The Deeds of the Disturber

Author: Elizabeth Peters

Amelia Peabody Emerson and her small but eccentric family are home in England for the summer. It should be a nice break from their work in Egypt–shopping, socializing, writing various professional works. And it might have been, if that dratted mummy at the British Museum and all the rumors of ancient curses arising about it. And of course the ubiquitous reporters stirring up said story and making claims that the Emersons are going to track down the truth behind the rumors (which of course they will, but without the reporters’ help, thank you very much). Not to mention the two rather detestable children of Amelia’s brother that the Emersons have promised to look after for the summer. But really, none of these extrinsic issues can really be blamed, right? I mean, Amelia draws such problems to herself as naturally as honey draws flies.

As always, Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody stories are a stirring mixture of romance, adventure, Egyptology, mystery, and a feminist rebellion again the Victorian norm. The Deeds of the Disturber is set, unlike most of her books, in England itself rather than in Egypt. This gives it a different feel for sure–more like Sherlock Holmes, but with a female perspective and an Egyptian influence. What I love about this volume the most is probably, well, Ramses. To be honest, from the time he’s old enough to have any influence on happenings (which is a lot younger than you’d expect), he is the life of this series in my mind. And from mummification experiments to unusually astute observations, from clever disguises to saving the day in the end, Ramses is a delight–albeit a sometimes pedantic delight. Amelia and Emerson are, of course, also quite enjoyable to read; however, I find their part in this particular volume  somewhat less enjoyable because of the amount of time spent questioning marital fidelity instead of teaming up against the forces of evil and all that. Soap-ish and dull in the extreme to my mind. Still, for those who enjoy Victorian mysteries (and especially those who have appreciated other of Amelia’s stories), The Deeds of the Disturber is likely to be an enjoyable read.

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