Whose mummy was it, and what was inside???
Heart of the Nile is the second book I’ve read in the Cyrus Barker/Thomas Llewelyn series by Will Thomas, and I liked this one a lot too. (See my earlier review of Lethal Pursuit here.)
As Heart opens, Barker and Llewelyn are approached by the wife of Phillip Addison, who was a volunteer in the Egyptian section of the British Museum several nights a week, cataloging mummies. He didn’t come home last night, and she’s worried about his whereabouts and safety. (Sadly, readers have previously met Addison in the Prologue, and are pretty sure he is already dead…)
Barker and Llewelyn visit the Museum and learn that Addison probably found “something” inside one of those mummies – and not only is he missing, but the unknown “something” is missing too. On top of that, it starts looking as if the mummy might have been Cleopatra (yes, THAT Cleopatra), so surely the “something” is important and valuable. With contacts all over London, and a good bit of investigative talent, the pair find Addison’s body, figure out what was inside the mummy, and piece together what must have happened, all while tangling with some shady characters along the way – and also tangling with some who aren’t so shady but are still rather dubious anyhow.
All in all, I found that Thomas’ sharp writing, amusing characters (including cameos by a young Flinders Petrie), feel for the period, and solid plot made Heart of the Nile quite enjoyable to read. And I have only a couple of minor issues with the book. First, and rather trivially, I’m a big Egyptophile, and so I had sort of been hoping that there might be a quick trip to Egypt (!) for our heroes in a book that is, after all, titled Heart of the Nile. But that was not to be, and I guess I’ll have to re-read an Amelia Peabody book for that 😊. Less tongue-in-cheek, however, the plot was a bit of a downer, both in the way it started, and in the way it ended. And, although I do understand that life isn’t always fair, when I’m reading mysteries, I’m typically reading for pleasure, and so I was mildly annoyed at the tinge of sadness throughout. Still, that wasn’t enough to offset my overall enjoyment and since I don’t give many five-star reviews, my four-star rating is a solid recommendation to read Heart of the Nile.
And finally, my thanks to St Martin’s/Minotaur and to NetGalley for the advance review copy…