Wednesday, September 28, 2022

ARC Review: Secrets of the Nile by Tasha Alexander

Secrets of the Nile

Tasha Alexander
Series: Lady Emily Mysteries (Book 16)
Publication: Minotaur Books (October 4, 2022)

Description: In a brilliant homage to Agatha Christie, critically acclaimed author Tasha Alexander sends Lady Emily to Egypt during British colonial rule to investigate a crime that leads back to the era of the Pharaohs.

In Secrets of the Nile, Lady Emily and her husband, Colin Hargreaves, have joined his formidable mother on a holiday to visit the exotic treasures of Egypt. Their host, Lord Bertram Deeley, is a renowned amateur British collector of antiquities, who has invited his closest friends on a lavish cruise up the Nile to his home at Luxor. But on the first night of their journey, he suddenly collapses after offering a welcome toast, a victim of the lethal poison cyanide. Who amongst this group of his nearest and dearest would want to kill their generous host?

Emily and Colin’s investigation soon reveals that even his closest friends had reasons to want him dead: was it the archeologist whose dig Deeley was poised to fund until he suddenly withdrew support? The powerful politician whose career Deeley had secretly destroyed? The dyspeptic aristocratic English spinster whose hired travelling companion seems determined to protect her employer? Or could it be Mrs. Hargreaves herself, who may have spurned the advances of Lord Deeley when they were both younger?

A key clue may lie with several ancient ushabtis, exquisite three-thousand-year-old sculptures that played a role in a hidden story from the time of Ancient Egypt, one of a sister’s unshakeable loyalty to her brother, a tale of betrayal and revenge. In an unforgettable finale, Emily and Colin gather their fellow travelers together to unmask a killer whose motive is as shocking as it is brilliant.

My Thoughts: Lady Emily, her husband Colin, mother-in-law, and stepdaughter are traveling to Egypt so that her mother-in-law can spend some time with an old friend. They don't expect the old friend - Lord Deeley - to drink some of his special tisane at the end of their elaborate welcome dinner and die of cyanide poisoning. 

Lord Deeley had gathered quite an assortment of guests beyond the Hargreaves party, and it soon becomes apparent that all of them, including Mrs. Hargreaves, could have motives to murder him. There is a political colleague who blocked Lord Deeley's path to power, There's an archaeologist who dig he first agreed to fund but then reneged. There's his "best friend" who once had an affair with Lord Deeley's deceased wife. There's Mrs. Hargreaves who spurned his marital advances. 

Winding around this story is the story of a young woman who lived in the village of artists that the archaeologist is excavating and who was having problems with mysterious break-ins at her sculpture studio and who was also having trouble with her new sister-in-law. 

While the blurb cites a homage to Agatha Christie, I see a homage to Elizabeth Peters and her wonderful Amelia Peabody. In fact, both Kat and Lady Emily have brief encounters with Amelia Peabody and her family. And Colin and Emily's young son Henry reminds me forcibly of Ramses Emerson.

The mystery was well done, and the ending came as a surprise to me. Looking back, the clues were there but I missed them. Fans of this series won't want to miss this engaging new episode.

Favorite Quote:
"Surely, Mr. Hargreaves, you don't mean to use the professional designation of a tradesman as an inducement?" Lady Wilona asked. "I am horrified merely thinking about it."

"Fear not," Kat said. "No one would ever mistake you for a detective, Lady Wilona."

"I should hope not!" She shuddered, indignant. 
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I've read this author, also I think just one of the series. This sounds a nice investigative read!


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