Egypt, 1912—Amelia Peabody and her dashing archeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, are once again in danger as they search for a priceless, stolen bust of legendary Queen Nefertiti and Amelia finds herself the target of assassins in this long-awaited, eagerly anticipated final installment of Elizabeth Peters’ bestselling, beloved mystery series.
Arriving in Cairo for another thrilling excavation season, Amelia is relaxing in a well-earned bubble bath in her elegant hotel suite in Cairo, when a man with knife protruding from his back staggers into the bath chamber and utters a single word—"Murder"—before collapsing on the tiled floor, dead. Among the few possessions he carried was a sheet of paper with Amelia’s name and room number, and a curious piece of pasteboard the size of a calling card bearing one word: "Judas." Most peculiarly, the stranger was wearing a gold-rimmed monocle in his left eye.
It quickly becomes apparent that someone saved Amelia from a would-be assassin—someone who is keeping a careful eye on the intrepid Englishwoman. Discovering a terse note clearly meant for Emerson—Where were you?"—pushed under their door, there can be only one answer: the brilliant master of disguise, Sethos.
But neither assassins nor the Genius of Crime will deter Amelia as she and Emerson head to the excavation site at Amarna, where they will witness the discovery of one of the most precious Egyptian artifacts: the iconic Nefertiti bust. In 1345 B.C. the sculptor Thutmose crafted the piece in tribute to the great beauty of this queen who was also the chief consort of Pharaoh Akhenaten and stepmother to King Tutankhamun.
For Amelia, this excavation season will prove to be unforgettable. Throughout her journey, a parade of men in monocles will die under suspicious circumstances, fascinating new relics will be unearthed, a diabolical mystery will be solved, and a brilliant criminal will offer his final challenge . . . and perhaps be unmasked at last.
The long-running series by MWA Grand Master Peters (1927 2013) featuring forthright Amelia Peabody Emerson and her irascible archeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, comes full circle with this energetic final novel completed by Hess, Peters's friend and fellow mystery author. In 1912, the Emersons revisit Amarna, the setting of the first Peabody book, 1975's Crocodile on the Sandbank; Egypt's Service des Antiquit s director Maspero is worried about the disappearance of German archeologist Morgenstern from the excavation there. Peabody soon locates Morgenstern in Cairo, but his erratic behavior and ties to forgers of a priceless likeness of famed queen Nefertiti disturb her. Efforts to locate the original artifact are complicated by attempts on Peabody's life by men wearing monocles, an interlude with a melodramatic romance novelist, and the reappearances of the Emerson family's nemesis, Sethos. Although fans may be a bit disappointed by some unresolved questions (such as Peters's hints of a connection between the Peabody and Vicky Bliss series), the Emerson clan takes a fitting final bow as the curtain falls on a pioneering career.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Painted Queen
Joan Hess has done a magnificent job of completing Elizabeth Peters’ last book.
This is a wonderful finally to the series.
Thank you Ms Hess for doing this.
The Painted Queen
Joan Hess may have been a friend of Elizabeth Peters but obviously never read any of the Amelia Peabody books. Reading this attempt to complete Peters’ final book was like looking at all the beloved characters through a carnaval mirror.
For the millions of devoted fans, all I can say is, save your money. This is not the story you are hoping for.