The Mummy Case (Amelia Peabody Series #3)

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Overview

Radcliffe Emerson, the irascible husband of fellow archaeologist Amelia Peabody, has earned the nickname "Father of Curses"?and in Mazghunah he demonstrates why. Denied permission to dig at the pyramids of Dahshoor, he and Amelia are resigned to excavating mounds of rubble in the middle of nowhere. But before long Amelia, Emerson, and their precocious son, Ramses, find themselves entangled in The Mummy Case

In Cairo, before setting out to the site, Amelia visits an antiquities ...

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The Mummy Case (Amelia Peabody Series #3)

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Overview

Radcliffe Emerson, the irascible husband of fellow archaeologist Amelia Peabody, has earned the nickname "Father of Curses"—and in Mazghunah he demonstrates why. Denied permission to dig at the pyramids of Dahshoor, he and Amelia are resigned to excavating mounds of rubble in the middle of nowhere. But before long Amelia, Emerson, and their precocious son, Ramses, find themselves entangled in The Mummy Case

In Cairo, before setting out to the site, Amelia visits an antiquities dealer to inquire about some papyri for her brother-in-law, Walter. At the dealer's shop she interrupts a mysterious-sounding conversation. And then, even more alarmingly, the dealer attempts to refuse to sell her a scrap of papyrus Ramses discovers in the back room. When the dealer is found dead in his shop just a day later, Amelia becomes convinced that foul play is at hand, a suspicion that is further confirmed when she catches sight of the sinister stranger from the crime scene at her own excavation site.

But it takes more than Amelia's keen instincts to convince Emerson of dastardly deeds. When Ramses's scrap of papyrus is stolen from their camp, and a neighboring tourist is relieved of an entire mummy, Emerson concedes that they may be facing something more ominous than a simple grave robber. Aided (to their dismay) by Ramses and his preternaturally intelligent cat, Bastet, Amelia and Emerson turn their detective skills to investigating the neighboring suspects, including a trio of missionaries, a widowed German baroness, and even the head of the Department of Antiquities. But when the Emersons start digging for answers in an ancient tomb, events take a darker and deadlier turn—and there may be no surviving the very modern terrors their efforts reveal.

Filled with spine-tingling suspense, precise archaeological and historical detail, and Amelia Peabody's trademark witty, wry voice, Elizabeth Peters's The Mummy Case is a classic installment in the beloved Amelia Peabody series.

Emerson, Amelia Peabody's archaeologist husband, is on a dig where nothing seems worthy of interest, until a sinister murder suspect turns up at the site. Amelia can't resist following his trail, but danger mounts when she and Emerson look for answers in an ancient tomb that nearly becomes their grave. From the author of Night Train to Memphis. Reissue.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061429781
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/4/2007
  • Series: Amelia Peabody Series , #3
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Peters

Elizabeth Peters earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. She was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1998. In 2003, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Malice Domestic Convention. She lives in a historic farmhouse in western Maryland.

Biography

Neither the Great Depression nor the lack of a public library in her small hometown of Canton, Illinois, deterred Barbara Mertz (the future Elizabeth Peters) from becoming an avid reader. Yet, when her family moved to a suburb of Chicago, she was elated to discover the riches contained in the town's local library and proceeded to devour every book she could get her hands on. She began writing in high school; but by that time she had already decided to become an archaeologist.

Mertz received a scholarship to the University of Chicago, which boasted a world-famous Egyptology department. Her mother, an eminently practical soul, encouraged her daughter to become a teacher; but after taking only two education courses, Mertz knew a career in the classroom was not for her. Determined to follow her dream, she moved over to the university's Oriental Institute, and received her Ph.D. in Egyptology at the age of 23.

The post-WWII job market wasn't kind to women in general, much less to women seeking careers in archaeology. Mertz married and began a family, but never lost sight of her life's ambition. While she was raising her two children, she decided to try her hand at writing. Her first few attempts were never published, but they did land her an agent; and in 1964 she published her first book, Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt.

Mertz authored two additional works on archaeology before foraying into fiction in 1966. The Master of Blacktower is the first of several gothic suspense novels written under the pseudonym Barbara Michaels. (In her biography, she explains that the use of pseudonyms helps readers to distinguish various types of books written by a single author.) The supernatural elements in the thrillers penned under the Michaels name have kept readers on the edge of their seats for decades.

In the 1970s, Mertz began writing under her second, more famous pseudonym, Elizabeth Peters. As Peters, she has authored books in three different series. Beginning in 1972 with The Seventh Sinner (1972), the first series features a glamorous librarian-turned-romance novelist named Jacqueline Kirby (the final Jacqueline Kirby mystery, Naked Once More, won a coveted Agatha Award in 1989). The second series, starring American art historian Vicky Bliss, debuted in 1973 with Borrower of the Night (Vicky's last outing was 2008's Laughter of Dead Kings). Then, in 1975, Peters introduced her most famous protagonist, archeologist/sleuth Amelia Peabody, in a dandy adventure entitled Crocodile on the Sandbank.

