The Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody Series #2)

The Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody Series #2)

by Elizabeth Peters

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780922890415
Publisher: Armchair Detective Library
Publication date: 12/28/1990
Series: Amelia Peabody Series , #2
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Peters was born and brought up in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. Peters was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America at the Edgar Awards in 1998. She lives in a historic farmhouse in western Maryland.

You can learn more at:
ameliapeabody.com

Hometown:

A farm in rural Maryland

Date of Birth:

September 29, 1927

Place of Birth:

Canton, Illinois

Education:

M.A., Ph.D. in Egyptology, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1952

Read an Excerpt

The Curse of the Pharaohs


By Elizabeth Peters

Grand Central Publishing

Copyright © 2013 Elizabeth Peters
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4555-7236-6



CHAPTER 1

The events I am about to relate began on a December afternoon, when I had invited Lady Harold Carrington and certain of her friends to tea.

Do not, gentle reader, be misled by this introductory statement. It is accurate (as my statements always are); but if you expect the tale that follows to be one of pastoral domesticity, enlivened only by gossip about the county gentry, you will be sadly mistaken. Bucolic peace is not my ambience, and the giving of tea parties is by no means my favorite amusement. In fact, I would prefer to be pursued across the desert by a band of savage Dervishes brandishing spears and howling for my blood. I would rather be chased up a tree by a mad dog, or face a mummy risen from its grave. I would rather be threatened by knives, pistols, poisonous snakes, and the curse of a long-dead king.

Lest I be accused of exaggeration, let me point out that I have had all those experiences, save one. However, Emerson once remarked that if I should encounter a band of Dervishes, five minutes of my nagging would unquestionably inspire even the mildest of them to massacre me.

Emerson considers this sort of remark humorous. Five years of marriage have taught me that even if one is unamused by the (presumed) wit of one's spouse, one does not say so. Some concessions to temperament are necessary if the marital state is to flourish. And I must confess that in most respects the state agrees with me. Emerson is a remarkable person, considering that he is a man. Which is not saying a great deal.

The state of wedlock has its disadvantages, however, and an accumulation of these, together with certain other factors, added to my restlessness on the afternoon of the tea party. The weather was dreadful—dreary and drizzling, with occasional intervals of sleety snow. I had not been able to go out for my customary five-mile walk; the dogs had been out, and had returned coated with mud, which they promptly transferred to the drawing-room rug; and Ramses ...

But I will come to the subject of Ramses at the proper time.

Though we had lived in Kent for five years, I had never entertained my neighbors to tea. None of them has the faintest idea of decent conversation. They cannot tell a Kamares pot from a piece of prehistoric painted ware, and they have no idea who Seti the First was. On this occasion, however, I was forced into an exercise of civility which I would ordinarily abhor. Emerson had designs on a barrow on the property of Sir Harold, and—as he elegantly expressed it—it was necessary for us to "butter up" Sir Harold before asking permission to excavate.

It was Emerson's own fault that Sir Harold required buttering. I share my husband's views on the idiocy of fox hunting, and I do not blame him for personally escorting the fox off the field when it was about to be trapped, or run to earth, or whatever the phrase may be. I blame Emerson for pulling Sir Harold out of his saddle and thrashing him with his own riding crop. A brief, forceful lecture, together with the removal of the fox, would have gotten the point across. The thrashing was superfluous.

Initially Sir Harold had threatened to take Emerson to law. He was prevented by some notion that this would be unsportsmanlike. (Seemingly no such stigma applied to the pursuit of a single fox by a troop of men on horseback and a pack of dogs.) He was restrained from physically attacking Emerson by Emerson's size and reputation (not undeserved) for bellicosity. Therefore he had contented himself with cutting Emerson dead whenever they chanced to meet. Emerson never noticed when he was being cut dead, so matters had progressed peacefully enough until my husband got the notion of excavating Sir Harold's barrow.

It was quite a nice barrow, as barrows go—a hundred feet long and some thirty wide. These monuments are the tombs of antique Viking warriors, and Emerson hoped to discover the burial regalia of a chieftain, with perhaps evidences of barbaric sacrifice. Since I am above all things a fair-minded person, I will candidly confess that it was, in part, my own eagerness to rip into the barrow that prompted me to be civil to Lady Harold. But I was also moved by concern for Emerson.

