The 1895-96 season promises to be an exceptional one for Amelia Peabody, her dashing Egyptologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, and their precocious (some might say rambunctious) eight-year-old son, Ramses. The long-denied permission to dig at the pyramids of Dahshoor has finally been granted, and the much-coveted burial chamber of the Black Pyramid is now theirs for the exploring.
Before the young family exchanges the relative comfort of Cairo for the more rudimentary quarters near the excavation site, they engage a young Englishman, Donald Fraser, as a tutor and companion for Ramses, and Amelia takes a wayward young woman, Enid Debenham, under her protective wing.
I do love Amelia Peacock Emerson. It’s a plus that there is a mystery to solve in each book, because that gives the excuses for the wonderful dialog between Amelia & her husband and for Amelia to start rounding up the strays that she finds along the way during her investigations. They will be assisted whether they want it or not!
A number of people in this installment end up smothering laughter while dealing with the overly serious and literal Amelia, but all seem to realize that her overbearing-ness is coming from a good heart! She believes that marriage should be an equal partnership (and despite his grumbling, Emerson seems to agree with her) and now that she has unexpectedly found her match, she wants the same joy for the others in her life, hence her constant meddling in the love lives of her collection of waifs and strays.
She is also brave, willing to face personal hardship and injury, in pursuit of the truth and the solution to whatever mysterious happenstance is currently on the go.
I adore Emerson, who is always trying to ditch his son and the rest of the archaeological party, in order to get his wife to himself! Their son, Ramses, has developed an intense curiosity about sex and they spend quite a bit of time trying to dodge his prying, making for quite a bit of hilarity. And I was moved when Emerson says, “Have I mentioned to you, Peabody, that one of the reasons why I adore you is that you are more inclined to beat people with your umbrella than fall weeping on your bed?”
I must also put in a good word for ‘de cat Bastet,’ who displays many uncanny abilities and often un-catlike behaviours. While she is on the case, young Ramses will always be safe.
I am ever so glad that I still have many volumes of their adventures in my future.