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La Malédiction des pharaons (edition 1998)

by Elizabeth Peters

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1,792None3,897 (3.85)73
Member:TwistedMentat
Title:La Malédiction des pharaons
Authors:Elizabeth Peters
Info:Le Livre de Poche (1998), Poche, 380 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*
Tags:mystery, amelia peabody, historical fiction, ancient egypt

Work details

The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters

Recently added bypussreboots, broselee, susanmpls, Bruno_Estigarribia, bke, private library, aharey, Silverlotus, aBarbL
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Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
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  Bruno_Estigarribia | Mar 31, 2014 |
In the first book of this series, Amelia Peabody was an amusingly practical and unemotional woman, far ahead of her times (the late 1800s). She had a sort of Tracy-and-Hepburn back and forth bantering relationship with a male Egyptologist, and you just knew they were going to fall in love. They did, and got married. This book picks up a bit later, when Amelia and Emerson have a small child and are living in England, waiting until said small child is old enough to take with them on excavations in Egypt.

The child is obnoxious, and precocious, of course. His nickname is "Ramses," which is supposed to suggest his charming stubbornness. A few pages of Ramses was enough to hope that he and his speech impediment would fall down a very deep well. So in a way, it's lucky that the reader isn't subjected to much of young Ramses. Why not? Well, in short order there's a mystery in Egypt that simply must be solved, and since Ramses is too young to accompany them, Amelia and Emerson leave the toddler at home with his aunt and uncle and venture off without him for months. Now, I don't blame them, kind of, because like I said, the kid is annoying. But I'm a reader and they are his parents and in theory, they should maybe be more attached to him than this? Also, they chuckle about how he bullies his cousins and they're all terrified of him and boy is everyone going to have lots of "fun" with Ramses while we're gone, hahaha. On the other hand, Amelia's parenting of the child is like Ayn Rand raising a baby in a Skinner box. The less influence she has in his life, the better he will probably do.

The rest of the book, in Egypt, is tolerably interesting. The mystery is fine, all accidents and deaths that the natives think are related to a curse on the tomb Amelia and Emerson are excavating. Amelia and Emerson are less enjoyable sniping at each other now, and I don't really think it's Emerson's fault. I think the fault is partially that Amelia is telling the story and she thinks she is oh-so-clever and oh-so-charming, of course, and partially that the "hate meet" is charming for a courtship, but should probably have the edge taken off for a marriage. It's not cute little jabs - it seems like Amelia doesn't like or think much of Emerson, really. I suspect that this is why Peters adds in frequent references to all the sex that Amelia and Emerson are having - they can't keep their hands off each other, so obviously 1. they actually do like each other and 2. Emerson forgives Amelia for her constant malicious remarks. But I don't buy it.

If the child were the only problem, I could maybe see going forward with this series. In fact, I'd been looking forward to doing so because it's nice to have something light and entertaining to read interspersed with heavier books. But I find that I just can't stand Amelia. She's turned from a spirited, sarcastic woman into a harpy.

Recommended for: the virulently childfree (after the first 30 pages or so), women who mistake being a harridan for being strong.

Quote: "Only one ripple mars the smooth surface of my content. Is it concern for my little son, so far from his mother's tender care? No, dear reader, it is not. The thought that several thousands of miles separate me from Ramses inspires a sense of profound peace such as I have not known for years." ( )
  ursula | Mar 19, 2014 |
Six-word review: Revolting characters contaminate picturesque Egyptian setting.

Extended review:

When I was a little way into this regrettable second installment in what might have been a delightful series of cozy mysteries, I posted the following on MrsLee's reading journal:

=====
And by the way, MrsLee...since you posted this on my journal thread, I've started that second book. Ugh. I was choking before I'd gone half a dozen pages. I went on, but I don't think I'm going to make it to the midpoint. A decent, quirky character has become a repugnant self-parody, spiteful and contemptuous, smarmy, coy, a terrible mother (to a brute of a child) and such an unattractive partner that her husband's sanity and powers of perception are in doubt. Even an operatic-cliché misunderstanding on a large enough scale to disrupt and eventually heal the romance would have been better than this nasty brew of marshmallow fluff and hydrochloric acid. So--see? We do hate some of the same things.
=====

Having finished the book by dint of sheer determined perseverance, all I have to add is that I agree with myself.

The only reason for any stars is that the setting is nicely described and the use of archaeology as a backdrop is a favorable attribute. I think I must be awarding one whole point for incorporating sidelong glances at actual players in nineteenth-century archaeological explorations. We catch a glimpse of the famed Egyptologist Sir E. A. Wallis Budge as something other than the venerated British Museum scholar and author, depicted here in unscrupulous competition with French Egyptologist Eugène Grébaut for possession and export of priceless antiquities:

"Budge is a scoundrel," Emerson said. "And Grebaut is an idiot." (page 45)

But these small light-shedding virtues are far from sufficient to redeem the irredeemable.

And that, for me, is the end of the series. Period. ( )
  Meredy | Mar 5, 2014 |
Amelia and Emerson go to Egypt to take over a dig after Lord Baskerville dies, leaving their son with an uncle. More deaths occur after they arrive. Both Amelia and Emerson are trying to solve the murders which the locals blame on a curse left by a Pharaoh. Not my favorite series, but a quick read. After beginning it, I realized that I had read this book when it was fairly new. It had been dedicated to one of my favorite authors Phyllis Whitney. I remember being quite disappointed in the book at that time because to me it was nothing like a Phyllis Whitney book. I wasn't at all enthralled with the setting. I just did not enjoy it at all. I pretty much quit reading any of Peters' books with an Egyptian setting. I recently read another book in the series and enjoyed it more. I have now re-read this one. I liked it more than I did the first time. I think it helped that I knew who some of the characters were and such. I just think this is one of those series that will never become a favorite. ( )
  thornton37814 | Feb 28, 2014 |
Amelia and Emerson had resolved that they would not return to the digs in Egypt until their son, Ramses was older, however, when a strange death occurs, Lady Baskerville begs them to return to dig and continue her husband's work.

While continuing the excavation, Amelia and Emerson solve the murders that have been blamed on the Pharaoh's curse. Light and fun. ( )
  cyderry | Feb 21, 2014 |
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The events I am about to relate began on a December afternoon, when I had invited Lady Harold Carrington and certain of her friends to tea.
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This book has the SAME tittle as one written in 1975 by Philip Vandenberg.
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Book description
Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe Emerson, heroic survivors of Crocodile on the Sandbank, are called back to Egypt by Lady Basekrville to complete the excavation of a recently discovered tomb. The dig had been left unfinished by her newly dead - an possibly murdered - husband, Lord Baskerville.
The locals say this particular tomb is cursed.
More and more of the native workers die in inexplicable accidents. Everyone - except Amelia and Radcliffe - holds the curese responsible. When Lord Baskerville's missing heir reveals himself to Amelia, she begins to piece together the mystery surrounding the tomb and Lord Baserkville's death.
Racing to uncover the truth, she and Radcliffe find Lady Baskerville more concerned with the contents of the tomb than with catching her husband's killer. Is there a flesh and blood murderer loose, or is it.
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The witty, indefatigable Amelia Peabody--now married to the woman-hating archaeologist Radcliffe Emerson--eludes the villains and solves three murders in this adventure set among the archaeological digs in the Valley of the Kings.

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