Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody #2), by Elizabeth Peters (author), Susan O'Malley (narrator)

Blackstone Audio, ISBN 9780786137060, March 2005 (original publication 1981)

Amelia Peabody Emerson is getting restless in English domesticity, and so is her husband, Radcliffe Emerson. Oh, they love their son Walter, a.k.a. Ramses, dearly, but they were not meant to live quietly at home in England, Emerson teaching archaeology rather than practicing it, and Peabody not having even that much professional outlet.

They are rescued by the unexpected and not entirely welcome arrival one night of Lady Baskerville, widow of amateur archaeology enthusiast and funder of excavations, Lord Baskerville. He had just discovered a new, possibly unplundered, tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and his sudden, seemingly natural death, is rumored to be the result of a curse. Also, his assistant, Armadale, has disappeared. People are quitting, and the tomb is endangered by being now known but yet incompletely guarded and not yet excavated. Lady Baskerville wants Emerson to take over as chief archaeologist of the expedition. Of course, because of young Ramses, he can't.

Of course, he and Amelia are soon on their way back to Egypt.

What follows is an increasingly tense and dangerous excavation, with deaths, disappearances, and strange apparitions. Among the cast of unlikely characters sometimes helping, sometimes plaguing Emerson's efforts are an Irish scandal-sheet reporter, a young German archaeological linguist, a young lady who is a capable artist if not up to the level of Evelyn, and her mother the eccentric, annoying, over-bearing Lady Berengaria.

And did I mention Bastet? Bastet was Armadale's cat, and now attaches herself to Amelia.

Peters does a lovely job of painting over-the-top yet believable characters, playing with misdirection, and generally keeping the story interesting and moving along. She always plays fair, and the evidence is there without being overly obvious. It's another fun entry in a thoroughly entertaining series.

Recommended.

I borrowed this book from a friend.