A review of The Mummy of Mayfair by Jeri Westerson – just published

A fun airplane or beach book…

I tend to think of Jeri Westerson as an author of historical mysteries set in medieval England, since I’ve read and enjoyed many books in her Crispin Guest and Will Somers series.   But I’m aware that she writes in other genres too, and was interested to learn that she has recently started a Sherlock Holmes pastiche-ish series.    So I was happy to receive a review copy of the second and most recent book in that series, The Mummy of Mayfair.   (I’m also a fan of ancient Egyptian history, having taken an Ancient Egyptian Civilization class at UCLA Extension many (!!!) years ago, so the mummy connection was a nice bonus.)

The Mummy of Mayfair turned out to be more of a mystery with Sherlock Holmes, Mrs Hudson, and even Jimmy Wiggins making appearances, than a true pastiche.  But it was still a quick and enjoyable read.   The two protagonists, Tim Badger, who had been a member of the Baker Street Irregulars, and Ben Watson, have recently opened a Detecting Agency together.  But funds are still tight, so when they are offered the chance to provide security for a “mummy unwrapping” party, they take the job.  Unfortunately, Dr Enoch Sawyer, who was going to do the unwrapping, instead turns up dead in the mummy’s cartonnage himself.  Luckily, our detectives are hired by one of Sawyer’s colleagues to investigate, and things proceed from there.

Westerson provides lots of fun details about Egyptian antiquities, curses, dangerous poisons and other things along the way, and there’s a hint of romance in the air as well.    The only thing I wish were different about the book would be for Ben Watson’s last name to be anything but “Watson”.  That would eliminate my confusion – especially in the early chapters – between Ben himself and Holmes’ own Dr Watson.  But all-in-all, The Mummy of Mayfair was a fun book that would make a good airplane or beach read.   And finally, my thanks to Severn House and NetGalley for the review copy!

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