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Laughter of Dead Kings (Vicky Bliss, No. 6) Hardcover – August 26, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061246247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061246241
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,280,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of bestseller Peters's Vicky Bliss series will welcome her solid sixth suspense novel to feature the plucky art historian, last seen in Night Train to Memphis (1994). In Munich, where Vicky is an assistant curator at the city's National Museum, she and her longtime love, John Tregarth (formerly Sir John Smythe, notorious art thief), are shocked when their friend Feisal, the Inspector of Antiquities for all Upper Egypt, arrives unexpectedly and informs them that King Tut's mummy has been stolen from its tomb in the Valley of the Kings and that John is the prime suspect. Vicky and company, including her inquisitive boss, set off on a whirlwind quest beginning in Europe and ending in the Egyptian desert to clear John's name and recover the famous corpse. In compensation for a slower pace than in earlier books, Peters offers vivid descriptions of Egyptian landmarks, which will resonate with readers of the MWA Grand Master's beloved Amelia Peabody historical series. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Heavy-hitter Peters (named Grand Master by both Mystery Writers of America and the Anthony Awards and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Malice Domestic) resurrects series heroine/art historian Vicky Bliss, last seen in 1984. Vicky, introduced in 1973, is still in her early thirties and still connected to her lover, Sir John Smythe, a former art thief whom Vicky suspects may not be entirely reformed. There’s quite a disconnect in reading what is supposed to be a contemporary adventure. Characters speak in an elaborate, archaic, torturously witty fashion. Vicky, even as a first-person narrator, is not the main force in her own life but is dragged about the globe by Sir John. The effect is very much like a 1930s comedy of manners, with very creaky plot machinery. Readers who enjoy that era’s mysteries may like this one, but Peters comes across here like someone who hasn’t updated her gramophone. The plot revolves around recovering the body of King Tut, stolen from its tomb by some Brits. Bliss, through her current connection as assistant curator of Munich’s National Museum, follows Sir John through various exotic locales in search of Tut. The saving grace for this relic comes from Peters’ own expertise in the ancient world (she has a doctorate in Egyptology from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago). For devoted Peters fans who simply can’t wait for the next Amelia Peabody novel. --Connie Fletcher

Customer Reviews

Having said that, I found it fun reading and would highly recommend it to those who enjoy this genre.
J. Briley
That is why this book was somewhat of a disappointment--the plot was not as exciting as her previous ones, and was even somewhat confusing.
Mary Sherman
At any rate, I was overjoyed when I heard that there was to be another Vicky Bliss book, and--as always--Ms. Peters did not disappoint.
L. Pasztor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By M. C. Carter on September 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a VERY GOOD book in my opinion, which is what a book review, (again in my opinion) should be. Do I think it is Ms. Mertz-Michaels-Peters greatest I would award that distinction to either Ammie Come Home (Michaels) or Devil May Care (Peters) The Love Talker (Peters) or maybe Summer of the Dragon or Legend in Green Velvet(also written as Peters). Ammie still scares me into sleeping with the lights on and these Peters books will always send me into spasms of laughter. But Laugher of Dead Kings is still a fitting contribution to and sadly probably the last of the Vicky Bliss series and does exactly what I had hoped it would do!

My advice to new readers of these books to not read this as a stand alone. To really appreciate this book, a reader needs to know the characters, both in the Bliss books and the Emerson-Peabody books.
In my opinion John is behaving more and more like his ancestor Ramses Emerson as this book progresses. My one quibble is that I would have loved to have seen more made of the relationship reveal between the two series, although after having the honor of meeting Ms. Mertz-Michaels-Peters and talking to her briefly about this point, I'm not surprised at the way this scene was written. What I would most enjoy reading is another Amelia book that would introduce loyal readers to the ancestress of John, Ramses' (as yet unborn in the last Amelia book)youngest daughter and complete the arc between the series.

