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The Poisoner of Ptah
Ancient Egyptian Mysteries 6

by Paul Doherty

      Itís always a treat to step back into Paul Dohertyland, a place delightfully replete with sinister lurking figures, spies, alchemists, torturers, poisoners and intrigue. With his racy plots and hint of the supernatural, he has shown us the most thrilling side of history again and again. Now he returns a sixth time to ancient Egypt and Judge Amerotke, who is charged by Queen Hatshepsut to solve a mysterious poisoning. A treaty between Egypt and Libya was about to be signed when three scribes suddenly dropped dead in full view of everybody. Can this be the work of the Poisoner of Ptah?

Ancient Egypt is enough of a marvel in itself, but with the added frisson of a whodunit my cup runneth over. As usual, this is an exciting page-turner, dealing with a jailbreak, a mythical old book of poisons and the swimming pool equivalent of a locked room murder. It helps too that Amerotke is a likeable fellow, with his loving family and dwarf assistant who is always trying to make money with some scheme or other. The crimes are baffling, the opponents suitably fiendish and the pages turn like lightning. But I particularly like the way he brings old Egypt to life with his descriptions; you can almost see the dust, smell the incense and hear the rattle of sistrum and the creak of the shaduf. Effortlessly entertaining - may he write many more such tales.

The Book

August 9, 2007
Historical Crime [1475BC, Egypt]
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
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