cover image The Painted Queen: An Amelia Peabody Novel of Suspense

The Painted Queen: An Amelia Peabody Novel of Suspense

Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess, read by Barbara Rosenblat. HarperAudio, , unabridged, digital download, 13.5 hrs., $27.99 ISBN 978-0-06-219057-4

The final novel in the Amelia Peabody mystery series features outspoken archaeologist Amelia and company dodging assassins while searching from Cairo to Amama for the stolen bust of Queen Nefertiti. Almost as challenging as Amelia’s quest is reader Rosenblat’s task of giving voice to these larger-than-life characters with charm and credibility intact. The actor, who plays Miss Rosa on Orange is the New Black, smartly captures Amelia’s husband Radcliffe’s irascibility and bombast without edging into snobbery. Her mirroring of the fragile relationship between moody son Ramses and aloof daughter-in-law Nefrit, caught just after the demise of their hasty marriage, is exemplary. And her silken, unruffled voice for“master criminal” Sethos fits both his good-bad-guy status and his flirtatious nature. He, like everyone except the assassins, has fallen under the spell of the novel’s protagonist-narrator Amelia, whom Rosenblat presents with all of her romantic, confident, stubborn, feminist, witty, and intelligent flags flying. A Morrow hardcover. (July)