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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Curse of Senmut, by Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton


The Curse of Senmut
by Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton
2011


Until I did a smattering of research for this review I wasn't aware of the term Egyptomania. I was aware that there was such a phenomenon - I just didn't know that it had a name. And while I may have my wires crossed when it comes to the chronology it was always my impression that this sort of thing began to wane sometime after the first few decades of the twentieth century.

In any event, ancient Egyptian tombs, ruins, artifacts and curses seem like a somewhat dated mix of ingredients for a mystery novel nowadays, but I decided to give The Curse of Senmut a try anyway. It didn’t hurt that the Kindle edition was being offered for a short time for the quite affordable promotional price of absolutely nothing.

What I'll say at the outset is that if you're looking for one of those highly intricate puzzle-type mysteries this book is not really the one. There's a reasonably interesting mystery at the heart of it all, but I would say that the plotting and clueing were solid but not exceptional. None of which detracted from what I thought was a quite entertaining book.

It gets underway with archaeologist Ardis Cole (this is the first and so far the only book in a planned Ardis Cole Series) heading to the Valley of the Kings to work with her acclaimed mentor, Jane Darvin. Who's on the site when Ardis arrives but is seriously ailing. She dies shortly thereafter in the hospital and Ardis has reason to expect foul play, though she's really the only one.

From here the story unfolds in a fairly linear manner, dealing in turn with each of the small circle of suspects. There's supposedly a curse at work and there's are treasures that may be disappearing from the site and there's allegedly a large cache of gold that's never been found. Before it's all over Ardis survives what seem to be several attempts on her life and the authors do manage to toss in a rather unexpected twist (at least for this reader).

Recommended, with the aforementioned caveats.

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