He was bored. Oh, he tried to hide it! As I have said, and will continue to say, Emerson has his faults, but unfair recrimination is not one of them. He did not blame me for the tragedy that had ruined his life.

When I first met him, he was carrying on archaeological excavations in Egypt. Some unimaginative people might not consider this occupation pleasurable. Disease, extreme heat, inadequate or nonexistent sanitary conditions, and a quite excessive amount of sand do mar to some extent the joys of discovering the treasures of a vanished civilization. However, Emerson adored the life, and so did I, after we joined forces, maritally, professionally, and financially. Even after our son was born we managed to get in one long season at Sakkara. We returned to England that spring with every intention of going out again the following autumn. Then our doom came upon us, as the Lady of Shalott might have said (indeed, I believe she actually did say so) in the form of our son, "Ramses" Walter Peabody Emerson.

I promised that I would return to the subject of Ramses. He cannot be dismissed in a few lines.

The child had been barely three months old when we left him for the winter with my dear friend Evelyn, who had married Emerson's younger brother Walter. From her grandfather, the irascible old Duke of Chalfont, Evelyn had inherited Chalfont Castle, and a great deal of money. Her husband—one of the few men whose company I can tolerate for more than an hour at a time—was a distinguished Egyptologist in his own right. Unlike Emerson, who prefers excavation, Walter is a philologist, specializing in the decipherment of the varied forms of the ancient Egyptian language. He had happily settled down with his beautiful wife at her family home, spending his days reading crabbed, crumbling texts and his evenings playing with his ever-increasing family.

Evelyn, who is the dearest girl, was delighted to take Ramses for the winter. Nature had just interfered with her hopes of becoming a mother for the fourth time, so a new baby was quite to her taste. At three months Ramses was personable enough, with a mop of dark hair, wide blue eyes, and a nose which even then showed signs of developing from an infantile button into a feature of character. He slept a great deal. (As Emerson said later, he was probably saving his strength.)

I left the child more reluctantly than I had expected would be the case, but after all he had not been around long enough to make much of an impression, and I was particularly looking forward to the dig at Sakkara. It was a most productive season, and I will candidly admit that the thought of my abandoned child seldom passed through my mind. Yet as we prepared to return to England the following spring, I found myself rather looking forward to seeing him again, and I fancied Emerson felt the same; we went straight to Chalfont Castle from Dover, without stopping over in London.

How well I remember that day! April in England, the most delightful of seasons! For once it was not raining. The hoary old castle, splashed with the fresh new green of Virginia creeper and ivy, sat in its beautifully tended grounds like a gracious dowager basking in the sunlight. As our carriage came to a stop the doors opened and Evelyn ran out, her arms extended. Walter was close behind; he wrung his brother's hand and then crushed me in a fraternal embrace. After the first greetings had been exchanged, Evelyn said, "But of course, you will want to see young Walter."

"If it is not inconvenient," I said.

Evelyn laughed and squeezed my hand. "Amelia, don't pretend with me. I know you too well. You are dying to see your baby."

Chalfont Castle is a large establishment. Though extensively modernized, its walls are ancient and fully six feet thick. Sound does not readily travel through such a medium, but as we proceeded along the upper corridor of the south wing, I began to hear a strange noise, a kind of roaring. Muted as it was, it conveyed a quality of ferocity that made me ask, "Evelyn, have you taken to keeping a menagerie?"

"One might call it that," Evelyn said, her voice choked with laughter.

The sound increased in volume as we went on. We stopped before a closed door. Evelyn opened it; the sound burst forth in all its fury. I actually fell back a pace, stepping heavily on the instep of my husband, who was immediately behind me.

The room was a day nursery, fitted up with all the comfort wealth and tender love can provide. Long windows flooded the chamber with light; a bright fire, guarded by a fender and screen, mitigated the cold of the old stone walls. These had been covered by paneling hung with pretty pictures and draped with bright fabric. On the floor was a thick carpet strewn with toys of all kinds. Before the fire, rocking placidly, sat the very picture of a sweet old nanny, her cap and apron snowy white, her rosy face calm, her hands busy with her knitting. Around the walls, in various postures of defense, were three children. Though they had grown considerably, I recognized these as the offspring of Evelyn and Walter. Sitting bolt upright in the center of the floor was a baby.

