The Deeds of the Disturber (Amelia Peabody Series #5)

The Deeds of the Disturber (Amelia Peabody Series #5)

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by Elizabeth Peters
     
 

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Can fear kill? There are those who believe so—but Amelia Peabody is skeptical. A respected Egyptologist and amateur sleuth, Amelia has foiled felonious schemes from Victoria's England to the Middle East. And she doubts that it was a Nineteenth-Dynasty mummy's curse that caused the death of a night watchman in the British Museum. The corpse was found sprawled

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Overview

Can fear kill? There are those who believe so—but Amelia Peabody is skeptical. A respected Egyptologist and amateur sleuth, Amelia has foiled felonious schemes from Victoria's England to the Middle East. And she doubts that it was a Nineteenth-Dynasty mummy's curse that caused the death of a night watchman in the British Museum. The corpse was found sprawled in the mummy's shadow, a look of terror frozen on the guard's face. What—or who—killed the unfortunate man is a mystery that seems too intriguingly delicious for Amelia to pass up, especially now that she, her dashing archaeologist husband, Emerson, and their precocious son, Ramses, are back on Britain's shores. But a contemporary curse can be as lethal as one centuries old—and the foggy London thoroughfares can be as treacherous as the narrow, twisting alleyways of Cairo after dark—when a perpetrator of evil deeds sets his murderous sights on his relentless pursuer . . . Amelia Peabody!

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Editorial Reviews

Denver Post
Charming...outrageous!
New York Times Book Review
Between Amelia Peabody and Indiana Jones, it's Amelia, in wit and daring, by a landslide.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
This author never fails to entertain.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Peters (Barbara Michaels) regales thriller fans with the fifth tale about spunky Amelia Peabody, her ardent spouse Emerson and their small son Walter, ``Ramses,'' a genius who sorely tries his parents. In the new story, the family is home in England from their archeological dig in Egypt and deep in another mystery. Determined Victorian feminist Peabody refuses to be intimidated by a phenomenon reported at the British Museum, where a sem priest is supposedly working a curse in revenge for the desecration of an ancient mummy. The priest's supernatural figure is momentarily glimpsed at the exhibit, before a murderer strikes. Disobeying Emerson, of course, Peabody lays her life on the line and unmasks the decidedly human villain. There are several intriguing new characters in this mystery, including nasty types who persecute Ramses, creating unexpectedly tender moments between mother and child. But the spotlight shines brightest on Peabody and Emerson, a couple evenly matched as hot-blooded lovers and professional partners. This is one of grandmaster Peters/Michaels best. (April)
Library Journal
Fifth in the exceptional series that begins with Crocodile on the Sandbank , this adventure catches irascible archaeologist Amelia Peabody in London between digs. A mysterious death in front of a ``cursed'' mummy case in the British Museum piques Amelia's curiosity, and a subsequent connected murder engages her perspicacious intervention completely. Dangerously precocious son Ramses (at times disguised) and formidably handsome husband Emerson (at times stubbornly obtuse) contribute to the usual mayhem. First-rate, densely packed action, fun, and atmosphere. REK

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061999222
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/22/2011
Series:
Amelia Peabody Series, #5
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
301,242
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

In a great many respects I count myself among the most fortunate of women. To be sure, a cynic might point out that this was no great distinction in the nineteenth century of the Christian era, when women were deprived of most of the "inalienable rights" claimed by men. This period of history is often known by the name of the sovereign; and although no one respects the Crown more than Amelia Peabody Emerson, honesty compels me to note that her gracious Majesty's ignorant remarks about the sex she adorned did nothing to raise it from the low esteem in which it was held.

I digress. I am unable to refrain from doing so, for the wrongs of my oppressed sisters must always waken a flame of indignation in my bosom. How far are we, even now, from the emancipation we deserve? When, oh when will justice and reason prevail, and Woman descend from the pedestal on which Man has placed her (in order to prevent her from doing anything except standing perfectly still) and take her rightful place beside him?

