cover image THE ANUBIS SLAYINGS: A Story of Intrigue and Murder Set in Ancient Egypt

THE ANUBIS SLAYINGS: A Story of Intrigue and Murder Set in Ancient Egypt

Paul C. Doherty, . . St. Martin's Minotaur, $23.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-312-27658-4

In 1478 B.C., in the Egyptian capital of Thebes, the judge Amerotke confronts a fascinating maze of puzzles, death and knife-edged political intrigue. Envoys from the defeated Mitanni nation have come to beg for a peace settlement by kissing the painted toes of the Divine Pharaoh-Queen Hatusu, but seem to nurture more sinister purposes. A priest on vigil in the Temple of Anubis, locked inside a chamber with a large amethyst sacred to the jackal god, is found fatally stabbed—the jewel missing, the lock secure. A dancing girl lies dead in a temple garden, with no signs of violence. Fish float lifeless in an ornamental pool. Amerotke must discover how these incidents are related, and uncover the identity of the shadowy figure glimpsed garbed as the divine Anubis, while other murders occur and the judge himself faces peril in the lion-haunted desert outside the city. It is difficult, after all, to notice minor wounds among the flea bites everyone bears, and priests cannot be tortured to extract confessions. The fecund Doherty (The Mask of Ra; The Horus Killings) brings in (and wraps up as tight as a shroud) several subplots evoking the Egyptian culture of death, where "Powerful Theban nobles and merchants even arranged dinner parties and invited guests to come and inspect their latest caskets." This is another fine performance from this prolific author, sure to pass inspection by his many fans. (June 11)

FYI:Doherty's latest medieval mystery, The Demon Archer, was reviewed in Forecasts, Jan. 22; his new Alexander the Great mystery, The House of Death, in Forecasts, Apr. 30.