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Friday, April 20, 2018

Egyptian Enigma by L.J.M. Owen

Author: L.J.M. Owen
Publisher: 1 March 2018 by Bonnier Publishing Australia
Pages: 250 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction, mystery, crime, Egypt
My Rating: 3 crowns

Dr Elizabeth Pimms, enthusiastic archaeologist and reluctant librarian, has returned to Egypt.
Among the treasures of the Cairo museum she spies cryptic symbols in the corner of an ancient papyrus. Decoding them leads Elizabeth and her newly formed gang of Sleuthers to a tomb of mummies whose identities must be uncovered.
What is the connection between the mummies and Twosret, female Pharaoh and last ruler of Egypt's nineteenth dynasty? How did their bodies end up scattered across the globe? And is the investigation related to the attacks on Elizabeth's family and friends back in Australia?
Between grave robbers, cannibals, misogynist historians and jealous Pharaohs, can Dr Pimms solve her latest archaeological mystery?
Filled with ancient murder, family secrets and really good food, Egyptian Enigma is the third adventure in the charming series Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth. Really cold cases.
My Thoughts

I was looking forward to this one, as I love all things to do with Ancient Egypt. However I have to admit to being somewhat disappointed with this book. Thinking I would be on some fabulous journey down the Nile, only the first initial chapter was in Egypt (and that had little to do with the story in general), everything else was discussions around 3D printed mummies. Sadly I have to admit to very quickly losing interest.

Not having read the previous two books in the series, I was informed this would not really be an issue as each was pretty much a standalone and it would be easy to follow. I beg to differ. I was totally lost on family dynamics, underlying familial themes and outside friendship connections. Therefore I found the characters difficult to relate to. I did enjoy the obtuse references to all things to do with Canberra but found the detailed food references rather perplexing.

What I did enjoy - and fervently wished there was more of - were the chapters set in Ancient Egypt. More time spent here would really have added to the story. Following Tausret was very interesting and I would loved to have read more about her. Unfortunately, the present day group of friends sitting around measuring, examining and discussing 3D mummies in an attempt to unravel an ancient mystery was boring, and this sadly takes up the majority of the book. On too many occasions it felt like a huge information dump, ‘Why don’t we walk through it step by step?’ with everything neatly and rather coldly presented and all rather ending up artificial. If I had to, ‘walk through the same basic analysis’ one more time, or read, ‘Can we see that in his teeth?’, ‘What are his teeth like?’ I may just scream.

The story had an unsatisfactory ending and overall was just too academic in terms of forensic science info dumps, there was just not enough pertinent story involving a mystery in Egypt. I do not deny the great amount of research undertaken but just wish there was more from Tausret the final Pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty, rather than present day musings.

‘Elizabeth shared the group’s frustration but tried to remain positive. So far, apart from being able to list various metrics about the mummies, they hadn’t really discovered anything to help them identify the people buried in the Golden Tomb.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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