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Books 176-177: Curse of the Pharaohs and The Moses Stone

Book 176: Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody #2).
Author: Elizabeth Peters, 1981.
Genre: Historical Mystery. Egyptology.
Other Details: ebook 307 pages/Unabridged audiobook (10 hrs, 6 mins). Narrated by Susan O'Malley.

When Lady Baskerville's husband Sir Henry dies after discovering what may have been an undisturbed royal tomb in Luxor, she appeals to eminent archaeologist Radcliffe Emerson and his wife Amelia to take over the excavation. Amid rumours of a curse haunting all those involved with the dig, the intrepid couple proceeds to Egypt, where they begin to suspect that Sir Henry did not die a natural death, and they are confident that the accidents that plague the dig are caused by a sinister human element, not a pharaoh's curse. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

This is a fun series, full of humour even with a high body count. As I did with the final few books in the Phryne Fisher Mysteries I combined listening to this while driving with a weekly catch-up with my Kindle edition. I find that this kind of novel with first person narration works very well with audiobook format though it is nice to read the print edition (or Kindle) to remind myself of what has happened during the week's listening.

Although I would have preferred the edition read by Barbara Rosenblat, I ended up quite liking O'Malley's narration. She has a teasing quality to her story-telling that underlines the essential lightness of the series. I did wonder whether Amelia Peabody with her striking looks and tendency to use a parasol as a weapon provided some inspiration for Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series.

Book 177: The Moses Stone (Chris Bronson #2).
Author: James Becker, 2009.
Genre: Conspiracy Fiction. Thriller,
Other Details: Paperback. 480 pages.

A clay tablet covered in ancient writing is found by an English couple in Morocco. A day later they are dead, killed in a car crash. But where is the relic they died to protect? Determined to uncover a secret that's endured for two millennia, Chris Bronson follows a trail of clues that lead him from the hustle of a Moroccan souk to the deserted caves of Qumran; from the sinister echoes of a water-filled tunnel under the city of Jerusalem to a windswept fortress whose name spells death. Threatened on every side by violent extremists, Bronson is plunged into a mystery rooted in biblical times. For the stone he must find is older and far more dangerous than he could ever have imagined ... - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

Chris Bronson is a police detective and as he speaks some French he is despatched to Morocco to look into the deaths, which at first do seem to be accidental. However, the baddies start knocking off others involved in a quest to get hold of the tablet, alerting him and others that something sinister is going on. When he receives photographs of the clay tablet he asks his archaeologist ex-wife, Angela Lewis, for assistance. She ends up accompanying him to Israel.

An entertaining thriller that proved a fun break after reading some quite heavy literary novels for the Man Booker Shadowing Group.Becker backed up his fiction with an author's note on the material. He seems to have a formidable knowledge of Biblical mysteries, which he uses to inform his fiction.
Tags: audio book, conspiracy fiction, historical fiction, historical mysteries, murder mystery, religion, thriller
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