Book review: Egyptian Enigma by L.J.M. Owen

I am delighted to share my review of Egyptian Enigma by L.J.M. Owen, Book 3 of her Dr Pimms’ Intermillennial Sleuth series

Egyptian Enigma

About Egyptian Enigma

Dr Elizabeth Pimms, enthusiastic archaeologist and reluctant librarian, has returned to Egypt.

Among the treasures of the Cairo museum she spies cryptic symbols in the corner of an ancient papyrus. Curiosity leads Elizabeth and her gang of sleuths to investigate a cache of mummies hidden in the Golden Tomb.

What is the connection between the Tomb and Tausret, female Pharaoh and last ruler of Egypt’s Nineteenth Dynasty? How did the mummies end up scattered across the globe? And is Elizabeth’s investigation related to attacks on her family and friends?

Between grave robbers, modern cannibals, misinformed historians and jealous Pharaohs, can Dr Pimms solve her new archaeological mystery?

Filled with ancient murder, family secrets and really good food, Egyptian Enigma is the third adventure in the charming crime series:  Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth. Really cold cases.

 

My thoughts (reviewed for Sisters in Crime, Australia)

The third in the Dr Pimms Intermillennial Sleuth cosy mystery series, Egyptian Enigma takes

the reader deep into the exotic and ancient realm of the Pharaohs of Egypt. Engaging

opening scenes of the prologue dive straight into the action of the story as Elizabeth Pimms

visits a tomb in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo and catches a mysterious

woman in her hotel room stealing her journal.

The narrative races back 4,000 years to Khemet and the reign of Pharaoh Seti II as his wife,

Tausret prepares for her day. When her husband is assassinated, she takes control to

become the last in her dynasty to rule Egypt and she is at risk at every turn. This parallel

narrative is well-conceived and convincing, the reader provided an at once educative and

fascinating insight into an ancient civilisation.

Meanwhile, back home in Canberra, the intrepid and wilful Dr Pimms and her team set

about solving an archaeological mystery using modern techniques to see re-create a

mummy. How Dr Pimms’ investigations and Tausret are connected is the key narrative

driver.

The story is helped along by good characterisation of both the protagonist and minor

characters, and a carefully devised and well-paced plot with numerous twists and turns. The

reader is soon caught up in the blended family life of Dr Pimms and her professional life as

both librarian and academic, with all of the ups and downs, arguments and tensions that

come with such complexity.

The pace of the narrative is slowed considerably by both the archaeological exposition and

descriptions of sumptuous dining. Yet these descriptive scenes help to provide Egyptian

Enigma with a strong, cosy-mystery vibe. Themes of child brides, the subjugation of women

and the deleting of women’s stories from the historical record are foregrounded to the

delight of feminist readers.

The ending is abrupt and leaves many questions unanswered, leaving the reader waiting

impatiently for Book Four. Overall, Egyptian Enigma will satisfy cosy mystery fans who enjoy

being cosseted in a Miss Marple-style story world, L.J.M. Owen’s knowledge of archaeology

coming into its own as ever it does in the Dr Pimms’ series.

You can find Egyptian Enigma on Amazon

Find L.J.M. Owen at her website https://www.ljmowen.com/

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Review: On the Job by Sandi Wallace

I’m delighted to present my review of On The Job by Australian crime author, Sandi Wallace.

 

 

“The highs and lows of cops on the job. The cases that make them, break them, bring them laughs, maybe even love. Police on the beat, working one-officer shops and seasoned detectives pursue a cunning home intruder, a full-moon prankster, false friends, vengeful partners. Adrenaline-charged car chases, unsanctioned surveillance, intense interrogation. The impact of a child’s tragic death. The import of unearthing what happened to an infant and her mother. Lives saved and crooks captured. This gripping collection of Sandi Wallace’s award-winning short fiction–“Busted,” “Silk Versus Sierra” and “Losing Heidi”–along with new and never-before released verse and stories, includes “Impact,” a finalist in the international Cutthroat Rick DeMarinis Short Story Contest. ”

As ever with Sandi Wallace, each story in On The Job has the reader settling into a relationship of trust from the first paragraph, confident that the journey will satisfy. Wallace is a courageous writer, tackling the confronting and hard-hitting with sensitivity and depth of understanding. Her protagonists, the cops ‘on the job’, are sharply crafted and authentic. Wallace’s storytelling draws the reader up close, experiencing the reactions of investigating officers as they solve crimes and bang to rights the perpetrators.

