The Jackal's Head
Ten years earlier, 15-year-old Althea Tomlinson left Egypt and archeology when her father was discredited and sent back to the United States in shame. Shortly after that, he died in a car accident. Now Althea has a chance to return and find the truth of what happened with her father.
She comes to Luxor as the companion/chaperone of the teen-aged daughter of a wealthy American who collect Egyptian artifacts. He wants his daughter in Egypt, but she fell and broke her leg in a skiing accident a few weeks earlier. The temporary job is the perfect excuse for Althea to return to Egypt quietly and without informing her father's colleagues who are still there.
It's not long before she is recognized and drawn back in with the archeologists who condemned her father. As she learns the truth of what happened ten years ago, she gets a new picture of her father. She also is now in danger. Her father found something before he died that men have been searching for since. Someone believes Althea holds the clue to a hidden stash of artifacts. Will she live to see her father's greatest discovery?
The thing that struck me the most during this novel is the writing style. This is one of Elizabeth Peters' early novels and is written in the romance mystery style of the 1960's. Although I know writing styles change over the years, I don't always see the similarities in popular novels like I did here. I kept thinking of Mary Stewart's romantic mysteries of the same era - an author I've read and admired for years.
The conclusion was obvious in a couple areas, but Peters keeps a secret or two throughout The Jackal's Head to keep the reader guessing. The descriptions of the Luxor area also show Peters' appreciation of the area as well as her archeological knowledge that is later used so well in the Amelia Peabody series. Although this isn't necessarily the novel to start with if you haven't read any of this author's work, it is a good one to add to her list.
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