It was impossible to make out his features. All one could see was a great wide cavern of a mouth, framed in black hair. However, I had no doubt as to his identity.

"There he is," Evelyn shouted, over the bellowing of this infantile volcano. "Only see how he has grown!"

Emerson gasped. "What the devil is the matter with him?"

Hearing—how, I cannot imagine—a new voice, the infant stopped shrieking. The cessation of sound was so abrupt it left the ears ringing.

"Nothing," Evelyn said calmly. "He is cutting teeth, and is sometimes a little cross."

"Cross?" Emerson repeated incredulously.

I stepped into the room, followed by the others. The child stared at us. It sat foursquare on its bottom, its legs extended before it, and I was struck at once by its shape, which was virtually rectangular. Most babies, I had observed, tend to be spherical. This one had wide shoulders and a straight spine, no visible neck, and a face whose angularity not even baby fat could disguise. The eyes were not the pale ambiguous blue of a normal infant's, but a dark, intense sapphire; they met mine with an almost adult calculation.

Emerson had begun circling cautiously to the left, rather as one approaches a growling dog. The child's eyes swiveled suddenly in his direction. Emerson stopped. His face took on an imbecilic simper. He squatted. "Baby," he crooned. "Wawa. Papa's widdle Wawa. Come to nice papa."

"For God's sake, Emerson!" I exclaimed.

The baby's intense blue eyes turned to me. "I am your mother, Walter," I said, speaking slowly and distinctly. "Your mama. I don't suppose you can say Mama."

Without warning the child toppled forward. Emerson let out a cry of alarm, but his concern was unnecessary; the infant deftly got its four limbs under it and began crawling at an incredible speed, straight to me. It came to a stop at my feet, rocked back onto its haunches, and lifted its arms.

"Mama," it said. Its ample mouth split into a smile that produced dimples in both cheeks and displayed three small white teeth. "Mama. Up. Up, up, up, UP!"

Its voice rose in volume; the final UP made the windows rattle. I stooped hastily and seized the creature. It was surprisingly heavy. It flung its arms around my neck and buried its face against my shoulder. "Mama," it said, in a muffled voice.

For some reason, probably because the child's grip was so tight, I was unable to speak for a few moments.

"He is very precocious," Evelyn said, as proudly as if the child had been her own. "Most children don't speak properly until they are a year old, but this young man already has quite a vocabulary. I have shown him your photographs every day and told him whom they represented."

Emerson stood by me staring, with a singularly hangdog look. The infant released its stranglehold, glanced at its father, and—with what I can only regard, in the light of later experience, as cold-blooded calculation—tore itself from my arms and launched itself through the air toward my husband.

"Papa," it said.

Emerson caught it. For a moment they regarded one another with virtually identical foolish grins. Then he flung it into the air. It shrieked with delight, so he tossed it up again. Evelyn remonstrated as, in the exuberance of its father's greeting, the child's head grazed the ceiling. I said nothing. I knew, with a strange sense of foreboding, that a war had begun—a lifelong battle, in which I was doomed to be the loser.

It was Emerson who gave the baby its nickname. He said that in its belligerent appearance and imperious disposition it strongly resembled the Egyptian pharaoh, the second of that name, who had scattered enormous statues of himself all along the Nile. I had to admit the resemblance. Certainly the child was not at all like its namesake, Emerson's brother, who is a gentle, soft-spoken man.

Though Evelyn and Walter both pressed us to stay with them, we decided to take a house of our own for the summer. It was apparent that the younger Emersons' children went in terror of their cousin. They were no match for the tempestuous temper and violent demonstrations of affection to which Ramses was prone. As we discovered, he was extremely intelligent. His physical abilities matched his mental powers. He could crawl at an astonishing speed at eight months. When, at ten months, he decided to learn to walk, he was unsteady on his feet for a few days; and at one time he had bruises on the end of his nose, his forehead, and his chin, for Ramses did nothing by halves—he fell and rose to fall again. He soon mastered the skill, however, and after that he was never still except when someone was holding him. By this time he was talking quite fluently, except for an annoying tendency to lisp, which I attributed to the unusual size of his front teeth, an inheritance from his father. He inherited from the same source a quality which I hesitate to characterize, there being no word in the English language strong enough to do it justice. "Bullheaded" is short of the mark by quite a distance.

