The Painted Queen (Amelia Peabody Series #20)

The Painted Queen (Amelia Peabody Series #20)

by Elizabeth Peters, Joan Hess


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Egypt, 1912—Amelia Peabody and her dashing archeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, are once again in danger as they search for a priceless, stolen bust of legendary Queen Nefertiti and Amelia finds herself the target of assassins in this long-awaited, eagerly anticipated final installment of Elizabeth Peters’ bestselling, beloved mystery series.

Arriving in Cairo for another thrilling excavation season, Amelia is relaxing in a well-earned bubble bath in her elegant hotel suite in Cairo, when a man with knife protruding from his back staggers into the bath chamber and utters a single word—"Murder"—before collapsing on the tiled floor, dead. Among the few possessions he carried was a sheet of paper with Amelia’s name and room number, and a curious piece of pasteboard the size of a calling card bearing one word: "Judas." Most peculiarly, the stranger was wearing a gold-rimmed monocle in his left eye.

It quickly becomes apparent that someone saved Amelia from a would-be assassin—someone who is keeping a careful eye on the intrepid Englishwoman. Discovering a terse note clearly meant for Emerson—Where were you?"—pushed under their door, there can be only one answer: the brilliant master of disguise, Sethos.

But neither assassins nor the Genius of Crime will deter Amelia as she and Emerson head to the excavation site at Amarna, where they will witness the discovery of one of the most precious Egyptian artifacts: the iconic Nefertiti bust. In 1345 B.C. the sculptor Thutmose crafted the piece in tribute to the great beauty of this queen who was also the chief consort of Pharaoh Akhenaten and stepmother to King Tutankhamun.

For Amelia, this excavation season will prove to be unforgettable. Throughout her journey, a parade of men in monocles will die under suspicious circumstances, fascinating new relics will be unearthed, a diabolical mystery will be solved, and a brilliant criminal will offer his final challenge . . . and perhaps be unmasked at last.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594924647
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/25/2017
Series: Amelia Peabody Series , #20
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 143,294
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Peters earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago’s famed Oriental Institute. During her fifty-year career, she wrote more than seventy novels and three nonfiction books on Egypt. She received numerous writing awards and, in 2012, was given the first Amelia Peabody Award, created in her honor. She died in 2013, leaving a partially completed manuscript of The Painted Queen.

Joan Hess was the author of the Claire Malloy Mysteries and the Arly Hanks Mysteries, formally known as the Maggody Mysteries. She was a winner of the American Mystery Award and the Agatha Award (for which she was nominated five times), a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She died in November 2017, four months after the publication of The Painted Queen.


A farm in rural Maryland

Date of Birth:

September 29, 1927

Place of Birth:

Canton, Illinois


M.A., Ph.D. in Egyptology, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1952

