not wanting to expose the toddler to the less than sanitary conditions of an excavation, the Emerson’s take up residence in England. Emerson is teaching, lecturing, and writing. Amelia is raising their son, helping Emerson with his notes and book, and generally missing the activity and excitement of Egypt. Until Lady Baskerville, and old acquaintance of Emerson’s, arrives with news that her husband, a fellow archaeologist, has discovered a new tomb, and subsequently died mysteriously. Emerson is eventually convinced to leave his son and go to Egypt where they find tales of curses, more mysterious disappearances, and a cast of characters to make their lives most interesting. Of course, Amelia gets right to work solving the mystery.
Okay, so it sounds a lot like the first one. And it is. Most of the books in the series have similar themes and plots. The charm here is the characters. This time around we have competing archaeologists, a tabloid-style Irish reporter, a young woman who becomes the object of several suitors’ attentions, and her mother, an eccentric woman who believes she is the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian queen, and that Emerson is her lost lover (nevermind that history tells a completely different story about the two). Oh, and the requisite ghost to fuel the superstitions of the native population.
The book is easy to listen to, the plot moves along nicely with very few lags or slow spots. The story is not dragged out to fill space. It’s fun, it’s entertaining, and it’s not a deep, thought-provoking tale. Perfect for filling in between those long, deep tales or for a quick vacation read.
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