The year is 1922, and Amelia Peabody, Emerson, Ramses, and their familiar company have returned to Egypt for another season of excavation. Before they have a chance to begin, however, they receive an unexpected visitor, flamboyant writer Magda Petherick, who spins an outrageous story about a cursed artifact and implores Emerson to exorcise its demon. Of course, no one falls for Petherick's elaborate yarn, but the beautiful statuette piques Egyptologist Emerson's interest enough to convince him an investigation of its history is in order. In the meantime, Petherick turns up dead, someone attempts to "liberate" the artifact, and two attempts are made on Ramses' life. It's a delicious setup for Peabody to exercise her special talents. The espionage complications of previous books evaporated with the end of World War I, leaving this a more routine adventure. But, as usual, Peters injects plenty of humorous banter, lots of bluster from Emerson, and enough coy swipes at Victorian propriety to keep the story lively. There's even a little surprise at the close. A pleasant addition to the long-running series.