The ninth Amelia Peabody book is set in the year 1903. Ramses is 15 and Nefret 18. This part has been put together from “letters, fragments of journal entries by persons as yet unknown and bits and pieces of manuscript ditto” which were found in a “moldering old mansion”. Most of the story is still from Amelia’s private journal but short excerpts from another manuscript (called H) have been inserted. The Editor doesn’t know who the writer of the H is but guesses that he’s Ramses or his confidante. The H is written in third person and describes the things that Ramses, Nefret, and David are doing behind Amelia’s back. The writer describes the unvoiced feelings of both Ramses and Nefret but takes so much notice of Nefret’s appearance that it’s probably written by a male.

The story isn’t disjointed at all and the other viewpoint is very interesting way to expand the story and the world. Of course, teenagers aren’t going to tell everything to their parents so it was a good choice to include another pov. It’s also quite entertaining to see Amelia with other peoples’ eyes.
Emersons are back in Egypt. Ramses and his best friend David have spent six months with Sheikh Mohammad who wanted to teach them all the skills that a grown Bedouin man should have: riding, shooting, and leading other men (and possibly sex). They return with exquisite horses which were a gift from the Sheikh. To her mother’s horror, Ramses has also a moustache. Nefret has started to study medicine.
Soon, a young American girl, Dolly, takes a fancy to Ramses and flirts outrageously with him every chance she gets. Both Amelia and Nefret resent her. Dolly’s father wants to talk about something with Amelia but they are always interrupted. Then, Amelia hears that the girl might be in danger; her companions have taken ill suddenly or had accidents. Even though Dolly seems to be quite spoiled and selfish, Amelia doesn’t want to leave her in danger.

Meanwhile, Emerson has not been given a permission to search for new tombs so the Emersons will have to work on the known tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Nobody is really happy with that but at least they will be near old friends. However, while they are getting in a carriage, someone slips a mysterious piece of paper to Emerson’s pocket: “Stay away from tomb Twenty-A”.

Soon, Ramses receives a letter from an old friend, Enid Fraser. She and her husband are in Egypt and she wants to meet Ramses again. Her letter reminds Ramses of a promise he made to her which makes Amelia suspicious. She decides to meet Enid and Donald. When they meet, Enid is looks older and tired. The couple is traveling with Mrs. Whitney-Jones who seems to be very familiar with Donald. Amelia has to help Enid, of course.

Despite all of these distractions, poor Emerson is trying his best to continue with his work his loyal Abdullah at his side.

The mysteries are quite enjoyable. The three threads are interwoven skillfully and the Emersons even manage to do some excavations between detecting. The Emersons are in fine form again and the book has many familiar secondary characters. Cyrus Vandergelt is again a staunch ally to the Emersons and I suspect one of the new characters will become a recurring one.

However, there’s one bit where I had to stop and think if I’ll continue with the book, or indeed with the series, anymore:
“[Amelia] could not help laughing: “You were right about her, of course. She wants, not only a husband, but one who will beat her when she needs it.””

Really, Amelia? So, now women will need to be beaten? I don’t consider spousal abuse to be funny. This also seems very much out of character for Amelia who at least says she supports independence for women. (On the other hand, she does show contempt for women who are not like her.)

However, there was a short exchange after that where the woman Amelia was speaking with says that she was a victim of domestic abuse. So, maybe there was some point here. I still think it was a horrid thing to say.

Otherwise, I liked this one a lot. I already have the next one as an audiobook.