Emerson was, from the first, quite besotted with the creature. He took it for long walks and read to it by the hour, not only from Peter Rabbit and other childhood tales, but from excavation reports and his own History of Ancient Egypt, which he was composing. To see Ramses, at fourteen months, wrinkling his brows over a sentence like "The theology of the Egyptians was a compound of fetishism, totemism and syncretism" was a sight as terrifying as it was comical. Even more terrifying was the occasional thoughtful nod the child would give.

After a time I stopped thinking of Ramses as "it." His masculinity was only too apparent. As the summer drew to a close I went, one day, to the estate agents and told them we would keep the house for another year. Shortly thereafter Emerson informed me that he had accepted a position as lecturer at the University of London.

There was never any need to discuss the subject. It was evident that we could not take a young child into the unhealthy climate of an archaeological camp; and it was equally obvious that Emerson could not bear to be parted from the boy. My own feelings? They are quite irrelevant. The decision was the only sensible solution, and I am always sensible.

So, four years later, we were still vegetating in Kent. We had decided to buy the house. It was a pleasant old place, Georgian in style, with ample grounds nicely planted—except for the areas where the dogs and Ramses excavated. I had no trouble keeping ahead of the dogs, but it was a running battle to plant things faster than Ramses dug them up. I believe many children enjoy digging in the mud, but Ramses' preoccupation with holes in the ground became absolutely ridiculous. It was all Emerson's fault. Mistaking a love of dirt for a budding talent for excavation, he encouraged the child.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters. Copyright © 2013 Elizabeth Peters. Excerpted by permission of Grand Central Publishing.
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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Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody Series #2) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 176 reviews.
eduganr More than 1 year ago
I was captivated from the first page to the last. The writing style had my mind enjoying a path of Egyptian history and archeology, possible murder and a truly mesmerizing cast. This husband and wife team "Emerson and Peabody" are archaeologist and amateur sleuths on a dig. The have been called to the site to finish the dig after the death and possible murder of the sites founding archaeologist. Their relationship is enchantingly real and is reminiscent of other husband and wife sleuthing teams that try to solve a murder without over shadowing or killing the other. From the start, humor and sarcasm between the pair is used in a way that makes you like this couple and want to know more about them. It makes you want to follow them along on their travels. Elizabeth Peters had me captivated and unaware of the perpetrator until the very end. (No small feat!) What a facinating who done-it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The adventures of Emerson and Amelia continue as they dig out another tomb (could it be Tut?) ? We also meet their son Ramses for the first time. Not exactly believable for a toddler but definately a hoot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is superb-BUT then each and every one of her writings are that and more. I LOVE them all. I miss them when I must close the cover over the family in order to get some shut-eye. I beg you Miss Peters MORE MORE of Sethos and Miss Minton and More of Ramses and Nefret. The pleasure is all mine each time a new one of the Emerson saga arises.
atimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Curse of the Pharaohs is the second book in the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters, and my first on audiobook read by the incomparable Barbara Rosenblat. After five years of domestic bliss (more or less), Amelia and Emerson are off again to Egypt to take over the late Lord Baskerville's last archaeological excavation. Amelia is determined to discover Lord Baskerville's murderer (assuming he was murdered, of course), but all Emerson cares about is the dig. Once in Egypt, the Emersons are joined by a mismatched group of possible suspects. There is Karl von Bork, a German scholar; Cyrus Vandergelt, an American archaeologist; Madam Berengeria, a delusional old woman, and her lovely daughter Mary; Charles Milverton, a young English photographer; Kevin O'Connell, the ubiquitous Irish reporter; and of course Lady Baskerville, beautiful, affected, and recently widowed. Everyone has something to hide, some ulterior goal. Who profits from the rumor that Lord Baskerville died as the result of an ancient curse?The mystery is not bad, though I did guess the murderer (amidst, I confess, many other conflicting hypotheses). The murderer's method is rather creative. The characters are a lot of fun, and they are further fleshed out by Rosenblat's excellent narration. She voices each character distinctly, complete with accent ¿ British, American, German, Irish, and