Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters (audio)

Book Description:

The joys of home and hearth are about to drive Victorian gentlewoman Amelia Peabody Emerson mad. While she and her husband, the renowned archeologist Radcliffe Emerson, dutifully go about raising their young son Ramses, she dreams only of the dust and detritus of ancient civilizations. Providentially, a damsel in distress, coupled with a promising archeological site, demands their immediate presence in Egypt. The damsel is Lady Baskerville, and the site is a tomb in Luxor recently discovered by Sir Henry Baskerville, who promptly died under bizarre circumstances. The tabloids immediately scream "The Curse of the Pharaohs!" Amelia and Radcliffe arrive to find the camp in disarray, the workers terrified, and a most eccentric group of guests. A ghost even appears. This is not at all what Amelia considers an atmosphere conducive to scientific discovery. Never one to deny others the benefit of her advice and example, the indomitable Victorian sets about bringing order to chaos and herself that much closer to danger. How Amelia triumphs over the forces of evil, and those who would stand between her and her beloved antiquities, makes for a delightfully spirited adventure.

Another highly amusing Victorian mystery involving Amelia Peabody and her gruff, archeologist husband, Emerson.  The description above really tells it all.  The two - now parents of an amazingly precocious child aptly named Ramses - head out to Luxor again and solve a murder mystery while excavating the latest royal Egyptian tomb. I listened to it on audio which was a hoot.  Barbara Rosenblat does a fantastic job with the narration, particularly of the crazy Madame Berengeria (more on her below).

I laughed out loud dozens of times during the course of this book, Amelia, as usual, is always right - even when she's not!  Her asides and the way she phrases things to make herself look good are hilarious.  Emerson, as always, is brusque and tempermental, yet when it comes to his beloved Peabody he is endearingly, how shall I put it?  I'll just put it the way Amelia does when referring to how Emerson shows his affections when they are alone in their bedchamber:  ***   (This asterisk description was hilarious btw with  Barbara Rosenblat narrating it - she did an absolutely stellar performance as both Amelia and Radcliffe - simply delightful!)  I was happy to note that despite being parents and a married couple for five years their love life has not been affected one bit.  There's nothing graphic in these novels, but it's apparent that things are "good" when it comes to the bedroom.  Even being in the room nextdoor to a flirtatious widow who has her eyes on Emerson doesn't seem to affect their nightly conjugal activities either!

There are too many hilarous things in this book to list, you'll just have to read it for yourself, but the one thing I must make note of is Rosenblat's voice of the mad Madame Berengeria - this nutty Egyptian woman that is always drunk as a skunk and convinced Emerson was her lover in a former life, he as her Egyptian King to her Egyptian Queen.  It was hysterical, but Emerson managed quite well, with Amelia's help of course, in avoiding any amorous encounters with the bizarre woman.   I still crack up, just remembering the way she talked - it was a scream!  Another character I loved was little Ramses and his cute little lisping voice - so endearing and adorable - and what a mind!  A chip off the old block and it looks like he'll be with them in future books while in Egypt too!

I really had fun with this audiobook and I have a feeling I am really going to love the rest of this series, it's like candy to read or listen to!  Some parts got a little bogged down here and there, it was hard to follow on audio with all the details of whozit and whatzit getting murdered or clunked on the head, but the gist of it is, the murderer was caught and Amelia and Emerson played no small part in the outcome!

Enjoy!  This is a fabulous, funny and very, very worthwhile series! 



Yvette said...

I'm so glad you're loving these books, Julie. You know how I feel about them. Love them to pieces. Emerson is my dream man. Crazy but true.
Amelia is a hoot!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Yes, I love Emerson too - and the way Rosenblat does his voice is great too - always sort of yelling, yet I love it when he gets romantic and it becomes this sort of gruff yelling - LOL!

Joanne said...

Hi, Julie! So glad to hear that the series continues to entertain.....I have this one on my TBR list. I just purchased a huge stash of her books written under the name Barbara Michaels which have also been highly recommended. There's no end to this woman's talent!

Not much longer to wait until The Exile is released.....woo hoo!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Joanne, this one wasn't quite as good as the first, but it was still very funny!

Yes, can't wait for the Exile, I'm going to DC with a friend to see DG again and hopefully get a copy of it at the Nat'l Book Fair on the 25th!

Penelope said...

Oh, you are making me want to go back and re-read all of this series again. (Or, maybe listen to it...I might try an audio book...that sounds like a lot of fun!)

Long live Emerson and Amelia!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Penelope, it is so worthwhile to listen to on audio, I cannot stress enough what a great job Barbara Rosenblat does - it's a tour de force! Do it just to listen to her as Amelia - she is Amelia!

Joanne said...

Julie -- Remember to bring a camera when you see DG again! I want to see pics!

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