cover image The Painted Queen

The Painted Queen

Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess. Morrow, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-208351-7

The long-running series by MWA Grand Master Peters (1927–2013) featuring forthright Amelia Peabody Emerson and her irascible archeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, comes full circle with this energetic final novel completed by Hess, Peters’s friend and fellow mystery author. In 1912, the Emersons revisit Amarna, the setting of the first Peabody book, 1975’s Crocodile on the Sandbank; Egypt’s Service des Antiquités director Maspero is worried about the disappearance of German archeologist Morgenstern from the excavation there. Peabody soon locates Morgenstern in Cairo, but his erratic behavior and ties to forgers of a priceless likeness of famed queen Nefertiti disturb her. Efforts to locate the original artifact are complicated by attempts on Peabody’s life by men wearing monocles, an interlude with a melodramatic romance novelist, and the reappearances of the Emerson family’s nemesis, Sethos. Although fans may be a bit disappointed by some unresolved questions (such as Peters’s hints of a connection between the Peabody and Vicky Bliss series), the Emerson clan takes a fitting final bow as the curtain falls on a pioneering career. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary Agency. (July)