Sunday, January 23, 2011


With January 2/3 of the way over, I've read 5 mysteries and 4 books in other genres. This is about normal for me, as about 50% of all the books I read are mysteries of one kind or another.

Having signed up for the Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge 2011, I'm challenged to not only read mysteries, but post reviews of what I'm reading. And, with the large number of mysteries that I will have read by the end of the year, my personal challenge is to read 12 mysteries from 12 different sub-genres. There are lots of ways to subdivide mysteries into sub-genres, so I'm going to use the list posted by Book City Chick.

The first book which I counted toward this challenge was Hornet's Nest by Patricia Cornwell, which I reviewed on 7 January. I have two others to claim toward completion of the challenge, so let's get on with the reviews:

The Mummy Case by Elizabeth PetersThe Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters
Amelia Peabody, Book 3

Pages: 384
Started: 5 Jan 2011
Finished: 8 Jan 2011
First Published: 1985
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Books (Omnibus edition 1993)
Genre: Mystery, historical
My Rating: 4/5

Acquired: Borrowed from Sanger Public Library

Disposition: Returned to library

First paragraph:

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.

On their third trip to Egypt in 1894—ten years after their initial meeting—Amelia and Emerson Peabody bring their young son Ramses along. Emerson had hoped to be given permission to dig at the pyramids of Dashoor, but instead finds himself assigned to the pyramids of Mazghunah which have been thoroughly explored after plundering by grave robbers. During their short stop-over in Cairo, an illegal antiquities dealer is found hanged the day after Amelia had visited his shop. Ruled a suicide by the local police, Amelia is convinced that the shopkeeper was murdered. And, by the time they have begun exploring their assigned digging site, mummy cases start appearing and disappearing, and a second murder complicates the mystery. It's up to Amelia—with plenty of assistance from her precocious son, Ramses— to find the master criminal behind it all.

My thoughts:
Another absolutely delightful journey to Egypt with Amelia, Emerson, and their usual crew of native assistants. Ramses adds a lot of humor, particularly in his canting speech ('dese', 'dem', and 'dose') peppered with big words and deep thoughts.

As with the other books in this series, I found myself turning to Wikipedia to look up the places or pharoahs mentioned in the novel. I find this an added benefit as I learn even more about ancient Egypt and the extensive number of artifacts which have been recovered.

Definitely a good book, and I will be reading more and more of the series. I've rated it 4 out of 5.

This book is counting toward the Mystery/Suspense challenge.


Killer Hair by Ellen Byerrum Killer Hair by Ellen Byerrum
Crime of Fashion #1

Pages: 276
Started: 11 Jan 2011
Finished: 16 Jan 2011
First Published: 2003
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Mystery, amateur detective
My Rating: 4/5

Acquired: Purchased in 2010

Disposition: Mailed to Lemonitsa who selected it from a Virtual Book Box at BookObsessed.

First paragraph:

Lacey Smithsonian looked down at the unfortunate woman in the coffin and thought, Oh my god, that is the worst haircut I've ever seen.

Lacey Smithsonian has gotten stuck writing the fashion column at the Eye Street Observer, DC's third (or fourth) ranked daily newspaper. But she gets a chance to apply her investigative skills when her hairdresser, Stella Lake, asks her to look into the death of fellow hair stylist Angie Woods. The police have ruled it a suicide, but Stella is convinced that Angie was murdered. In a very short time, a second stylist in Virginia Beach is found dead in nearly identical circumstances. Convinced that a serial killer is going after employees at the Styletto's chain salons, Lacey isn't having any success getting the police to move away from their initial rulings of suicide.

My thoughts:
Oh what a fun mystery! I was almost tempted to list this one as a Comic Mystery instead of Amateur Sleuth, but I'm hoping to get the next book in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series and those are definitely funnier and would better fit the category. But I digress ...

I'm definitely going to seek out the next couple of books in this series. Lacey offers a running commentary on the socialites, politicians, and companions of politicians in Washington, D.C. And her advice on fashion and etiquette for such events as testifying before a congressional committee are comic relief for a well-crafted Who-Done-It.

Rates a 4 out of 5.

Another book toward my Mystery/Suspense challenge.

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