Now 2023 Previous Articles Road Essays Road Reviews Author Black Authors Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA Portfolio Artwork WIP

Recent posts

Month in review

At Home with Books by Estelle Ellis and Caroline Seebohm
The Batman Handbook by Scott Beatty
Class Trip by Rand B. Lee
Cook-a-doodle-doo by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
The Diary of Pelly D by L.J. Adlington
Echoes from the Macabre by Daphne du Maurier
Epidapheles and the Insufficiently Affectionate Ocelot by Ramsey Shehadeh
The God of the Hive by Laurie R. King
The Gypsy's Boy by Lokiko Hall
The Improbable Cat by Allan Ahlberg
Influences: A Lexicon of Contemporary Graphic Design Practice by Anna Gerber
The Laughter of Dead Kings by Elizabeth Peters
Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks
My Big Dog by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
Nanosferatu by Dean Whitlock
Oops-a-Daisy by Claire Freedman
Pink Brain, Blue Brain by Lise Eliot
Pinkalicious and the Pink Drink by Victoria Kann
Pokémon Adventures Volume 08 by Hidenori Kusaka
Saving Max by Antionette van Heugten
Seven Sins for Seven Dwarves by Hilary Goldstein
Sharing Geographic Information edited by Gerard Rushton and Harlan Joseph Onsrud
Stardust (Audio) by Neil Gaiman
Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss
Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus by R.L. LaFevers
The Tilting House by Tom Llewellyn
Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett
Yo, Jo! by Rachel Isadora

Previous Month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Privacy policy

This blog does not collect personal data. It doesn't set cookies. Email addresses are used to respond to comments or "contact us" messages and then deleted.

The Laughter of Dead Kings 02/04/11

cover art

The Vicky Bliss series started in 1973 but I didn't discover it until 1999. We were in the middle of a grueling multi-part move from Southern to Northern California. We were moving as much of the furniture and stuff (books mostly) in our tiny Civic Hatchback (a method I don't recommend). For one of the trips back down to Los Angeles my husband picked up an audio book of Night Train to Memphis not having ever heard of Elizabeth Peters.

I had been reading Peters's Amelia Peabody series since the early 1980s so I was thrilled when he came back to the car with this audiobook. It made the remaining drive much more entertaining especially with the couple off handed remarks about a certain female Egyptologist.

The book was so much fun that I made the effort to collect the first four books in the series and of course read them. I did this all before I started book blogging so I don't have reviews of them to share. Then when I caught up with myself and re-read Night Train to Memphis, this time in book form, I hoped there would be a sixth Vicky Bliss book. For a long time though, the answer was a decided no. The author was concentrating on her much more popular Amelia Peabody series and that was that.

Until 2007 when I saw a rumor posted about a sixth book, though no title was given. I held my breath (but didn't turn blue) and then in 2008 a miracle happened, The Laughter of Dead Kings was published. OK, maybe not a miracle, but it felt like it to me.

If having Vicky Bliss weren't enough, it was set once again in Egypt. And even better, the mystery involves the missing mummy of Tutankhamen. Squee.

Vicky Bliss isn't an Egyptologist but John "Smythe" Tregard has been fingered and she can't resist another caper with him. Interestingly the book is set in the present day, the books always are, but Vicky isn't fourteen years older, nor is she 36 years older from her first appearance. Peters explains in the foreword that Vicky is her present day character and she likes giving Vicky, John and Schmidt access to the latest gadgets.

That said, there are a lot of Easter Eggs for Amelia Peabody fans which makes this every creeping timeline fall into the Dr. Who "timey wimey wibbly wobbly" zone for everything to work. I suppose I should dock the book a star for that, but I'm not going to. I thoroughly enjoyed it, enough so that I even read passages out loud to my husband. I squeed at all the Easter Eggs and loved seeing them traipse around in present day.

Comments (4)

Lab puppy
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:

Comment #1: Saturday, February, 5, 2011 at 10:37:17

Tiger Holland

Glad you're liking the book! I tend to despair on the longer running series. "What do you mean I cant' read the conclusion for another five years?" :-)

Comment #2: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 22:39:03


The series was done when I started it. The author said she wasn't planning on writing any more. Than then something must have inspired her to change her mind. I'm glad she wrote the book. I was my favorite of the set.

Comment #3: Saturday, February, 5, 2011 at 13:54:49


I really enjoyed this book, too. It was so nice to read something new with Vicky and Sir John and Schmidt! I started reading the Vicky Bliss books when I was a teen, so I've been waiting a LONG time for a new book.

The "wibbly wobbly" time issues didn't bother me at all--I felt like it was all tongue-in-cheek. It's still hard to imagine Sir John using a cell phone, but Schmidt? You know he'd be all about the smartphone. :)

Comment #4: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 22:41:35


The present day setting didn't bother me at all either. I enjoyed it. Schmidt would totally have a million aps on iPhone or similar.

Twitter Tumblr Mastadon Flickr Facebook Facebook Contact me

1997-2023 Sarah Sammis