Arabic, she does them all! I have a feeling that many of the characters introduced in this story will be back for more adventures later in the series, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Peters does with them. And I am sure we have not heard the last of the redoubtable Ramses. Not by a long shot!Perhaps it is because of Rosenblat's narration, but I found Amelia more likeable than she is in the first book. The character seems much less anachronistic in her feminism, and Peters really develops Amelia's comic voice. However, this impression could just be an optical (auditory?) illusion, as Rosenblat's narration really is outstanding and certainly gives the character a more defined presence in my imagination.For readers who are uncomfortable with references to sex, this series may not be for you. The frequent references to conjugal relations are for comic effect, and Amelia is never explicit about it (which is in itself a source of humor). I found it quite funny, but I'd hesitate to recommend the series to younger readers and I'm sure this won't please everyone's taste.One thing I found hilarious, that had nothing to do with the story itself, was the back cover blurb. It was obviously written by someone who had no idea what the story is about. Besides the description being more than usually vague, the last line says, "Instead of digging up the treasures of a lost age, it appears that Amelia and her friend are excavating a deadly curse." Who, pray, is Amelia's little buddy? Could they mean... Emerson? Her burly bear of a husband? LOL! Overall, this is an excellent follow-up to the first book, and it leaves me eager for the next story. I will certainly be raiding my local library in search of the audiobook version; I understand Rosenblat has narrated all the Amelia Peabody books. Great fun!
justchris on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Curse of the Pharoahs had a better plotline, in the sense of having a much larger cast of potential suspects and motives for the three mysterious murders. It left me guessing until close to the end. This book also did an excellent job portraying the racism inherent in British colonialism and ex-pat upper crust society. Both books include generally sympathetic portrayals of Egyptians and Muslims.The story takes place several years after Crocodile on the Sandbank. Amelia and Emerson have a young son whom they leave in Evelyn and Walter's care while they take over as expedition leaders when the original sponsor mysteriously dies. This time it is a mysterious "lady in white" who appears to be haunting the dig, then there are the bodies with no apparent cause of death but a hieroglyphic on the forehead suggesting nothing natural.The cast of characters include the widow of the original expedition leader, a rich American Egyptology enthusiast, an Irish tabloid journalist, a German Egyptologist, a young British girl and her wacky mother who thinks she's a reincarnated Egyptian Queen, a young British photographer, and various Egyptian field staff (some of these minor characters from the first novel) and local villagers. My major issue--once again a fat woman is portrayed as the worst person in the story--selfish, drunken, greedy, bizarre, emotionally manipulative--while just about everyone else is various degrees of nice, at least on the surface (and ignoring the blatant racism of the day).This story isn't as predictable as the first, but it also has a few holes left wide open at the end. It was perfectly enjoyable though. And their son Ramses was hysterical in every scene where he appeared, either in person or via his letters. I expect to continue with the series.
hoosgracie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Now married, Amelia and Emmerson live in England with their son Ramses, and are frankly quite bored. After the death of Lord Baskerville in Egypt, Lady Baskerville approaches Emmerson to take over the dig. They of course jump at the chance. This propels them into Luxor and mystery. Thoroughly enjoyable. Peters is excellent at describing Victorian-era Egypt and her characters are very well developed.
dragonasbreath on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Emerson and Peabody, having met in the tombs - end up married and having a child whom everybody calls Ramses due to his coloring. Leaving Ramses at home with her friend Evelyn and Emerson's brother Walter they're back to Emerson's beloved Egypt - and once more The Father of Curses and the Sitt Hakim find themselves in the midst of a murder - as Abdul would say in the coming years - another year, another dead body.Even without Ramses antics, Peters crafts a good story.
eenerd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was my second dip into the Amelia Peabody series, just to solidify my opinion. Amelia & her husband (grouchy, dark & handsome Radcliffe Emerson) are back in Victorian England, raising their genius archaeologist toddler "Ramses". An eminent Egyptologist gets murdered and his partner goes missing, leaving a greiving widow to pick up the pieces and continue the expedition. The Emersons travel back to their beloved Egypt to solve the mystery, debunk the superstitious and complete the dig. Very light reading, suitable for any age.
