The Poisoner of Ptah
Thebes, 1479 BC. Hatusu is the Pharaoh Queen of Egypt. In the Hall of Two Truths, and with great ceremonial, a peace treaty is about to be signed, presided over by Amerotke, the Chief Judge. The Treaty Rolls are placed on the sacred table. Three representatives from Libya and three from Egypt come forward to drink the sacred wine from a bowl of turquoise faience threaded with gold. Within minutes, the three Egyptians are dead. Not far away, a merchant and his wife are found floating, face downwards, in their lotus pool. Were the two incidents connected or totally unrelated?
It is given to Amerotke to provide the answers which, of course, he does, against a colourful background of ancient Egypt alive in historical detail. The reader can see each scene, smell the stench of the streets or the flowers in the well-watered gardens of the rich, and feel at one with the characters. The clues are all provided; a word here, a sentence there, but it was beyond me to unravel it until I read the last chapter and then, of course, it was so obvious. Highly recommended.