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The Mummy Case: 05/19/13

cover art

The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters is the third of the Amelia Peabody series. It's the 1894-5 season in Egypt and she, her husband and their young son, "Ramses" are back. They had wanted the pyramids at Dashoor but poor planning on Radcliffe Emerson's part and his lack of social tact has relegated the Emerson crew to Mazghunah.

It also happens to be my third time reading the book. The first and second times I read the book, I did so in print form. In both cases, while I loved the location (even if Peabody didn't), I absolutely wanted to strangle her overly precious and lisping son. This third time, I am listening to the books in order on audio, as performed by Barbara Rosenblat. I'm listening to them specifically for her performances.

So, that brings me back to Ramses. Except for Goldie's teenage son, Arch, I haven't heard Rosenblat do a child's vice. I certainly haven't heard her do one as young as Ramses is these earliest books. As The Mummy Case is the first one where the Emerson spawn has a major part to play. Well, she pulls it off — well enough to make Ramses an almost plausible and almost likable character.

Back to Mazhunah — the Emersons are working out of the ruins of an old Coptic monastery. It's also a reminder of the religious turf wars going on in the nearby village between the Copts, the Muslims and now Fundamentalist missionaries from the United States (shudder). In all this back and forth between the religious leaders is a shell game involving mummy cases and bits of Coptic papyri.

There's a bunch of other stuff too — a lion cub, fires and the first appearance of the "Master Criminal" who is the second most annoying character in the series. Yet — it's all good in audio. It makes for an entertaining and somewhat cornball radio play.

Four stars

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