The fifth Amelia Peabody mystery takes place solely in England -- and mostly in London. A night watchman has been found dead, apparently of fright, in front of a mummy display at the British Museum. A little later an administrator in the museum's Egyptological section is found with his throat cut. Adding to the mystery are regular public appearances of a mysterious figure in an ancient Egyptian mask and leopard skin cloak, warning that the planned unwrapping of a mummy must not take place. The narrative quality of this book takes a step up from the preceding four for humor and entertainment -- especially since an exotic prostitute from Emerson's past turns up and raises jealousy issues for Amelia, and the couple are also saddled with the care of her brother's two children for several months; our heroes also pay visits to Madame Tussaud's and an opium den -- but the ending was a bit of a pat letdown for me. Peters continues to sprinkle interesting knowledge about ancient Egypt in her books, the Shakespearean references and VERY subtle allusions to Sherlock Holmes are a welcome touch, and it was a cute decision to make the dead museum guard's name Albert Gore.
This report prepared by David Loftus