Heaven only knows. But as I was saying, or was about to say, I was fortunate enough to o'erleap (or, some might say, burst through) the social and educational barriers to female progress erected by jealous persons of the opposite sex. Having inherited from my father both financial independence and a thorough classical education, I set out to see the world.

I never saw the world; I stayed my steps in Egypt; for in the antique land of the pharaohs I found my destiny. Since that time I have pursued the profession of archaeology, and though modesty prevents me from claiming more than is my due, I may say that mycontributions to that profession have not been inconsiderable.

In those endeavors I have been assisted by the greatest Egyptologist of this or any other century, Radcliffe Emerson, my devoted and distinguished spouse. When I give thanks to the benevolent Creator (as I frequently do), the name of Emerson figures prominently in my conversation. For, though industry and intelligence play no small part in worldly success, I cannot claim any of the credit for Emerson being what he is, or where he was, at the time of our first meeting. Surely it was not chance, or an idle vagary of fortune that prompted the cataclysmic event. No! Fate, destiny, call it what you will—-it was meant to be. Perchance (as oft I ponder when in vacant or in pensive mood) the old pagan philosophers were right in believing that we have all lived other lives in other ages of the world. Perchance that encounter in the dusty halls of the old Boulaq Museum was not our first meeting; for there was a compelling familiarity about those, blazing sapphirine orbs, those steady lips and dented chin (though to be sure at the time it was hidden by a bushy beard which I later persuaded Emerson to remove). Still in vacant and in pensive mood, I allowed my fancy to wander—-as we perchance had wandered, among the mighty pillars of ancient Karnak, his strong sun-brown hand clasping mine, his muscular frame attired in the short kilt and beaded collar that would have displayed his splendid physique to best advantage?

I perceive I have been swept away by emotion, as I so often am when I contemplate Emerson's remarkable attributes. Allow me to return to my narrative.

No mere mortal should expect to attain perfect bliss in this imperfect world. I am a rational individual; I did not expect it. However, there are limits to the degree of aggravation a woman may endure, and in the spring of 18—, when we were about to leave Egypt after another season of excavation, I had reached that limit.

Thoughtless persons have sometimes accused me of holding an unjust prejudice against the male sex. Even Emerson has hinted at it—-and Emerson, of all people, should know better. When I assert that most of the aggravation I have endured has been caused by members of that sex, it is not prejudice, but a simple statement of fact. Beginning with my estimable but maddeningly absent-minded father and five despicable brothers, continuing through assorted murderers, burglars, and villains, the list even includes my own son. In fact, if I kept a ledger, Walter Peabody Emerson, known to friends and foes alike as Ramses, would win the prize for the constancy and the degree of aggravation caused me.

One must know Ramses to appreciate him. (I use the verb in its secondary meaning, "to be fully sensible of, through personal experience," rather than "to approve warmly or esteem highly.") I cannot complain of his appearance, for I am not so narrow-minded as to believe that Anglo-Saxon coloring is superior to the olive skin and jetty curls of the eastern Mediterranean races Ramses strongly (and unaccountably) resembles. His intelligence, as such, is not a source of dissatisfaction. I had taken it for granted that any child of Emerson's and mine would exhibit superior intelligence; but I confess I had not anticipated it would take such an extraordinary form. Linguistically Ramses was a juvenile genius. He had mastered the hieroglyphic language of ancient Egypt before his eighth birthday; he spoke Arabic with appalling fluency (the adjective refers to certain elements of his vocabulary); and even his command of his native tongue was marked at an early age by a ponderous pomposity of style more suitable to a venerable scholar than a small boy.

People were often misled by this talent into believing Ramses must be equally precocious in other areas. ("Catastrophically precocious" was a term sometimes applied by those who came upon Ramses unawares.) Yet, like the young Mozart, he had one supreme gift—-an ear for languages as remarkable as was Mozart's for music—-and was, if anything, rather below the average in other ways. (I need not remind the cultured reader of Mozart's unfortunate marriage and miserable death.)

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