"The Curse Of The Pharaohs"

The Curse Of The Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters

This is the second in the Amelia Peabody books with Amelia and Radcliffe Emmerson now married and the parents of a little boy. Domesticity hasn't mellowed their high spirits, but they both miss the excitement of the archeology dig.

At the beginning of the book they are living in England with their almost unbelievably precocious son, Ramses. He is a highly intelligent child who learned to read at the age of 3 and who is constantly busy doing exactly as he pleases. I think we're meant to find him adorable, and at moments I do, but at other moments I find him obnoxious and in dire need of discipline.

When fellow archeologist, Henry Baskerville dies in the field, his widow asks Radcliffe to go to Egypt and finish his work. Radcliffe is unwilling to go without Amelia, so they leave Ramses with Radcliffe's brother Walter and Walter's wife Evelyn (both of whom were major characters in the first book) and head for the dig in Egypt.

In Egypt other interesting characters enter the story, several mysteries arise and need resolving, and the Emmersons deal with it all in their inimitable way. The writing is every bit as good as the first book and the wit as sharp, as borne out in the following quotes.

Speaking of the negative effect having a widowed lady in the bedroom adjoining theirs might have on their romantic activities:

"I had feared the presence of Lady Baskerville in the adjoining room might inhibit Emerson to some extent. It did in the beginning. Casting an irritated glance at the closed portal, which I had promptly bolted, her muttered, "Curse it, Amelia, this is going to be a nuisance; I shan't be able to say a thing for fear of being overheard." However, as time went on he became so involved in what he was doing that all reserve fled and all external distractions were forgotten. My own contributions toward achieving this end were not inconsiderable."

And when Amelia is considering the long suffering daughter of a drunken, obnoxious woman as a suspect in her latest mystery:

"I immediately removed her from my list of suspects. The fact that she had not yet exterminated her mother proved that she was incapable of violence."

I love all the clever quips that fill these books; it's what makes them so much fun to read and it's what will have me looking for the next title in the series after I knock a few others off my tbr.

Next Up: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant


Hannah Stoneham said...

THese books sound great and i like all the names that the characters have!

Ordinary Reader said...

Yes Hannah aren't the names great? I love these books. There's about 20 of them I think, but I'm going to carefully ration them for those times when I just want something pleasurable to escape into. (speaking of names...I know no one ever likes their own, but I have to say I think yours is just lovely!)

Bonnie said...

Hi, I've been meaning to start reading Elizabeth Peters books. Imagine naming your son Ramses!

Have a great weekend, Bonnie

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