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The Mummy Case

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The Mummy Case

Amelia Peabody Series, Book 3
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Radcliffe Emerson, the irascible husband of fellow archaeologist and Egyptologist Amelia Peabody, has earned the nickname "Father of Curses" -- and at Mazghunah he demonstrates why. Denied permission...
Radcliffe Emerson, the irascible husband of fellow archaeologist and Egyptologist Amelia Peabody, has earned the nickname "Father of Curses" -- and at Mazghunah he demonstrates why. Denied permission...
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Description-
  • Radcliffe Emerson, the irascible husband of fellow archaeologist and Egyptologist Amelia Peabody, has earned the nickname "Father of Curses" -- and at Mazghunah he demonstrates why. Denied permission to dig at the pyramids of Dahshoor, he and Amelia are resigned to excavating mounds of rubble in the middle of nowhere. And there is nothing in this barren area worthy of their interest -- until an antiquities dealer is murdered in his own shop. A second sighting of a sinister stranger from the crime scene, a mysterious scrap of papyrus, and a missing mummy case have all whetted Amelia's curiosity. But when the Emersons start digging for answers in an ancient tomb, events take a darker and deadlier turn -- and there may be no surviving the very modern terrors their efforts reveal.

 
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  • Chapter One

    I never meant to marry. In my opinion, a woman born in the last half of the nineteenth century of the Christian era suffered from enough disadvantages without willfully embracing another. That is not to say that I did not occasionally indulge in daydreams of romantic encounters; for I was as sensible as any other female of the visible attractions of the opposite sex. But I never expected to meet a man who was my match, and I had no more desire to dominate a spouse than to be ruled by him. Marriage, in my view, should be a balanced stalemate between equal adversaries.

    I had resigned myself to a life of spinsterhood when, at a somewhat advanced age, I met Radcliffe Emerson. Our first encounter was not romantic. Never will I forget my initial sight of Emerson, as we stood face to face in that dismal hall of the Boulaq Museum -- his black beard bristling, his blue eyes blazing, his fists clenched, his deep baritone voice bellowing invectives at me for dusting off the antiquities. Yet even as I answered his criticism in kind, I knew in my heart that our lives would be intertwined.

    I had several logical, sensible reasons for accepting Emerson's offer of marriage. Emerson was an Egyptologist; and my first visit to the realm of the pharaohs planted seeds of affection for that antique land that were soon to blossom into luxuriant flower. Emerson's keen intelligence and acerbic tongue -- which had won him the title "Father of Curses" from his devoted Egyptian workmen -- made him a foeman worthy of my steel. And yet, dear Reader, these were not my real reasons for yielding to Emerson's suit. I deplore clichés, but in this case I must resort to one. Emerson swept me off my feet. I am determined to be completely candid as I pen these pages, for I have made certain they will not be published, at least during my lifetime. They began as a personal Journal, perused only by a Critic whose intimate relationship gave him access to my private thoughts -- so he claimed at any rate; as his remarks on style and content of my writing became more critical, I decided to disallow the claim and lock up my Journals. They are therefore mine alone, and unless my heirs decide that the scholarly world should not be deprived of the insights contained therein (which may well occur), no eyes but mine will read these words.

    Why, then, the gentle Reader will ask, do I infer his or her existence by addressing her, or him? The answer should be obvious. Art cannot exist in a vacuum. The creative spirit must possess an audience. It is impossible for a writer to do herself justice if she is only talking to herself.

    Having established this important point, I return to my narrative.

    Not only did Emerson sweep me off my feet, I swept him off his. (I speak figuratively, of course.) By current standards I am not beautiful. Fortunately for me, Emerson's tastes in this area, as in most others, are highly original. My complexion, which others find sallow and dark, he described (on one memorable occasion) as resembling the honey of Hymettus; my coarse, jet-black hair, which refuses to remain confined in braids, buns, or nets, arouses in him a peculiar variety of tactile enjoyment; and his remarks about my figure, which is unfashionably slender in some areas and overly endowed in others, cannot be reproduced, even here.

    By any standards Emerson is a remarkably fine-looking man. He stands over six feet tall, and his stalwart frame possesses the elasticity and muscular development of youth, thanks to a vigorous outdoor life. Under the rays of the benevolent Egyptian sun his brawny arms and rugged face turn golden-brown, forming a striking setting for the sapphire brilliance of his eyes.

About the Author-
  • Elizabeth Peters earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. She was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1998. In 2003, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Malice Domestic Convention. She lives in a historic farmhouse in western Maryland.

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The Mummy Case
The Mummy Case
Amelia Peabody Series, Book 3
Elizabeth Peters
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Amelia Peabody Series, Book 3
Elizabeth Peters
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