Little wonder the stories here have won awards. Wallace charms her readers with tales that not only grip, they present socially realistic worlds, especially of rural Australia. There can be no doubt the author has done her research. These are stories that linger, long after they are read, and after experiencing the works of Sandi Wallace I, for one, will never imagine rural Australia in quite the same way again. This collection does not disappoint.

Find the author here.

Buy here. 

I’d like to thank the author for my review copy.

 

Mayan Mendacity by L.J.M. Owen

Dr Elizabeth Pimms has a new puzzle.

What is the story behind the tiny skeletons discovered on a Guatemalan island? And how do they relate to an ancient Mayan queen?

The bones, along with other remains, are a gift for Elizabeth. But soon the giver reveals his true nature. An enraged colleague then questions Elizabeth’s family history. Elizabeth seeks DNA evidence to put all skeletons to rest.

A pregnant enemy, a crystal skull, a New York foodie, and an intruder in Elizabeth’s phrenic library variously aid or interrupt Elizabeth’s attempts to solve mysteries both ancient and personal.

 

 

 

My Review (written for Sisters in Crime)

Set in Canberra, and in the Mayan empire in what is now Guatemala, Mayan Mendacity is the second in L.J.M. Owen’s Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth series. It is a challenge setting up the next book in a series and Owen has done so with finesse. The narration is light, buoyant, playful at times, yet ever observant, the result, a most satisfying read.

The main plot is driven by protagonist Dr Elizabeth Pimm’s new volunteer project, given her by the exacting Dr Marsh. She must assess an archeological find, the remains of a cesnote in Guatemala, meeting a series of crushing deadlines. Elizabeth’s pursuit of answers to the mysteries of the find is continuously thwarted as a number of complications beset her. Obstacles and challenges come from all directions, enough to make the weak among us buckle, but not Dr Pimms.

Owen has created a convincingly flawed and utterly lovable protagonist. She’s determined, dedicated, thorough and loyal. She sallies forth with gung ho exuberance, never down for long, no matter what befalls her. Elizabeth’s attitude is probably best summed up when she confronts another disaster and asks herself, ‘What fresh new hell was this?’

Dr Pimms is supported by a cast of characters, all rounded out and believable. The reader is introduced to each in turn as the story unfolds and a secondary plot emerges, one that is deeply personal. Indeed, it is Dr Pimms’ own history that thwarts her investigation, yet ultimately leads her to mature and open her heart.

The story is thoroughly researched; the author clearly knows her themes and her setting. Technical details are provided in an engaging, easy to follow manner. This is especially evident when Owen opens a window on the fascinating world of the Mayan empire, making use of a parallel narrative to take the reader back to the time of Dr Pimms’ find.

Elizabeth’s phrenic library is an interesting addition to the narrative, a fascinating invention, one that creates a curious occult dimension to Owen’s series. This phrenic library is a personal and mundane version of the Akashic records, a metaphysical compendium of all that has ever occurred in human history, stored on the inner planes, according to Theosophical belief. As a device, Elizabeth’s inner library works well, granting her plausible, if esoteric, access to knowledge she would otherwise be hard pressed to gain.

In all, I found Mayan Mendacity difficult to put down. Owen has provided her readers with an entertaining story that also informs, without allowing exposition to put a brake on the narrative. Pulling off a story laden with this much technical detail and maintaining a fast pace is quite a feat.

You can buy a copy of this book HERE

Visit the author L.J.M. Owen
With thanks to Sisters in Crime for my review copy