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The Deeds of the Disturber
by Elizabeth Peters

Book Five in the Amelia Peabody series. Click here to read reviews of earlier books in the series. This review may contain spoilers for previous books in the series.

At home in England after the latest season in Egypt, Amelia is as busy as ever. Her unscrupulous brother has dumped his two children on her, her husband is working hard to finish his latest book, and her son Ramses has become obsessed with mummifying small creatures. But no matter how hectic her days have become, Amelia always has time for a bit of sleuthing. When a night watchman at the British Museum is found dead, a mummy’s curse is blamed. Amelia suspects machinations of a more earthly nature, and begins investigating at once – all the while dodging the unwanted attention from two extremely dedicated newspaper reporters.

Maybe all this series needed to jumpstart my interest was a change in scenery. After The Lion in the Valley, I was nearly ready to walk away from the series, but I already had the next book so I thought I might as well read it. I’m so glad I did! I think that after the first book in the series, The Deeds of the Disturber has been my favorite.

In London, the characters have a chance to shine. It’s hard to imagine the Amelia that crawls through pyramid shafts doing more domestic chores, like ordering tea frocks or planning dinner parties with her servants, but that’s exactly what we see here – and it would seem that Amelia is more than capable of being a proper Victorian mother. Although her larger-than-life husband has been referred to as “Professor” throughout the series, the reader rarely sees him fulfilling such a role. (Much like Indiana Jones, he’s usually far too busy having dangerous adventures.) But here we see the scholarly side of Emerson as he faces his greatest challenge yet – finishing a manuscript in spite of the constant edits left by his wife and son on each page as he completes it.

The new characters are a great deal livelier than the usual crew, too. Percy and Violet, Amelia’s nephew and niece, are absolute terrors. Percy plays at being an honest young schoolboy, but it rings false from the beginning, while his sister eats and whines constantly. One child is too charming to be believed; the other utterly charmless. When these two are thrust upon Ramses, who has spent very little time with children his own age, the results are hilarious. (On that note, Ramses has continued to improve – he has evolved from annoying babbler to often the only sane voice in the room.) The female reporter, Miss Minton, is just as feisty and energetic as Amelia herself – a welcome change from the usual wilting milksop like Evelyn and Enid. Plus, the delightful Irish reporter Kevin O’Connell returns, stirring up trouble for the Emersons but lending a hand whenever situations threaten to spin out of control.

The murder mystery is very much in the background; I often forgot about it. But this was a welcome adventure that made me, once again, excited about this series and eager to read on.

4 out of 5 stars

To read more about The Deeds of the Disturber, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller
2011: Frauds, Myths and Mysteries by Kenneth L. Feder
2010: Eleanor the Queen by Norah Lofts
2009: Valaria’s Last Stand by Marc Fitten


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 26th, 2013 06:18 am (UTC)
After the second book, I was ready to throw in the towel on this series. There's only so much yelling and screaming I can take from Emerson, are the main characters still terribly grating?
Jun. 2nd, 2013 05:30 am (UTC)
I find that the characters grew on me over time, but if you don't like Emerson's bellowing and Amelia's self-righteous silliness, it probably won't get any better for you.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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