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The Mummifier´s Daughter - A Novel in…
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The Mummifier´s Daughter - A Novel in Ancient Egypt

by Nathaniel Burns

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I really wish that I could have given this book more stars. I love the idea of a female Egyptian forensic pathologist, because it makes a really interesting way to explore Egyptian knowledge of the human body. What really dragged the book down for me was the book's desperate need for an editor.

In addition to innumerable punctuation mistakes there are plenty of times where Mr. Burns needs to put the thesaurus down and use a simpler word more than once. The prose is unnecessarily florid and some of the word choices don't even convey the meaning that he's trying for. The book reads as if he's trying too hard not only to make the story work but to immerse us in the story's world. I think that if he found a well-qualified developmental editor, he would be able to polish this series up into a wonderful story.

I'll be the first to admit that this is in no way a mystery with a heavy emphasis on historical accuracy, but this is one of those rare times that it doesn't really bother me. Although there were a few glaring inaccuracies and anachronisms (a deben, not a debben, is a unit of weight and not a type of coinage) the world that Mr. Burns builds is at least internally consistent. That consistency, coupled with my fascination with Neti-kerty and her unique take on forensics, led me to be far more forgiving than I might otherwise be.

Neti herself is a lot of fun to watch when she's at a crime scene; I love seeing how an Egyptian might have made sense of rigor mortis or lividity. Outside of a crime scene, she's still a pretty interesting character, although there are a few times where attempts to show her cleverness serve rather to make other characters look unusually clueless.

Shabaka, appointed by Ramses II, is Neti's unintentional partner. He's a quiet, methodical man whosometimes appears to have very little spine or authority. I found his acceptance of insults, racism and insubordination very difficult to reconcile with the fact that he was there on Pharaoh's direct orders, especially when it directly interfered with his mission. It was painfully obvious in places that the only reason some of these moments were occurring was to prevent the plot from advancing too quickly.

While we're discussing the plot, I can only hope that as this series progresses, Mr. Burns gets better at mystery writing. I had the murderer figured out within a few pages, and I'm not the type who reads a mystery actively trying to figure it out. This is his first novel, so I'm hoping that as he hones his craft crime plotting will be less of an issue.

If you can get past the florid prose, punctuation and grammar mistakes, and historical inaccuracies, there is a fairly interesting story hiding underneath. I have to admit that despite all of these flaws I actually did enjoy watching Neti-kerty and Shabaka in action, and I'm looking forward to reading the next installment in the series. ( )
  ReneBlock | Jan 21, 2015 |
Had to abandon. The plot was promising and it appeared to be well-researched. However, the awkward writing and many grammatical errors were too distracting. ( )
  Suew456 | Jan 9, 2014 |
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