The Prince Regent has ordered an ornamental jeweled mummy funerary mask from the tomb of the Pharaoh Amun-re from a procurer of antiquities, the wealthy Indian Prince Edward Duleep Singh, who has delivered several unusual artifacts over the years. After the money and the dealer have both disappeared, the Regent’s favorite detectives, Captain Jack Dryden and his wife Lady Daphne, are once again called upon to solve the mystery in An Egyptian Affair by Cheryl Bolen, Book 4 in the Regent Mysteries Series.
Traveling to Cairo are the husband and wife team along with Daphne’s younger sister Rosemary who is fascinated with all things Egypt. Joining them as an interpreter is Mr Stanton Maxwell, a brilliant young Cambridge scholar who is an expert on Orientology, fluent in numerous languages, and the author of several books. Along with Habeeb, their dragoman, who assists in the cultural exchanges, plus various characters they meet along the way, the scene is set to discover the answers to their questions.
Perhaps this book could be referred to as an historical travelogue as the visitors from England travel from Alexandria to Cairo and visit the Sphinx and the Pyramids. Of course during the Regency era, Egypt was a great unknown, especially for the British as France had a more prevalent presence in that country. While there were several scholars of “The Orient”, most Europeans were ignorant and viewed expensive artifacts, such as a sarcarphagus, from this area as exotic. In order to be true to the time period, the limited knowledge of the participants distracted from the storyline, with explanations more like lectures than plot developments. It didn’t help that the mystery was lame, the dialogue repetitive, and the characters one dimensional. The romance consisted of the developing relationship between Daphne’s sister Rosemary and the Egyptian expert Mr. Maxwell with a love triangle resulting after the unexpected arrival of Captain Cooper (a former crush from Rosemary’s season in London) who randomly appears on the scene, proposing marriage to a girl he barely noticed in England. Romantic feelings are limited to kissing, as the women are constrained by the mores of the times. Anything more promiscuous is only alluded to and left to the imagination. There is not much to keep ones interest resulting in a book which seems longer than its 250 pages. Better luck next time. Two and a half stars.
This ARC was poured by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.