Monday, 4 February 2013

Book No.2 of the Year

Crikey, is it really nearly two weeks since I last blogged? Where is the time going? I've been writing blog posts in my head, but not getting round to putting them on the old 'pooter. The trouble is that the computer I use the most for writing blogs is my work PC (rather than the laptop or iPad, which are great for reading blogs, not so great for writing/uploading photos), and it happens to be in my office which is at the top of the house. Once I've finished work for the day I tend to shut down this computer and then slump in front of the downstairs TV for the evening; which basically means, if I haven't written a blog post during the day, it isn't going to happen.

Anyhoo, enough of the excuses, and on to todays post which is a 'review' (in my own fashion) of the second book I've read this year: The Curse of the Pharoahs by Elizabeth Peters.

This is the second in the Amelia Peabody Murder Mystery series, featuring Egyptologists/archaeologists Amelia Peabody and her husband Radcliffe Emerson (known as Emerson), and set towards the end of the nineteenth century (1892 in this particular instance.)

This story begins with the Emersons at home in England with their small son Walter, seemingly twiddling their thumbs and dreaming of a return to Egypt. What luck, then, that Lady Baskerville should invite them to finish the excavation work begun by her husband who died in mysterious circumstances just after discovering a tomb across the Nile from Luxor (in the Valley of the Kings, I presume.) The death of Lord Baskerville and the disappearance of his assistant lead to the assumption that the tomb is cursed - hence the title of the book. More deaths (murders) occur and Amelia takes it upon herself to find out 'whodunnit', while Emerson finishes excavating the tomb (which, disappointingly for him, turns out to have already been raided by tomb robbers in years gone by).

This is only the second in the series; being the OCD-type that I am, I have to read them in order, which means I've only read two (obv.); I've found both books in the series so far easy to read, although I wasn't sure if I really enjoyed the first book (Crocodile on the Sandbank). I found the style of writing a little annoying - Amelia often addresses the reader, and I'm not sure I'm particulaly comfortable with that (not sure why that should be.) The style is the same in this book and I presume it will be the same throughout the series (which contains 19 books, I believe), although because I was expecting it, I didn't find it quite so irritating this time round - either I didn't notice it quite so much, or it didn't happen so much. Amelia is quite a gung-ho character and a bit of a know-it-all; a mix of Indiana Jones and Sherlock Holmes. Emerson is a bit of a brooding, intense kind of chap, but with his heart in the right place. The background of Egypt during the late nineteenth century is an interesting touch, especially if history and/or historical novels float your boat.

All in all, this book gets a thumbs up from me; the fact that I really wanted to crack on and read the third in the series straight away was a good indication that I enjoyed it (but I shall have to wait as this month's Book Club book takes priority.)

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