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The Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody, 2) Mass Market Paperback – May 28, 2013
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- Publisher : Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (May 28, 2013)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1455572365
- ISBN-13 : 978-1455572366
- Item Weight : 6.7 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.25 x 1 x 7.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #73,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I, on the other hand, very much enjoyed this book by the late Elizabeth Peters. I like the fact that the book was set in late Victorian times and that it takes place - mostly - in Egypt. I like the fact that, during a period in English history (and American history, for that matter) when women were treated as little more than children that Amelia managed to forge a career alongside her husband. I like the fact that Peters took into account the manners and mores of upper-crust English society when writing this novel and that she remained faithful to the times when women of Amelia's standing did not raise their children but left much of that job to nannies and tutors. Finally, I like the fact that Amelia is tough physically, mentally, and emotionally: That she has the spirit and the spine to undertake an often-dangerous occupation that challenges not only her mind but also her body.
The plot is a little convoluted, which is not a bad thing in my opinion, and revolves around the death of an English nobleman well known for funding archaeological digs in Egypt. The nobleman's widow appeals to Amelia and her husband to finish the work her late spouse was funding and before long the Emerson's are off to Egypt on an adventure. There they find themselves in the midst of thieves, murderers, and untrustworthy sorts of all kinds.
To those that didn't like this book all I can do is apologize because I found that reading this novel was great fun; it's an enjoyable story set in an exotic locale with characters that resonate.
Peters had a distinctive narrative style, often peppering her stories with interesting archaeological tidbits about the ancient pharaohs who ruled Egypt in the days when it was the preeminent power in Africa and the Middle East. Her writing always moved the story forward at a fairly rapid pace.
My take: This is a 5-star read.
“I do not recall precisely what he said next. The comment was brief. He kissed me. I was determined not to kiss him back; but Emerson kisses very well. It was some time before I was able to speak. My suggestion that I call my maid to help me out of my frock was not well received. Emerson offered his services. I pointed out that his method of removing a garment often rendered that garment unserviceable thereafter. This comment was greeted with a wordless snort of derision and a vigorous attack upon the hooks and eyes.
After all, much as I commend frankness in such matters there are areas in which an individual is entitled to privacy. I find myself forced to resort to a typographical euphemism.” Priceless, I must say.
Unable to resist the adventure surrounding the death of Lord Baskerville while excavating a tomb, Emerson and Amelia take up the grieving widow’s offer to continue the excavation and possibly even solve the murder. There is quite a cast of supporting characters and a lively and convoluted mystery before our intrepid heroine figures it all out—though almost not in the nick of time. I found it a little hard to follow but that didn’t decrease my enjoyment; I was along for the ride!
I love that the author is a Egyptology PhD, so the clues to the tomb they were excavating resonated with my tour guide's revelations. I was more intrigued by that aspect of the story than the murder mystery. Amelia seemed to undertake more sleuthing and conjecture in this cozy than in Crocodile on the Sandbank, but she's still equally immersed in the work at the tomb – one (and only one) of the reasons her husband so delights in her.