Introducing Amelia Peabody, rich heiress, a strong and intelligent woman ahead of her time, outspoken and eager for adventure, 30-something spinster determined never to marry, she is our narrator and the story is told in the form of a travel journal she is keeping. When she comes into her money she decides to travel to Egypt, a place that has always captivated her imagination, against the wishes of her family who consider it frivolous and unbecoming for a woman to travel alone and a waste of money. She goes anyway, on the way to Egypt she meets Evelyn who becomes her travelling companion and is enveloped in a mystery as soon as they arrive. As they travel to view the pyramids and various tombs, they make the acquaintance of a pair of brothers also there for archaeological goals.
Slow and predictable at the start and not very complex as a mystery, I still enjoyed it immensely for several reasons - most of all for the comedy, as the relationship between Peabody and Emerson developed their acid dialogue had me laughing out loud, and I was also interested in the graphic descriptions of Egypt a century ago, the journey on the Nile, the pyramids, the people and study of antiquities. Quite a comment on the British traveling through the "colonies" and handling ancient artifacts, prejudices and all, there are a few references sprinkled throughout the novel to historical events such as fighting in Sudan. I look forward to reading Book Two of the Peabody series.