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Seeing a Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters
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Book Nine in the Amelia Peabody series. Click here to read reviews of earlier books in the series. This review may contain spoilers for previous books in the series.

It is 1903, and the Emerson family is once again back in Egypt, preparing for a season of excavation. Amelia, her husband, and their ward Nefret are excited to be reunited with her son Ramses, who has spent the previous six months living in Egypt with his best friend David under the supervision of Sheikh Mohammed. The reunion is a happy one, but tranquility doesn’t last long. As the team begins their work, they uncover a female mummy dressed in modern clothing. As Amelia works to solve the mystery of the murdered woman, her children start their own secret investigation, and it’s a race to see if the Emersons can find the killer before he strikes again.

One of the nice things about long book series is the author can bring back characters from previous novels, and a perk of Seeing a Large Cat is the return of Donald and Enid Fraser, the two lovebirds Amelia encouraged in The Lion in the Valley. Their romance has faded with the years, and their marriage is now strained near to the point of breaking. Donald, never an intellectual man, has become obsessed with a long-dead Egyptian princess whom he communicates with through the charlatan medium Katherine Jones. Amelia becomes determined to fix the broken relationship, but the breakdown of their marriage is a solemn reminder that happily ever after doesn’t last for all that long.

Another welcome change to the story is the introduction of a “Manuscript H” to supplement Amelia’s narrative. These anonymous documents focus on the adventures of Ramses, David and Nefret, and they provide the reader with an account that contrasts sharply with Amelia’s. It’s written in the style of a Haggard adventure novel, and the editor suggests that the author may have been Ramses himself, fictionalizing events in emulation of his mother. Certainly, the text reveals a quirkier side of Ramses’ personality. I found it hilarious to read that the sixteen-year-old is still quite terrified of his mother, and believes her to be practically all-knowing, because in Amelia’s version of events he comes across as cool, stoic and fiercely independent. Throw in some drama from an infatuated Southern belle who chases Ramses all over Egypt, and Manuscript H is a funny balance to Amelia’s story.

The mystery itself is of middling interest. The discovery of a modern mummy is certainly intriguing, but having become quite familiar with Peters’ manner of plotting her mysteries it’s obvious early on who the guilty party is, and the reader is simply waiting for the Emersons to catch up. Still, I enjoyed the story immensely, and I’m glad that Ramses (or whoever the author of Manuscript H may be) has stepped up to join in the storytelling, for as Amelia and Emerson grow older (they must be in at least their mid- to late forties by now) it will be up to the next generation to continue their criminal investigations. ( )
  makaiju | Aug 9, 2014 |
  Bruno_Estigarribia | Mar 31, 2014 |
Amelia is great as always. ( )
  GTTexas | Dec 2, 2013 |
I loved the scenes from Ramses' point of view, and I love the way that Ms. Peters writes the interactions between these family members. All their shorthand conversations and the way they seem to know what the other is thinking and above all the affection that holds them together. Fun! ( )
  tjsjohanna | Oct 11, 2013 |
One of the later and terefor to me maybe less agreeable of the Amelia Peabody series, the early members of which I really liked. ( )
  antiquary | Aug 18, 2013 |
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To the M.C. and his chief lieutenant, wherever they (or he?) may be
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"Really," I sad, "Cairo is becoming overrun with tourists these days - and many of them no better than they should be!"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
The year is 1903. The place is Cairo. And preparing to tackle an archeological dig in the Valley of the Kings, the intrepid Amelia Peabody dreams of a large cat, and Egyptian sign of good luck. In fact, an ominous message warning "Stay away from tomb Twenty-A" only intrigues her. But Amelia soon acquires a fearful headache when teenage son, Ramses, and her beautiful ward, Nefret, sneak about to help a pretty American who thinks she's being stalked. And when tomb Twenty-A yields a mummy wearing silk undies, Amelia finds herself in a labyrinth of macabre murder, passion and cruel deceit. Now she needs the cat's good luck and more: feline stealth, a nose for something rotten, and nine lives--or her next dig may be her own grave....
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0446605573, Mass Market Paperback)

Elizabeth Peters's books about Egyptologist Amelia Peabody are like longer, more literate versions of those letters some relatives send to keep people up to date on their family adventures. They're also lively feminist spoofs on the two-fisted Victorian adventure novels that inspired the Indiana Jones films. In this ninth book in the Peabody series, it's 1903, and Amelia and her clan--irascible husband Emerson, fearless son Ramses, gorgeous ward Nefret--are in Cairo, dealing with everything from mummies (both the ancient and more recent varieties) to affairs of the heart. Previous Peabody paperbacks include The Hippopotamus Pool and The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:40 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

According to an ancient Egyptian papyrus, dreaming of a large cat means good luck. And that's just what plucky archaeologist Amelia Peabody could use, as her growing family matures in the new century. When the excavation of an unknown tomb reveals a recent murder, the Peabody family must unearth an assassin who'd like to end their discoveries for good.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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