Pyramid Schemes: Mysteries Set in Egypt


Photo of pyramids by Ricardo Liberato. . . the Valley of the Kings, espionage, corpses, sunrise on the Nile, hieroglyphics, Nefertiti , Egyptian politics--what could possibly be more interesting?

One of My Very Favorite Detectives

Amelia Peabody is the creation of writer Elizabeth Peters. Peters is the pen name of Barbara Mertz, who was trained as an Egyptologist at the University of Chicago before turning her hand to novels.

Her tongue-in-cheek depiction of Peabody, an intrepid Victorian adventurer who meets and marries a handsome archaeologist, never fails to entertain. Most of the mysteries take place in Egypt, with interludes back in England.

Got Egyptomania ?

Try some of these exciting mysteries published in the newest millennium.

Besides the Amelia Peabody Mysteries by Elizabeth Peters, investigate
Night Train to Memphis  and The Laughter of Dead Kings, two of the Vicky Bliss mysteries by Elizabeth Peters. Bliss is a modern-day art historian involved with a professional art thief, whom she keeps hoping to reform.

Alexandria by Lindsey Davis--first century CE investigator Marcus Didius Falco vacations in Alexandria with his family, and ends up looking into the death of the head librarian of the famous Great Library. Davis’ amusing book is, among other things, a send-up of academia.

The Amerotke Mysteries by P.C. Doherty, like The Spies of Sobeck. The hero of this historical mystery series, set in the 15th century BCE, is Amerotke , Chief Judge of the Hall of Two Truths. The books are full of descriptions of daily life in ancient Egypt – some say, too full.

The Shape of Sand by Marjorie Eccles involves the disappearance of a woman in Edwardian England and the investigation by her daughters just after World War II. Her fate seems to be related to a trip she had taken to Egypt, years before her death.

Mummy Dearest by Joan Hess--Arkansas bookseller Claire Molloy is on her honeymoon in contemporary Luxor when she finds that mysterious doings are afoot. This book is a tribute to the Amelia Peabody mysteries, with a character who claims to be descended from her.

The Mamur Zapt Mysteries by Michael Pearce. Like some of Elizabeth Peters’, Pearce’s books are set in early twentieth century Egypt, a time when British rule was waning and nationalism was growing in strength. You get a feel for the politics of the period, along with lots of local color.

Photo Credit:  Ricardo Liberato

Author Bio:

Vaughn Harrison works at Half Moon Bay Library and on the Bookmobile. Her reading interests include archaeology and mysteries, among other things.

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