lexxa83 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I did like this book more than the first. Amelia and Emerson's relationship is quite amusing, and (perhaps sadly) I can relate to Amelia's unusual relationship with her son Ramses, and her reticence to place him before her life work. It will be interesting to see how this series progresses, and what other fantastic situations Amelia and Emerson find themselves in.
AuthorMarion on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book finds our heroine Amelia Peabody married to the archeologist she met in Crocodile on the Sandbank. They have made their home in England where they have put their first love (digging around in Egypt) on hold while they raise their son and Professor Emerson teaches archeology. But this life is not what they are suited for. When an opportunity presents itself to re-engage themselves in an expedition whose leader died (or perhaps murdered)they jump at the chance. As the Emersons set about to dispel the idea of the Curse of the Pharoahs (a trumped up idea) they meet with a plethora of strange characters, each a possible suspect in the death of Lord Baskerville who was the original archeologist. There is the tabloid writer, the brash American investor, the superstitious Egptian natives, two other archeologists who are assisting the Emerson team, a young woman and her mother (Madame Berengeria) who believes that she is the reincarnation of a high-ranking Egyptian queen and that Professor Emerson is her long-lost love. There is also the appearance of the white veiled figure who threatens the group during the nights and leaves danger in its wake. All in all a captivating story for mystery fans. The plot moves along rapidly and it would behoove the reader to pay attention to the details as set forth in order to find the true culprit. I would say this is a most satisfying story either as a summer read or one to curl up with by the fire.
alana_leigh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Curse of the Pharaohs is the second installment in Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series... and does anyone else think it's weird that it's only the second book and she's married, thus is no longer named Amelia Peabody? It's Amelia Emerson now, though her husband Radcliffe Emerson (usually just called Emerson) uses "Peabody" as a term of endearment. At the close of The Crocodile on the Sandbank, we knew what was in store for the Emersons -- a few years of happy excavations and the promise of a baby, perfectly planned to arrive after their working season with enough time for Amelia to be ready to return to work the following season. Well, here we learn that their blessed bundle of joy turned out to be a boy, named Walter for his uncle... but unsurprisingly is quite precocious and is turning out to be a bit of a tyrant, thus more frequently referred to as "Ramses." Indeed, after their first season away from the boy, Radcliffe found he couldn't bear to be parted from his offspring, and since even the Emersons realized one should probably not take an infant/toddler out to the deserts of Egypt, they spent five years in England, slowly going out of their minds with boredom. Thank goodness for mysterious deaths and Egyptian curses, because it's the combination of these two things that give the Emersons the excuse they need to return to Egypt. Ramses is left with his capable Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Walter while the Emersons go to take over a famous excavation that has captured the attention of the tabloids due to the mysterious death of the expedition leader, Lord Baskerville. Without an apparent cause of death and the sudden disappearance of a trusted crew members goes missing, the tabloids naturally assume that this chap must have killed Lord Baskerville. This is all interesting to Amelia, of course, who considers herself to be a bit of a sleuth in addition to an uncertified lady doctor. Emerson, however, is much more concerned with the tomb... and possibly a little bit with the widow of Lord Baskerville, who evidently has known Emerson for a long time. While we the readers know that Emerson would never go astray, the woman in question is certainly one to keep an eye on. Mix in the expedition photographer (who is really Lord Baskerville's estranged brother's son in disguise and thus the heir and new Lord Baskerville), a vile drunkard of a woman who fancies she can remember her past lives (which happen to include Emerson as her husband and lover), the woman's lovely daughter, a German expedition member who worships Emerson's brother's work, and an American amateur Egyptologist looking to get in on all the action... well, once again, we have a work that is far more entertaining for the characters than the mystery.The mystery is, indeed, quite easy to figure out -- at least this time, Emerson and Amelia write their respective guesses and leave them in a sealed envelope, proving that our dynamic duo each at least solved the case around the same time as the reader. I would have to admit that I didn't enjoy The Curse of the Pharoahs as much