Every now and then a mystery series is so good that it takes the reader by the throat and refuses to let go until the next long-awaited installment arrives. So it is with the award-winning Amelia Peabody series. In 1975, writer-Egyptologist Elizabeth Peters began her series of archaeological mysteries with Crocodile on the Sandbank, featuring the unusual Victorian Egyptologist Amelia Peabody Emerson. Now, Peters continues with the 11th installment, The Falcon At The Portal. We see an older Amelia here, secretly preserving her youthful appearance by covering up the gray that has crept into her black locks and suspecting that her attractive, hot-tempered husband, Radcliffe, is doing the same. Their troubled son Ramses has spent months at a time studying away from the family in his attempts to deal with his passion for the Emersons' beautiful ward, Nefret. Readers will remember this exotic beauty whom Amelia rescued from a desert oasis in The Last Camel Died at Noon. From a 13-year-old Priestess of Isis, she has grown into a tantalizing young woman quite unaware of Ramses's fascination for her.
Troubles anew await the Emersons as they prepare for another season's archaeological dig in Egypt. Radcliffe's irascible nature has landed him yet another seemingly dull site at the pyramids of Zawaiet el ‘Aryan. But this time things come to a boil before the family even leaves England. Someone is selling forged antiquities and using a friend and fellow archaeologist as scapegoat. Troubles are never small for the Emersons. Unpleasantness is further compounded when Amelia's distasteful nephew shows up in Alexandria and follows the bevy of admirers pursuing the delectable Nefret much to Ramses's annoyance. What with a newly discovered pyramid, a young woman smitten with Ramses (much to Nefret's annoyance), and unexpected complications in the deepening relationship between Ramses and Nefret, Amelia is challenged as never before. Soon, even the reader is forced to admit that the family will never be quite the same again after this adventure.
If you've become addicted to Amelia Peabody mysteries, one thing is guaranteed: After reading The Falcon At The Portal, you'll be on pins and needles until Peters's next installment.