Saturday, January 15, 2011
The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters
But I had looked, and I knew the sight would haunt my dreams: Abd el Atti, hanging from the roofbeam of his own shop, swaying to and fro like some winged monster of the night.
Amelia Peabody Emerson is a archeologist. She's eccentric, interesting, and also a detective to boot.
Therefore, when she and her husband- Radcliffe Emerson- and her son- Ramses- go to Egypt to excavate during the summer, it shouldn't be surprising that mystery comes to her.
A mysterious papyrus scrap- sold to Amelia, albeit reluctantly- causes the seller, Abd el Atti to be murdered. What follows can only be described as chaotic. While digging, several attempted (and sometimes successful) burglaries occur, a death, two mysterious fires, and the regular excavation. Amelia is determined to figure out who is behind the burglaries and murders, but with local unease, a precocious ("Catastrophically precocious" As Amelia says.) son who has a habit of getting into trouble, a husband who likes to be disagreeable, and a servant who's distractingly in love, can she manage it?
"De criminal was about to steal my pectoral," Ramses replied. "It is MINE. I found it."
"But, my dear boy, it was horribly dangerous," Emerson exclaimed. "YOu cannot go about demanding your rightful property from thieves; they are not amenable to such appeals."
"It was not dangerous," Ramses said serenely. "I knew you and Mama would not allow de men to harm me."
My mother gave me this book to read. I am attending a murder mystery party set during the Victorian era, in Egypt. (In fact, I am an archeologist, lol). She said it would help set the mood, that it was funny ( that it would increase my vocabulary (that it failed in, since I didn't look any of the words up in the dictionary), and that I would love Ramses. (that I did.) What she failed to mention is how stinking long this book is. Usually it would take me a couple of days to finish a book of this length. but for some reason, this one took me over a week. Huh. In fact, it has earned the descriptive nickname, "The Never Ending Book." (not to be confused with the never ending story.)
Despite it's length, however, it was a very interesting book, and I learned a lot. It was well written, and the ending was completely unexpected.
Besides this, it was chock full of awesome quotes. I narrowed the quotes down to four, which is one more than I usually include in book reviews. But since the fourth is so awesome, I will post it here."To bring her to Mrs. Emerson, of course," John replied, his eyes widening. Emerson subsided with a curse. "Of course. Everyone brings everything to Mrs. Emerson. Lions, mummy cases, miscellaneous young ladies-" I'd give it about three stars.
The old woman's cacodemonic laughter broke out again. She began to shuffle her feet in a grotesque dance of triumph. "I knew the honored sitt would not let an old woman be robbed. The wisdom of the prophet is yours, great lady. Accept an old woman's blessing. May you have many sons- many, many sons..."
The idea was so appalling I think I turned pale.