To be honest, I requested Egyptian Enigma from NetGalley on a whim. I like mysteries and I like Ancient Egypt, so this sounded interesting, and the cover was cool. I guess I was thinking I’d be getting something like the Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters (who is much missed).
I did not get what I was expecting, although that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Instead of a historical setting, like Amelia Peabody, it’s actually set in the now, with all the technology that goes with a contemporary setting. I also didn’t realize that this was the third book in a series, but while it clearly builds on previous books in the evolving relationships between characters, it does a good job of establishing the people in the story and their backgrounds.
The book starts off with Elizabeth Pimms and her net friend (but not lover, despite my expectations when he was introduced) Henry vacationing in Egypt. Elizabeth is an archaeologist and librarian whose career got side-tracked by her father’s death (presumably in book one), pulling her back to Australia to help support her family. They’re having a great trip, other than an incident with a thief breaking into Elizabeth’s hotel room to steal… a journal?
From that opening, Elizabeth returns home to Australia where she works in a library, is revising academic papers based on her first two mysteries, and is running her first tutoring session at the university. She’s dealing with getting her archaeology career back on track, and dealing with a crazy family that includes a Welsh grandfather, a French grandmere, and a Chinese grandmother, as well as a recently discovered illegitimate half-sister who is still adjusting to the family.
Having been fascinated by an exhibit on The Golden Tomb in Egypt, she gets together with friends (Rhoz, Nathan, Llew, and Henry via Skype) to see if they can’t figure out whose tomb it is. The surprising method used involves 3D printing of the scans of skeletons for all of the mummies found in the tomb, and using physical commonalities to try to pin the relationship between the mummies, and to other known mummies, looking for familial traits, as well as to figure out who was the right size to be in the sarcophagus.
Between scientific investigations and family drama, there is also historical chapters, actually detailing who the people in the tomb are, and how they ended up there.
My only big objection to the book was that it ended on a cliffhanger that was so abrupt that I thought maybe my copy was missing a couple of chapters, but a quick check found other people commenting on the cliffhanger as well.
Still, it was good enough that I have bought the first two books in the series, and I definitely plan to buy the fourth book when it comes out to find out why a body was found in the library with the journal that was stolen in Egypt. A solid, and fun, read.