The Egyptian Coffin
The Egyptian Coffin is the second book in Jane Jakeman’s mystery series set in the 1830s, featuring the enigmatic, reclusive Lord Ambrose Malfine. Ambrose, who was severely wounded and disfigured while fighting for Greek independence, lives in his crumbling mansion in England’s West Country with Elisabeth, a former governess whom he loves but feels he cannot marry. Lilian Westmorland, the daughter of Ambrose’s late friend, is sent to Egypt by her uncle to recover after a riding accident. When a servant girl is found murdered on the grounds of the Westmorland estate, Ambrose suspects that Lilian may be in danger, and follows her to Egypt. While a smallpox epidemic rages in Cairo, they track down the villain who caused her troubles.
I would describe this book as a novel of suspense rather than a mystery; we know who the villain is almost as soon as he is introduced, but we don’t know the full extent of his villainy until the end. Jakeman’s descriptions of 1830s Cairo are a pleasure to read, and are sure to appeal to fans of Elizabeth Peters. Ambrose is a fascinating hero who reminded me of Charlotte Bronte’s Mr. Rochester.