as I had hoped, though it was a perfectly pleasant and quick read. I was warned upon starting this series that I should brave it out for a few books before things picked up -- and I believe this might be the book to spark such a warning. It isn't that anything is particularly wrong, it's just not terribly fresh. Emerson and Amelia are charming in their banter -- it's nice to see a couple that can feud well and you still believe that they can be in love at the same time. I predict that Ramses will be quite a handful and, indeed, perhaps a bit annoying if we have a few books where he's still quite young... so I'm thankful for at least this book where we can still enjoy Emerson and Amelia on their own. Again, a quick read and an amusing installment, but I must admit I'm looking for Peters to sharpen her sleuthing skills so that we have some more interesting cases
brodeurbunny30 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After I had smoked through the debut novel of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series, Crocodile on the Sandbank, I was extremely excited to start the sequel.Only thing was, after 50 pages I was still scratching my head.Where was the hilarious banter between Amelia and Emerson? Where was the adventure and excitement?Truth be told, the first few chapters are beyond terrible, and are a complete flip from where we left off with Emerson and Peabody.We re-join their life-in-progress in perpetually rainy England where the Emersons read as the worst parents in existence who seem to begrudge the presence of their young toddler son, Ramses.Emerson does nothing but work as a professor, complain and huff about not being in Egypt. Amelia berates her family at will, hates the neighbours, is nothing but sour towards her husband, despises being a housewife and admittedly feels animosity and bitterness towards her own offspring.This does NOT motivate me to read further, it doesn't even read as dysfunctional, it's just plain AWFUL.But...it gets better.No really, in a matter of 30 pages or so, they accept the offer of a rich widow in Egypt to take over the excavation duties of a supposedly cursed tomb......and then the party starts!They leave their young son in the capable hands of relatives and rush off to the beautifully characterized landscapes of Victorian Egypt.And then Elizabeth Peters rolls into what she does, classic mystery storytelling and clever humorous dialogue.We meet a cast of quirky characters that quickly turn into suspects in a murder case. It's so very 'Colonel Mustard in the Library with a candle-stick' but you don't care, it's funny and you want to roll through to the end to see if your guess was right as to who was the true killer!In keeping with Crocodile, it's not just a murder mystery, it's a study in Egyptology and it's hard to not at least learn a bit about the Ancients while reading such intelligent and enthusiastic passages about mummies, tombs and elusive burial chambers.Lastly, the relationship between Amelia and her temperamental bull-like husband is one worth reading alone. They're loving, doting, argumentative and competitive, all while keeping to their Victorian English mannerisms.Overall, if you ignore the presence of the first few chapters in England which were utterly out-of-character, the book is a winner and definitely worth the read.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this second installment, Ms. Peters brings the now married Emerson and Peabody out of retirement and back to Egypt. One of the funnest bits of this novel is all the competition between the duo - and also the continual references to their attraction for each other. We also get a glimpse of Ramses, who promises to be a colorful character in his own right.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Appealing characters, witty dialogue, solid mystery with good red herrings.
InTheBookcase More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable read! Loved the descriptions of Egypt... the deep history, the tombs! A good archaeology expedition is nothing without murder, right? Can't wait to read more of Amelia Peabody!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yp
RickT-1111 More than 1 year ago
Written as if the journal of the wife of a couple of over-the-top type A people. The husband is constantly bombastic, and the wife is "take charge". Their passion is intense on all levels, and their characters are developed richly and intriguingly. He is an acclaimed Egyptologist and archeologist, and she is his match without the acclaim. She openly embraces the mysteries they encounter, while he gains an interest against his initial wishes. The setting is mostly in Egypt, the era is Victorian and the couple are British. They are forward thinking for their time, but otherwise the dialogue, customs and prejudices reflect the moment in which they live. The mystery and adventure are average. Read the book for the experiences of the main characters. A good book on the levels mentioned.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amelia Peabody returns for an installment of Egyptian mysterious romantic adventure.
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