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The Painted Queen (Amelia Peabody Series #20) 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First off, I love Elizabeth Peters and I adore Amelia Peabody. I recommend the books to everyone. Except this one. This isn't Elizabeth Peters at all. Her voice is completely lost. This in and of itself is disappointing, but understandable since Joan Hess had to pick up where she'd left off and Peters had a gift that'd be impossible to completely replicate. However, I was willing to push through this because I was interested in where he origional story was supposed to go. The writing is terrible. It occasionally jumps about so that I'm confused about what is going on until I realized she's moved to something, some time or somewhere else with no transition. Scenes that should be funny completely lack any humor. A dead guy falls into her bathroom while Amelia is in the bathtub and somehow Hess manages not to have any part of that absurd situation be even remotely funny. All the main characters are completely out of character. When you read it it feels more like "who the hell are these people?" than that feeling of returning to familiar friends that you get from every other book in the series. Amelia shows literally no interest in the excavation. None at all. That is grossly out of character. Several times Hess's references to the series are flat wrong. I found myself regularly crying out "Did you even READ the original books??" It's like a poorly written fan fiction from someone not even that familiar with the story. I couldn't finish it. I tried. I really tried. I wanted to at least get through it so I could pick out what Peters's original story was. It was so terrible I couldn't even manage that. By all means, read the Amelia Peabody series. They are wonderful charming books that have something appealing for everyone. Adventure, romance, humor, history, mystery. I recommend every one of them. Except this. Just skip this one. Pretend it's not even there. The series stands up beautifully on it's own and this adds nothing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is an okay read but for true AMELIA PEABODY fans it will be a disappointment The shsrp wit and edgy dialogue just isnt there
edf More than 1 year ago
I have read all of the Amelia Peabody series & love them, even rereading many of them. This was a very big disappointment ... did not flow as other books in the series. Not sure if Joan Hess even read the other books. Sad ending to a fabulous series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you JH for finishing PQ; of course the voice is a little different but we got one more ridiculous romp with our favorite gang
Andrea Schafer-Ramelli More than 1 year ago
In general, I was disappointed by this book. I've read the series many times and am a huge fan, and this read more like poorly-edited fan fiction than something created by a well-known writer. I felt readers were led-on with pre-release information claiming Peters/Mertz had already written a draft of the book and it was just being edited, only to read in the introduction that the book was based on notes she had left. The book failed to address the tensions between certain characters, ignored some characterization and chronology (since when did Fatima get mean, and Katherine Vandergelt didn't enter the series until Ramses was a teen); should have continued the allusions to some darker conspiracy that culminated in the next book in the chronology (in other words, what was Percy up to during this time); and depicted Amelia as a somewhat weak female constantly in need of physical or emotional shoring-up who didn't spend much time at all on the dig. I was happy to have one last glimpse of Peters/Mertz's work, but I'm not sure Hess has read the other books in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was ok a difficult read just because I am such a huge fan of Ms. Peters. I will miss her terribly. I love this series however Ameila seems out of character and Emerson is horribly written. She repeats scenes over and over i have never read a Joan Hess book and will not after reading this. A big disappointment to any Amelia Peabody fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is that the idea? Will Ms Hess write her own Amelia Peabody novel, in spite of what she has said? There are loose threads, especially I respect to Ramses and Nefret. Time will tell.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not guess who the villains would be until the end.
prussblue10 More than 1 year ago
I could not consider this title an homage to the late Elizabeth Peters (Mertz). It is claimed that the family and publisher selected Hess, a supposed friend, to complete the unfinished / unpublished manuscript. Hess is a known published author but I would suggest not of the caliber of the late Peters or unable to pick up on the style and tone of Peters. It would appear that Hess could not have read any of the titles from the series otherwise things should not have gone so 'off track' in this title. If this title had been a 'first in series,' there may not have been a series to compare this title with. It is really sad that the family and publisher could not have left well enough alone. I know that there will be Peters fans who will have to read this but prepare yourself before hand for disappointment.
L.M.Spaeth More than 1 year ago
Valiant Try, But Falls Short At End I have followed the mysteries of Barbara Mertz (her real name) as long as I can remember. Her books took one on wonderful tales, brought us mysteries and trips to various countries. I am going to miss her writings dearly. Thank you Barbara for providing me with the many vacations, from the seat of my choice. Even through the kindness of her friend, Joan Hess, to finish a book that was started before Barbara passed away, this last and final book falls short at the end. I sat with my mouth open and was amazed at how abruptly it ended…..and without a proper ending, especially considering this was the last Peabody novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an avid Peterson reader, this was far from what her books are like. The writer doesn’t even get the main characters’ stories right. It’s as though she hasn’t read the Amelia Peabody books. Sorry I bought it.
blacksmithgl More than 1 year ago
What a fabulous story. It is wonderful that Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Mertz) family allowed this story to be finished by Joan Hess. Having just re-listened to all of the Peabody and Emmerson books I did hear a few anomolies, but they do not take away from the plot. It was wonderful to hear Barabra Rosenblat bring the characters back to life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful, colorful, action packed..loved every minute.