After a long and tiring trip, Amelia and Emerson are at last in Cairo, settling into their usual rooms at Shepheard’s. At least Amelia is settling in. Emerson has been summoned to the presence of Maspero, director of the Service des Antiquites. A bath seemed most appropriate and Amelia was just sinking into a pile of scented bubbles when the door opened and a large man burst in, said “Murder!”, and fell, the knife still in his back. Of course this sort of thing seems to happen to Amelia with regularity, so she was not unduly alarmed. It is 1912, and Emerson has been asked to continue with an excavation in Amarna which had been abandoned. There they uncover the workshop of the sculptor Thutmose and the bust of Nefertiti, which soon disappears. As they search for the bust, danger appears on all fronts. It was great to have one last adventure with Amelia Peabody. Barbara Mertz (aka Elizabeth Peters) died in 2013 while working on The Painted Queen. There were extensive notes, the plot was developed to a certain point, and she had written the final page. Joan Hess, her dear friend and mystery writer, completed the book with the help of archaeologist Dr. Sallima Ikram. She did a remarkable job, completely capturing the style of Peters, but this was a bittersweet read.
eGalley review Publication date 7.25.17