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 final novel in the Amelia Peabody mystery series features outspoken archaeologist Amelia and company dodging assassins while searching from Cairo to Amama for the stolen bust of Queen Nefertiti. Almost as challenging as Amelia's quest is reader Rosenblat's task of giving voice to these larger-than-life characters with charm and credibility intact. The actor, who plays Miss Rosa on Orange is the New Black, smartly captures Amelia's husband Radcliffe's irascibility and bombast without edging into snobbery. Her mirroring of the fragile relationship between moody son Ramses and aloof daughter-in-law Nefrit, caught just after the demise of their hasty marriage, is exemplary. And her silken, unruffled voice for"master criminal" Sethos fits both his good-bad-guy status and his flirtatious nature. He, like everyone except the assassins, has fallen under the spell of the novel's protagonist-narrator Amelia, whom Rosenblat presents with all of her romantic, confident, stubborn, feminist, witty, and intelligent flags flying. A Morrow hardcover.
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.
I had to force myself to finish the book. There are character trait inconsistencies with the other books in the series. The attempts at humor fell flat. The timeline inconsistencies are blatant. For example, what happened to Nefret at the conclusion of “The Falcon at the Portal” and the conversation regarding her at the beginning of “He Shall Thunder in the Sky”. Also where were Sennia and Seshet between those two novels? I could continue ad infinitum but I will refrain. I would have been satisfied simply reading a précis.
Avoid this one.
If you are a fan of Amelia Peabody and her adventurous family, you may feel you want to read this final, posthumous adventure to “complete” the series. DON’T. It reads like a poor fan fic, has the most ridiculous plot, is filled with continuity errors…and adds nothing to the overall world of the Emerson family. Don’t put yourself through it.