Have I mentioned to you, Peabody, that one of the reasons why I adore you is that you are more inclined to beat people with your umbrella than fall weeping on your bed?
Amelia Peabody returns to Egipt in the company of her husband, Professor Emerson, and her darling offspring Ramses, now eight years old and more disruptive than you can imagine ( Ramses seldom disobeyed a direct order, but he had a diabolical facility for finding a loophole in my commands. ) . The plot follows the formula set up in the previous three books: the Emerson family sets camp on an archeological site and starts digging. Pretty soon the dead bodies outnumber the mummies discovered on site and the whole family participate in the investigations and speculations as to the identity of the guilty party - three Sherlocks for the price of one, with young Ramses eclipsing both his parents when it comes to lengthy discourse and far fetched theories. Jumping to conclusions is the favorite sport of the amateur sleuth family and much of the charm of the story lies in proving their theories wrong. As usual, there's a sideplot of young people who might fall in love if they were not among the suspects. The situation prompts Amelia to assume her matchmaker role and to work to bring them together whether they will it or not:
"You are not leaving my employ, Mr. Nemo. What — do you suppose that, having once placed my shoulder to the wheel and my nose to the grindstone, I will leave the furrow unplowed? I have sworn to redeem you and redeem you I will, with your cooperation or without it. In principle, I am in full sympathy with the right of every Englishman — or woman — or, come to that, any man or woman of any nation ... What was I about to say?"
Nemo's frown had been replaced by a blank, almost imbecile stare. "I haven't the slightest idea," he mumbled.
"Oh, yes. I believe firmly in the right of the individual to seek or leave employment whenever he or she chooses. Any infringement of that choice constitutes serfdom, and liberty is the inalienable right of humankind. However, in this case your right to liberty must be laid aside temporarily in favor of a higher good."
I found the actual criminal investigation and the archeological details in this fourth book were not quite up to the high standards I have come to expect from Peters. The ending was spectacular, but somewhat unoriginal, with the M.C. (stands for master criminal) explaining at length his dastardly deeds. Or maybe I am a victim of my own jumping to conclusions and being proven wrong when the suspect I picked up turned out to be innocent (view spoiler)[ Enid Debenham(hide spoiler)]
eBook Lion in the Valley (Amelia Peabody, #4)