Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Deeds of the Disturber by Elizabeth Peters

The fifth entry in the Amelia Peabody mysteries following on from Lion in the Valley, this time our mystery is set in London, instead of Egypt. I think I am correct in saying that this is the only one of the entire series of something like 18 books that is set predominantly in England (but I could be wrong!)

Can fear kill? There are those who believe so--but Amelia Peabody is skeptical. A respected Egyptologist and amateur sleuth, Amelia has foiled felonious schemes from Victoria's England to the Middle East. And she doubts that it was a Nineteenth-Dynasty mummy's curse that caused the death of a night watchman in the British Museum. The corpse was found sprawled in the mummy's shadow, a look of terror frozen on the guard's face. What--or who--killed the unfortunate man is a mystery that seems too intriguingly delicious for Amelia to pass up, especially now that she, her dashing archaeologist husband, Emerson, and their precocious son, Ramses, are back on Britain's shores. But a contemporary curse can be as lethal as one centuries old--and the foggy London thoroughfares can be as treacherous as the narrow, twisting alleyways of Cairo after dark--when a perpetrator of evil deeds sets his murderous sights on his relentless pursuer...Amelia Peabody!

What a hoot this book was! The Emersons are on their way home after another successful season in Egypt. Before they even leave Egypt though, Professor Radcliffe Emerson (although you should never actually call him Radcliffe) sees the story of a mysterious death at the British Museum in the newspapers, and he warns his wife that they will not become involved, because he MUST finish his manuscript to send the Oxford University Press. Of course, Emerson knows all too well that he might not have any say in the matter.

Instead of the bazaars of Egypt this time we are treated to the streets around St James' Park, the hallowed hallways of The British Museum, and mansions of Mayfair, as well as some of the less salubrious parts of London! Soon, there is not only the death of the night watchman, but also of one of the curators from the Museum, whose body was found at the bottom of Cleopatra's Needle on the Embankment, threats to Emerson and others, and a very mysterious priest who keeps on appearing just in time to titillate the public enough to keep the story on the front pages. Of course, it doesn't help that both Kevin O'Connell and M M Mintern are constantly trying to recruit Amelia to their respective newspapers as their resident expert. But then Miss Mintern disappears, and it turns out that she is not really who she appears to be. Is her disappearance connected to the case. Is she safe? And when Emerson takes Peabody to an opium den who is the mysterious woman that he knows. Of course, Amelia knows that she should be worried, shouldn't be jealous, but she doesn't know if she can help herself.

Emerson was relieved that this time it appeared that there was no involvement of the aristocracy in the case - In fact for the longest time he refused to acknowledge that there was a case to be investigated. He was also relieved that there was no love struck young people for Amelia to meddle in the relationships. Could it be true??

This was such a fun read, with many laugh out loud moments, including when Emerson appears to be seducing Amelia, but then locks her in her bedroom much to her indignation, so that he can at least get a head start on her. Ramses also features in this book, and in fact starts to become a master of disguises himself. Interestingly, there are two other children in this book - Amelia's niece Violet and her nephew Percy who come to stay with Amelia for the summer. Even this eventuality may not be as simple as it seems.

This is the first of these books that I have listened to on audiobook, and I have to say that I loved the experience. The narrator, Barbara Rosenblat, does such a fantastic job with the vocals, getting just the right amount of plumminess in her upper crust English accents, plus brogue in her Irish, and adding an extra layer of enjoyment that I wasn't expecting to hear!

Amelia is a very lucky woman, as she constantly tells us, to have the love of her fantastic husband Emerson, and the author gives us enough information to know that they are very satisfied in every sense of the word, without feeling the need to show us any details. I am very much looking forward to reading (or maybe even listening to) the next Amelia Peabody adventure!

What the devil....I think I will give this a rating of 4.5/5


  1. This is the fourth entry? I thought lion in the valley is number four? Hmmm... i'm going to have to go out and buy this one then because i have Crocodile on the sandbank, curse of the pharaohs, the mummy case and then Lion in the valley is sitting on my TBR list. *goes to check out this book*

    I love elizabeth peters. Have you tried any of her books that are under Barbara Michaels? Those are great too.

  2. Actually you are correct! It is in fact the fifth entry! I have amended my post to correct this! Thanks for letting me know.