From the first, readers loved Amelia, a plucky Victorian feminist who—together with her husband, the distinguished Egyptologist Radcliffe Emerston—has gone on to solve countless mysteries in the Middle East. Peabody fans received an extra treat in 2003 with Amelia Peabody's Egypt: A Compendium to Her Journals, a nonfiction stroll through ancient Egypt that included nearly 600 photographs and illustrations, plus expert academic articles.

In addition to her three series, Mertz has written several standalone suspense novels as Elizabeth Peters. She has this to say about her successful, prolific career: "The craft of writing delights me. It is impossible to attain perfection; there is always something more to be learned—figuring out new techniques of plotting or characterization, struggling with recalcitrant sentences until I force them to approximate my meaning. And nothing is ever wasted. Everything one sees and hears, everything one learns, can be used."

Good To Know

The pseudonym Elizabeth Peters is taken from her two children, Elizabeth and Peter. She uses three pseudonyms so readers can tell the difference between the three types of books she writes: nonfiction archaeology as Barbara Mertz, supernatural thrillers as Barbara Michaels and historical mysteries as Peters. For the record, Mertz has called the pseudonyms "a horrible nuisance."
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    1. Also Known As:
      Barbara Mertz, Barbara Michaels
    2. Hometown:
      A farm in rural Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 29, 1927
    2. Place of Birth:
      Canton, Illinois
    1. Date of Death:
      August 8, 2013

Read an Excerpt

The Mummy Case


By Elizabeth Peters

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Elizabeth Peters
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060878118

Chapter One

I never meant to marry. In my opinion, a woman born in the last half of the nineteenth century of the Christian era suffered from enough disadvantages without willfully embracing another. That is not to say that I did not occasionally indulge in daydreams of romantic encounters; for I was as sensible as any other female of the visible attractions of the opposite sex. But I never expected to meet a man who was my match, and I had no more desire to dominate a spouse than to be ruled by him. Marriage, in my view, should be a balanced stalemate between equal adversaries.

I had resigned myself to a life of spinsterhood when, at a somewhat advanced age, I met Radcliffe Emerson. Our first encounter was not romantic. Never will I forget my initial sight of Emerson, as we stood face to face in that dismal hall of the Boulaq Museum -- his black beard bristling, his blue eyes blazing, his fists clenched, his deep baritone voice bellowing invectives at me for dusting off the antiquities. Yet even as I answered his criticism in kind, I knew in my heart that our lives would be intertwined.

I had several logical, sensible reasons for accepting Emerson's offer of marriage. Emerson was an Egyptologist; and my first visit to the realm of the pharaohsplanted seeds of affection for that antique land that were soon to blossom into luxuriant flower. Emerson's keen intelligence and acerbic tongue -- which had won him the title "Father of Curses" from his devoted Egyptian workmen -- made him a foeman worthy of my steel. And yet, dear Reader, these were not my real reasons for yielding to Emerson's suit. I deplore cliches, but in this case I must resort to one. Emerson swept me off my feet. I am determined to be completely candid as I pen these pages, for I have made certain they will not be published, at least during my lifetime. They began as a personal Journal, perused only by a Critic whose intimate relationship gave him access to my private thoughts -- so he claimed at any rate; as his remarks on style and content of my writing became more critical, I decided to disallow the claim and lock up my Journals. They are therefore mine alone, and unless my heirs decide that the scholarly world should not be deprived of the insights contained therein (which may well occur), no eyes but mine will read these words.

Why, then, the gentle Reader will ask, do I infer his or her existence by addressing her, or him? The answer should be obvious. Art cannot exist in a vacuum. The creative spirit must possess an audience. It is impossible for a writer to do herself justice if she is only talking to herself.

Having established this important point, I return to my narrative.

Not only did Emerson sweep me off my feet, I swept him off his. (I speak figuratively, of course.) By current standards I am not beautiful. Fortunately for me, Emerson's tastes in this area, as in most others, are highly original. My complexion, which others find sallow and dark, he described (on one memorable occasion) as resembling the honey of Hymettus; my coarse, jet-black hair, which refuses to remain confined in braids, buns, or nets, arouses in him a peculiar variety of tactile enjoyment; and his remarks about my figure, which is unfashionably slender in some areas and overly endowed in others, cannot be reproduced, even here.

By any standards Emerson is a remarkably fine-looking man. He stands over six feet tall, and his stalwart frame possesses the elasticity and muscular development of youth, thanks to a vigorous outdoor life. Under the rays of the benevolent Egyptian sun his brawny arms and rugged face turn golden-brown, forming a striking setting for the sapphire brilliance of his eyes. The removal of his beard, at my urgent request, uncovered a particularly attractive dimple in his chin. Emerson prefers to call it a cleft, when he refers to the feature at all; but it is a dimple. His hair is -sable, thick and soft, shining with Titian gleams in the sunlight. . . .

