cover image The Cairo Curse

The Cairo Curse

Pepper Basham. Barbour, $15.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-63609-472-4

In this fast-paced second installment of the Freddie and Grace series, Basham (The Mistletoe Countess) delivers a high-octane mystery set in early 1900s Egypt. At the outset, newly married Lord Franklin and Lady Grace Astley are planning their honeymoon in Italy. Before they leave England for the trip, Lord Astley’s cousin, Georgia, invites the two to stop at the Egyptian archaeological dig she and her new husband, Sydney, are financing. Grace—Franklin’s pistol-wielding, irreverent American wife—relishes the idea of riding a camel and discovering mummies, and quickly agrees. Upon arrival, the Astleys are immediately tipped off that trouble’s afoot. Sydney, a cruel and opportunistic man, has depleted Georgia’s dowry and is clearly hiding an unsavory past; the women’s jewelry goes missing; and no one else on the dig is quite who they seem either. Grace and Frederick rapidly become entangled in a web of intrigue involving a newly discovered tomb, stolen antiquities, and murder, and must use their wits (and weaponry) to come out alive—drawing on their faith as a steadying force in dicey situations (climbing the Great Pyramids, attempting escape from thieves). The sharp characterization is complemented by a plot that’s by turns funny and suspenseful, and Lady Grace Astley will especially steal readers’ hearts with her independence and humor. This is a pleasure. (Feb.)