St. Martin’s, Apr 2008, $24.95
It has been a long road with many complicating detours, but Farberville, Arkansas bookseller Claire Malloy and Lieutenant Peter Rosen tie the knot. Peter disappeared after the wedding, going to Egypt on business where he will meet up with his bride for the honeymoon in Luxor. Claire understands her Peter will vanish periodically because he works with Egyptian authorities in connection with a newly formed terrorist organization.
Also on the honeymoon are Claire’s seventeen year old daughter Caron and her friend Inez. The three ladies are quickly absorbed into the expatriate community, of who many are not what they seem as they have hidden agendas that arouse Claire’s suspicions. The girls believe a mustached man with a scar is following them. They tell Claire and Peter that they were late because they eluded this stalker. While sightseeing, one of the female visitors is kidnapped by men on horses; her lover persuades Claire to help him find her, but he disappears too. Soon expatriates are killed allegedly linked to an undiscovered tomb. Claire investigates with a need to know what is going on amidst the tourist trap.
The latest Claire Malloy book is a delightful, charming and hilarious amateur sleuth tale that refreshes the series by moving the heroine from the States to Egypt where she and readers meet an eccentric cast. Armchair travelers will thoroughly enjoy the tour of Luxor, but make no mistake it is Claire’s investigation that carries the plot. Although why the student asked Claire to make inquires seems odd, fans will appreciate this charming complicated cozy as no one except Claire and her retinue is what they purport to be; thus much of the fun is figuring out just who each of these masqueraders truly is.