(The) Curse Of The Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters

Another female protagonist from a similar era (vaguely) to my last review – Amelia Peabody and her husband are archaeologists who are charged by Lady Baskerville with continuing her husband’s work of excavating a tomb in Egypt. The reason he can’t continue it? One of those pesky curses that seems to have struck him down and is now plaguing the expedition. Add to that a mysterious white-garbed figure glimpsed at night haunting the dig and you have a mystery on your hands…

Elizabeth Peters (or Barbara Mertz) is a writer of many different books, but her main series is this one featuring Amelia Peabody and friends. This is the second of nineteen books to date and it would seem to have all the ingredients to grip me. So why has it taken me two weeks to write this review?

As with the Ellis Peters review, this one is going to be brief as I didn’t particularly enjoy this book. The narration from Amelia is enjoyable at first, but the plot seemed to go all over the place with a seeming lack of tension – notably when one of the team is found dead “of the curse” it barely gets a mention, let alone causing a panic. When the villain is eventually revealed, well, let’s just say that it was hardly a surprise. To be honest, I was more curious about where the word “The” had gone in from the title in the Kindle version of this book – it’s present in other editions, apparently.

I’m not saying it’s awful – I did like the fact that Amelia seems to be a fairly useless detective, convincing herself of  lots of different theories before stumbling onto the correct one – and I can see that with a more focused plot, I think I’d have enjoyed it a lot more. If I didn’t have so many more tempting things on my To-Be-Read pile, then I’d think about giving the series another go. But I do, so I won’t, at least not in the foreseeable future. If anyone wants to recommend something from the series, though, feel free and I’ll look into it.

OK, this is weird. While searching for a cover image (I read this on Kindle, so can’t scan my own copy), I discovered that you can apparently buy study notes on this book – can anyone enlighten me exactly what sort of student would be examined on this book???


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