I am thrilled, and bored my family to death talking about, the hints that there might be additional Amelia books coming from the author with the 'large hat' and her ownership of the three family journals. And to complete this very long book review, I also recommend the Joan Hess book 'Mummy Dearest' as the hints and ties to the Amelia books were fun.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By snoboe on August 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
To warn you in advance of potential bias on my part, the Vicky Bliss series has been beloved to me for many years, and I had long since given up on a new novel. So this was a treat. Taken as a stand-alone book, The Laughter of Dead Kings is probably not quite on the same level as some of its predecessors, but then I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who hasn't read the previous novels, or Night Train to Memphis at a bare minimum. (And in all fairness, that was a tough act to follow.) Peters doesn't spend an extensive amount of time reintroducing characters, locations, etc., and a newcomer would be quite lost. On the other hand, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who is familiar with Vicky and company-- but it's unlikely that they would need my urging. I can, however, assure them that it's entirely worth it.

This is an honest-to-goodness Vicky, complete with lighthearted first-person narration, improbable occurrences, charming anti-heroes, and a certain amount of blundering. Peters writes with her usual panache and manages to avoid the pitfall of some of her other works (particularly the later Amelia Peabodys) in keeping the story tidy and to the point. If anything, it leaves you wishing for just a little bit more... but of course that's a hallmark of the best.

All the characters are as charming and convincing as ever, despite the fact that they have been mercilessly dragged into the modern era of cell phones and instant messaging, and a few of Peters' very deliberately placed revelations had me grinning. Great stuff. Sadly, both the tone and the events strongly implied that she is wrapping up the series, but then, "one is all any of us can count on." And this "one more" was just about right.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Miss Ivonne on September 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
When "Night Train to Memphis" was published in 1994, I eagerly awaited the next installment in the Vicky Bliss/John Smythe series. As year after year went by, I came to the sad conclusion that there would never be another novel.

You can imagine how delighted I was when I learned that there would be a new book in the series. I bought "Laughter of Dead Kings" the very day it came out. The sixth entry in this series was wonderful, albeit not as good as some of the other books in the series, particularly "Street of Five Moons" and the lovely "Trojan Gold." John and Vicky were wonderful, but Anton Z. Schmidt -- ah, the clever and debonair Schmidt -- was better than ever! I know John is supposed to be the love interest, but it's Schmidt who is my hero. I've fallen in love!

With so much suspense, cleverness, laughs, and twists and turns, "Laughter of Dead Kings" was definitely worth the wait!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on September 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The "Inspector of Antiquities for all Upper Egypt" Feisal arrives at the Munich National Museum to visits assistant curator American expatriate Vicky Bliss. She welcomes her friend who has come so far since THE NIGHT TRAIN TO MEMPHIS caper, but is shocked to see him so far from his beloved Egypt and coming to Germany without telling her. He asks to see her lover antiquities dealer John Tregarth.

Feisal informs John and Vicky that someone stole King Tut's mummy from the tomb in the Valley of Kings pyramid. Based on evidence, the Egyptian police believe strongly that notorious art thief Sir John Smythe is the thief. Stunned as Tregarth was once Smythe, but no longer steals anything; they begin investigating knowing they will risk Egypt to find the real culprit and return Tut to his resting place

After too long a wait, Elizabeth Peters fans will welcome the return of the statuesque amateur sleuth who along with her British lover and their Egyptian friend try to prove Sir Smythe is retired and someone else is imitating his M.O. The story line is fun to follow as the connection to Amelia Peabody is obvious with the tour of Egypt that follows in her historical footsteps, which in many ways dominates the plot over the investigation. Readers will enjoy the blissful return of Vicky and John as they struggle to stay alive and out of jail long enough to prove his innocence.

Harriet Klausner
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More About the Author

ELIZABETH PETERS, whose New York Times best-selling novels are often set against historical backdrops, earned a Ph.D. in Egyptology at the University of Chicago. She also writes best-selling books under the pseudonym Barbara Michaels. She lives in Frederick, Maryland.

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