Murder in the Place of Anubis

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

During the reign of Tutankhamun (c. 1355 B.C.), Lord Meren is one of his servants known as the Eyes and Ears of the Pharaoh. He is also a confidant of the boy king, and as such, is greatly trusted by Tutankhamun. The pharaoh needs to be especially wary of priests of a former religion, who would like nothing better than to undermine his influence and restore the old gods.

When Hormin the scribe is found murdered in the natron at the embalming area, a sacred site of the god Anubis who leads the dead to judgment, Tutankhamun knows the murderer must be found quickly. Otherwise, his ability to rule will be called into question and his power weakened. So, the Pharaoh summons his trusted servant and charges Lord Meren with the task of solving the mystery with all due haste.

Lord Meren enlists the aid of his adoptive son, Kysen, who was raised by an abusive father in the village of the tomb makers. Together, they seek to work out the puzzle of Hormin’s murder. As they search, the reader is taken on a journey through many of the aspects of the life and customs of ancient Egypt.

Unfortunately, MURDER IN THE PLACE OF ANUBIS is a tedious book lacking flow, excitement, and suspense. The style is ponderous, clotted with descriptive detail which slows the story to a crawl. Readers will find much more satisfying mysteries set in Egypt in the tales of Elizabeth Peters, which, though written from a nineteenth century vantage point, nevertheless manage to steep the reader in the feeling of ancient Egypt and the times of the building of the great pyramids.