Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters

When Lady Baskerville’s husband Sir Henry dies after discovering what may have been an undisturbed royal tomb in Luxor, she appeals to eminent archaeologist Radcliffe Emerson and his wife Amelia to take over the excavation. Amid rumors of a curse haunting all those involved with the dig, the intrepid couple proceeds to Egypt, where they begin to suspect that Sir Henry did not die a natural death, and they are confident that the accidents that plague the dig are caused by a sinister human element, not a pharaoh’s curse.

Since I read A Crocodile in the Sandbank, I became a big fan of Amelia Peabody. She’s unlike any other sleuth heroine I ever read about before.

The second book, The Curse of the Pharaohs starts 4 years later after the end of the 1st book. Amelia and Emerson are quietly living in Kent with their son William, nicknamed Ramses. After his birth, his parents felt they couldn’t continue their career as Egyptologists until he had grown and could accompany them to Egypt.

While they are trying not to get bored with their smooth English life, they follow in the newspapers the story of Lord Baskerville and how he possibly died of a curse after digging some pharaoh’s tomb. They are immediately interested and both surprised when Baskerville’s widow pay them a visit and asks Emerson to finish the work of her husband. He immediately refuses not wanting to leave his wife and son in England, but Peabody, knowing how excited he is for a new adventure, convinces him it’s for the best if he accepts the mission. In no time, they are both ready to leave for Egypt.

When they arrive, they are faced with many problems and treats that make their work even more difficult and feed even more the rumors of an ancient curse. Tired of this situation, the Emersons finally decide to get involved in this investigation and find the responsible behind the mystery.

The second book of this series is as delicious as the first one. Amelia Peabody continues to exude intelligence and sharp humor. Her reflections about her son are hilarious! The child is a little genius and develops very quickly to the amazement of both his parents. Peters does an excellent job describing him and I can perfectly imagine the little boy’s “chilling and calculating look” when he tries to manipulate his parents. I get the feeling this little Ramses is going to have some extraordinary adventures!

The chemistry between Peabody and Emerson is intact. All their conversations and disputes produce sparks. It’s like watching an extraordinary final at Roland Garros. They know each other well but they still can surprise each other.

The story is fast-paced and the descriptions of the Egypt of those times are magnificent, making you feel as you were present during the events.

Highly recommended to any reader who enjoys a good mystery and must-read to all Amelia Peabody fans.

Grade: 4.5/5


  1. I skimmed your review as I've only read the 1st book in this series but I really enjoyed it. I'm anxious to get to this 2nd book and soon!

  2. I love these books! I have read quite a few in the series and they are very entertaining.

  3. I loved the 2nd almost more than the first!

  4. Fabulous series- I own and have read them all. The most telling praise is that I've read all of them several times- they are that good!