The Ape Who Guards the Balance by Elizabeth Peters
The Ape Who Guards the BalanceSethos, the Master Criminal, has returned. He has been in London stealing private Egyptian antiquities. Amelia had seen him during a suffragette march in London. Unfortunately, she didn’t realize it was him until later after the crime had been committed. The newspapers note the face that she participated in the march that was his cover for getting into the residence with the collection. He then sends a letter to the newspapers proclaiming her innocence of the affair. Then she is almost kidnapped in London. Her son, Ramses, was able to rescue her.
The Emersons then left for their annual excavations in Cairo. They are doing “boring” clean up work in the Valley of the Kings, and are not allowed to look for new tombs there. As usual, their quiet “dig” is followed by more unusual incidents. Ramses and David are attacked after purchasing an exquisite papyrus. Someone comes into Nefret’s room at night. Soon it is not safe for any of them to go out alone or even in twos. They receive warnings that are not recognized in time. And the bodies of two of the Egyptian natives that had been involved with the Emersons were found in the Nile, attacked in a manner resembling a crocodile attack.
While I enjoyed the personalities of the grown up Emerson children, this book is a weak link in the Amelia Peabody series chain. With the children grown we have to have more than one voice. Amelia, like any adult with grown children, does not know everything they do. Unfortunately, in this novel she comes off looking rather witless. The children and Emerson do not shine, either. Ramses’ romantic problems held my interest, but have another book or two in which to be resolved. Abdullah also plays a larger role in this story.
If you are reading the series anyway, read this one too. If you are new to the series, don’t start with this one. The first one is The Crocodile on the Sandbank. Another excellent one to read is The Last Camel Died at Noon. Start with one of those instead.