Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Curse of the Pharaohs

This is one of those series that I started reading years ago, but then sort of got lost along the way, and when I rediscovered it I knew I'd have to start at the beginning to refresh my memory.  I think I'd only read the first few books, so I clearly have a long way to go.  I'd heard great things about the audio versions, so this will be in my audio series list, along with a few other favorites (Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series, J.D. Robb's In Death series, and of course Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, to name a few).

I was lucky enough to find the first book, read by Barbara Rosenblat, in my library's collection, as I'd heard her recommended above the other audiobook reader.  But this second one was only available as read by Susan O'Malley, so I downloaded it from my library's digital book provider, and went with it.  And wow, what a difference.  It was hard to find Amelia very believable when she was speaking with an American accent!  Honestly.  I did try not to let the reading affect my enjoyment of the book, but I have to admit it did.

This mystery series is set in the Victorian era in Egypt, and is best read in order, as the lives of the characters progress from book to book.  I will do my best to avoid spoilers, but you might want to check out my review of the first book, Crocodile on the Sandbank, if a humorous historical cozy mystery is appealing to you.

In this installment, Amelia and Emerson return to Egypt to take over an archaeological dig after an acquaintance of theirs dies in suspicious circumstances.  It isn't long before it becomes clear that something nefarious is afoot.  This second book in the series is a more traditional mystery story, along the the lines of a classic Agatha Christie mystery, but Amelia's opinionated storytelling voice adds a lot of humor to the tale, and makes it all the more enjoyable.  It is fun to watch her relationship with her husband, Emerson, progress, and I love the way that even though she is narrating the story from her point of view, it becomes humorously clear to the reader (but not necessarily to her) that Amelia is not always as brilliant at sleuthing as she thinks she is, and sometimes the reader is a few steps ahead of her.

This is one of the series I often recommend to teenage girls who are transitioning from the YA section to the adult collection at the library where I work.  Amelia is a funny and energetic character that teens are likely to relate to, and there is little content that might be considered inappropriate or objectionable.  I have heard that this is one of those series that just gets better and better as the books progress, and I look forward to returning to Egypt with Amelia and Emerson to solve some more archaeological mysteries.

Books in the Amelia Peabody series:
1. Crocodile on the Sandbank
2. The Curse of the Pharaohs 

3. The Mummy Case
4. Lion in the Valley
5. The Deeds of the Disturber
6. The Last Camel Died at Noon
7. The Snake, The Crocodile and the Dog
8. The Hippopotamus Pool
9. Seeing a Large Cat
10. The Ape Who Guards The Balance
11. The Falcon at the Portal
12. Thunder in the Sky
13. Lord of the Silent
14. The Golden One
15. Children of the Storm
16. Guardian of the Horizon

17. The Serpent on the Crown
18. Tomb of the Golden Bird
19. A River in the Sky

Curse of the Pharaohs (#2 in the Ameilia Peabody series) by Elizabeth Peters; narrated by Susan O'Malley (Blackstone Audio, 2005)

Also reviewed at:
A Book a Week:  "I'm still recommending this series to anyone looking for a lighter cozy mystery with a fascinating, out-of-the-ordinary setting. Amelia's love of place (and perhaps Elizabeth Peters'?) shines through in her descriptions of Victorian-era Egypt."
Kay's Bookshelf:  "This is sort of an Agatha Christie-like book, as we have a bunch of characters in the same household, each with his own secrets and schemes, which sometimes can seem enough to become murder reasons. "
Outlandish Dreaming:  "I laughed out loud dozens of times during the course of this book, Amelia, as usual, is always right - even when she's not! Her asides and the way she phrases things to make herself look good are hilarious."


  1. I really want to read this at some point!

  2. Ha! Perhaps we should listen to this series in parallel too... I have only gotten one disc through The Mummy Case so far, though. I still can't find the Rosenblatt versions anywhere, and ... sigh. I'm too cheap to buy them. The library only has the later ones in Rosenblatt audiobooks.

  3. I simply adore Amelia! She is just too hilarious!!! I totally thought that with her already marrying Emerson that there wouldn't be as much tension in the next novel....but I liked their relationship 20x better in this one!

    I'm so glad that you've heard this one gets better and better as the series progresses because, with so many, it could either be an amazing thing, or peter off. Here's to more Amelia and Egypt!!

  4. Kailana - I think you'd enjoy this series, although it's a bit daunting to start because there are so many book in it!

    Kiirstin - Maybe I can share one of my audios with you? Email me when you get a chance, and let's try to set something up.

    Scarlett - I'm glad you enjoy the humor in the books as much as I do. Amelia never fails to crack me up. :-) It is fun to see her and Emerson butting heads, and I hope their relationship will continue to develop (and be amusing, teehee) in future books.


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