The Painted Queen: Book summary and reviews of The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters, Joan Hess

The Painted Queen

An Amelia Peabody Novel of Suspense

by Elizabeth Peters, Joan Hess

The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters, Joan Hess X
The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters, Joan Hess
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  • Published Jul 2017
    352 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Book Summary

Egypt, 1912 - Amelia Peabody and her dashing archeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, are once again in danger as they search for a priceless, stolen bust of legendary Queen Nefertiti and Amelia finds herself the target of assassins in this long-awaited, eagerly anticipated final installment of Elizabeth Peters' bestselling, beloved mystery series.

Arriving in Cairo for another thrilling excavation season, Amelia is relaxing in a well-earned bubble bath in her elegant hotel suite in Cairo, when a man with knife protruding from his back staggers into the bath chamber and utters a single word - "Murder" - before collapsing on the tiled floor, dead. Among the few possessions he carried was a sheet of paper with Amelia's name and room number, and a curious piece of pasteboard the size of a calling card bearing one word: "Judas." Most peculiarly, the stranger was wearing a gold-rimmed monocle in his left eye.

It quickly becomes apparent that someone saved Amelia from a would-be assassin - someone who is keeping a careful eye on the intrepid Englishwoman. Discovering a terse note clearly meant for Emerson - Where were you?" - pushed under their door, there can be only one answer: the brilliant master of disguise, Sethos.

But neither assassins nor the Genius of Crime will deter Amelia as she and Emerson head to the excavation site at Amarna, where they will witness the discovery of one of the most precious Egyptian artifacts: the iconic Nefertiti bust. In 1345 B.C. the sculptor Thutmose crafted the piece in tribute to the great beauty of this queen who was also the chief consort of Pharaoh Akhenaten and stepmother to King Tutankhamun.

For Amelia, this excavation season will prove to be unforgettable. Throughout her journey, a parade of men in monocles will die under suspicious circumstances, fascinating new relics will be unearthed, a diabolical mystery will be solved, and a brilliant criminal will offer his final challenge...and perhaps be unmasked at last.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Although fans may be a bit disappointed by some unresolved questions ... the Emerson clan takes a fitting final bow as the curtain falls on a pioneering career." - Publishers Weekly

"Despite a few flaws, devoted Amelia Peabody fans (this reviewer counts herself as one) will read this book with tears in their eyes as they bid farewell to these much-loved characters (and author)." - Library Journal

"Everyone in the familiar Peabody-Emerson cast is present or accounted for, tying up loose ends with panache and optimism. Series devotees may choose to branch out with the exploits of Tasha Alexander's similarly clever Lady Emily Ashton." - Booklist

"Fans will cherish the legacy; newcomers will be forgiven for fidgeting through the busy plot and arch humor." - Kirkus

This information about The Painted Queen was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Bridget G.

Not the Emersons I knew...
I wanted so much to love this book! Plot aside, there were just too many "glitches" in the characters' speech and personalities for me to get absorbed in the tale. As another reviewer stated, the male characters especially did not behave like those created by Elizabeth Peters. I do actually wonder if Joan Hess really read all the Peabody books...she should have avoided blatant mistakes such as writing that Katherine Vandergelt "had watched over Ramses since his birth". They meet when Ramses
is 16. Hess also writes that Daoud has "several wives". He has one wife, Khadijah. Hess refers to Emerson's "sluggish habits in the morning" when readers know he is always entreating other family members to get up very early to get started on their excavations.
None of this makes a difference to the plot, but Hess and the editors must know that fans are fussy! If a project like this is to be done, it should be done well for the sake of those of us who have loved Amelia and her entourage for so long.

Anne

The Painted Queen
I purchased The Painted Queen expecting the same level of writing I came to expect from Ms. Peters. What a disappointment! The characters, especially the males, were extremely out of character and many comments were made that were false. Ramses never gave himself the sobriquet "brother of demons' and certainly never shouted it at people to intimidate them. Nefret was not a blonde. Emerson seemed unsure of himself and whenever she got herself into stupid situations he nearly cried when recovering her, telling her he could not live without her. Ramses never used a very coarse and vulgar word which I won't mention. According to a previous book there were no crocodiles left in the Nile. Sethos behaves in a silly and ineffectual way and Abdullah would never have told Amelia he was ready to give up on her, she would insist on going "on her merry way". And more... One would believe the author never even read the other books. There was effort put into this but I think the bottom line is she simply does not have the same personality and mindset Ms. Peters had. I didn't keep the book.

Gloria B

Disappointed
I have read and loved all of the Amelia Peabody novels so was happy to see a new one. However, the characters in this book are not the ones I grew so fond of in the previous Amelia stories. Also, the plot was contrived and parts of it made no sense to me. This book needs a thorough editing. While I enjoyed the read, it was not Elizabeth Peters.

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Author Information

Elizabeth Peters, Joan Hess Author Biography

© George Johnson

Barbara G. Mertz studied at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, receiving an M.A. in 1950 and a Ph.D. in Egyptology in 1952. In 1950 she married Richard Mertz and had two children, Elizabeth and Peter. She was divorced in 1969. A past president of American Crime Writers League, she served on the Editorial Advisory Board of KMT, A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt. She was also a member of the Egypt Exploration Society and the James Henry Breasted Circle of the Oriental Institute. Under her own name she is the author of Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs, A Popular history of Ancient Egypt and Red Land, Black Land, Daily Life in Ancient Egypt.

Under her pseudonym Barbara Michaels, she wrote twenty nine novels of suspense. As Elizabeth Peters, she produced thirty seven mystery-...

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