But enough of that. Suffice it to say that the wedded state proved highly agreeable, and the first years of our marriage were fully as pleasant as I had expected. We spent the winter in Egypt, excavating by day and sharing the delightful privacy of an (otherwise) unoccupied tomb by night; and the summer in England with Emerson's brother Walter, a distinguished philologist, and the husband of my dear friend Evelyn. It was a thoroughly satisfactory existence. I cannot imagine why I, who am normally as farsighted and practical as a woman can be, did not realize that the matrimonial state quite often leads to another, -related state. I refer, of course, to motherhood.

When the possibility of this interesting condition first manifested itself I was not excessively put out. According to my calculations, the child would be born in the summer, enabling me to finish the season's work and get the business over and done with before returning to the dig in the autumn. This proved to be the case, and we left the infant -- a boy, named after his uncle Walter -- in the care of that gentleman and his wife when we set out for Egypt in October.

What ensued was not entirely the child's fault. I had not anticipated that Emerson's next view of his son the following spring would induce a doting idiocy that manifested itself in baby talk, and in a reluctance to be parted from the creature. Ramses, as the child came to be called, merited his nickname; he was as imperious in his demands and as pervasive in his presence as that most arrogant of ancient Egyptian god-kings must have been. He was also alarmingly precocious. A lady of my acquaintance used that term to me, after Ramses, aged four, had treated her to a lecture on the proper method of excavating a compost heap -- hers, in point of fact. . . .

Continues...


Excerpted from The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters Copyright © 2006 by Elizabeth Peters. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 69 )
Rating Distribution

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(33)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(4)

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(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 69 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2012

    I personally love this series. Over time i have read this entire

    I personally love this series. Over time i have read this entire series several times and have enjoyed them every time. Amelia Peabody Emerson is one of the first true feminist who knows her own mind and stands up for what she believes. She and her tempermental husband, Radcliff Emerson, perfectly balance out each other. They both love their work. The series is entertaining, funny, and full of adventure. Every book just gets better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    If you like murder mystries and Egypt, these are the books for you. I enjoy the Amelia Peabody Series. They are always full of adventures.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Introducing Ramses!

    This series is wonderful. Ramses is perfect as the spawn of Peabody and Enerson



    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Son of Egypt

    Intrepid Egyptologist Amelia Peabody and her irrascible husband, who has been dubbed the "Father of Curses" by the Egyptian natives, once again set forth to uncover the treasures of the ancient pharoahs. This time they take along with them their young son nicknamed Ramses and John, a servant in their employ from England.

    Relegated to digging in an area deemed 'not worthy' by husband Radcliff Emerson, they are soon in the midst of a complex situation wherein a band of antiquities thieves are being lead by a Master Criminal. As Amelia tries to do her detective work she is stymied by a host of suspects and conflicting clues and information. After she and Radcliffe are thrown into the thick blackness of an ancient burial chamber in the Black Pyramid without hope of rescue, they are left to wonder if they have indeed met their fate.

    This reader found the plot confusing, as though it was searching for a way to untangle itself. The redeeming grace of this book is Ramses, who speaks with the vocabulary of a university professor with a lisp that makes him all the more endearing. The characters here are stronger than the plot and have earned this book four stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2007

    Another Outstanding Story!

    Mummy Case is another outstanding story by famed writer Elizabeth Peters...I'm such a fan! This story is highly entertaining. The characters are GREAT and the plot exciting! I suggest you order your copy of this book today. You'll be glad you did!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2013

    A good series to read...

    ...especially if you like Archeology and Egyptology. The characters are not totally believable, sort of exagerated at times, but they are likeable and the mysteries are entertaining.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2010

    The Emerson's are at it again!

    I am hooked on this series! It is great fun to read of the adventures of Emerson, Amelia and Ramses.

    The addition of Ramses is fun and I am sure that the next books will be even more entertaining seeing what he will be getting into.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2009

    One of the most exciting books I have read! It helped that I had read the previous books in the series.

    What a great storyline! It kept me interested from beginning to end. The plot was well developed and for once I could not guess the ending until I was actually at the end of the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2003

    U have got to read it

    This is one of the best book that I have read in a while. Once that you picked it up you just couldn't put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2002

    An all-round awesome book!

    I really enjoyed this book! I was extremely happy that Ramses, Amelia and Emerson's son, has finally been developed as a major character. Also, I hope to see more development of Amelia's Master Criminal. I really found the footman John's reaction to Egypt (And to baby-sitting Ramses) funny. Also, picturing Emerson who in Amelia's opinion is the world's greatest Egyptologist, working with Roman mummies(which he hates)when the Black Pyramid is(literally) next door hilarious. All in all, a great book, however, Peter's was rather vague in parts of the naration which made it somewhat difficult to understand.

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    Posted May 19, 2011

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