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Publisher's Summary

For the first time in more than a decade, New York Times best-selling Grand Master Elizabeth Peters brings beautiful, brainy Vicky Bliss back into the spotlight for one last investigation. But this time, the peerless art historian and sleuth will be detecting in Amelia Peabody territory, searching for solutions to more than one heinous offense in the ever-shifting sands of Egypt's mysterious Valley of the Kings.

Who stole one of Egypt's most priceless treasures? That is the question that haunts the authorities after a distinguished British gentleman with an upper-crust accent cons his way past a security guard and escapes into the desert carrying a world-famous, one-of-a-kind historic relic. But the Egyptian authorities and Interpol believe they know the identity of the culprit. The brazen crime bears all the earmarks of the work of one "Sir John Smythe", the suave and dangerously charming international art thief who is, in fact, John Tregarth, the longtime significant other of Vicky Bliss. But John swears he is retired - not to mention innocent - and he vows to clear his name by hunting down the true criminal.

Vicky's faith in her man's integrity leaves her no choice but to take a hiatus from her position at a leading Munich museum and set out for the Middle East. Vicky's employer, the eminent Herr Doktor Anton Z. Schmidt, rotund gourmand and insatiable adventurer, decides to join the entourage.

But dark days and myriad dangers await them in this land of intriguing antiquity. Each uncovered clue seems to raise even more questions for the intrepid Vicky - the most troubling being, Where is John going during his increasingly frequent and unexplained absences?

The stakes are elevated considerably when a ransom note arrives, accompanied by a grisly memento intended to speed up negotiations - because now it appears that murder most foul has been added to the equation.

Don't miss any of the mysteries in the Vicky Bliss series.
©2008 MPM Manor, Inc.; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

I love Vicki Bliss

The Vicki Bliss series has always been my favorite of Elizabeth Peter's work. I am so glad she revisited Vicki. The trip back has been wonderful. Look for the other titles, Borrower of the Night, Street of Five Moons, Silhouette in Scarlet, Night Train to Memphis, Trojan Gold. These earlier works are somewhat dated, but great stories all the same.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen
  • Gainesville, FL, United States
  • 01-19-14

I've already listened to this book many times!

Vicky Bliss is one of my favorite characters. Her stories are funny and serious and full of action. I wish there were more in the series, and hope there are more to come. This one is set in current time, so that cell phones are involved. Great book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An absolute hoot

Where does Laughter of Dead Kings rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is not the "best" Elizabeth Peters novel in terms of complexity of character development or literary merit. It is, however, the funniest thing that she has ever written -- the author's ebullient satire of Vicky, Amelia and even herself. I loved the book, I love Vicky, I adore Amelia and embrace Mrs. Mertz, who deserves to have the most famous swordsman in Europe as her adoring admirer. This fast-moving farcical thriller will be celebrated most by the millions of fans of Vicky Bliss and Amelia Peabody, but it can be appreciated by anyone whose sense of adventure is as broad as her sense of the absurd.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Nathan
  • Houston, TX, USA
  • 10-05-08

Bliss is back!! We should all rejoice.

After too long of an absence Elizabeth peters returns us to the world of everyone's favorite art historian Dr. Bliss. If you enjoyed her earlier books you will love this one. It is full of all the stock characters we've come to know and love. Elizabeth brings us breakneck adventure and intrigue without insulting our intelligence. I can recommend without any hesitation that others buy this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Acceptable if disappointing

I'm a long time fan of the author and she has definitely done better stuff. Had I gone in not expecting much, I wouldn't have been nearly as disappointed, and it is coloring my point of view. That being said, I'm glad I didn't wait for the paperback.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Not the best narration.

This is a good story and a nice ending to the series. My review is mainly about the narration.
Barbara Rosenblat did an amazing job on other books in the Vicky Bliss series. The reading was clear with fabulous voices for the characters.
The quality has gone downhill in this one.
She reads sloppily and too fast, and her voice goes from gravelly and raspy to squeaky during the performance. All of the characters have lost some distinction. This is in stark contrast to her clear narration of previous books.
It may be aging or perhaps a medical problem, I am not trying to be unkind.

The most bothersome issue is however that she changed one of the main character's voices!
Feisal went from being an Oxford educated Egyptian in "Night Train to Memphis" to a whiny, breathless character in "Laughter of Dead Kings".
Since he is featured heavily in this book, it is very annoying!

I do like this final book in the series, but the narration quality put a strain on it for me, and at nearly $20 that's disappointing.


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  • Ann
  • Anacortes, WA
  • 03-11-17

Love this series

The Vicky Bliss series is one I really hated to see end. Always fun and engaging - smart dialogue and a good mix of humor and mystery.

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Enjoyable

always enjoy Vickie Bliss stories... We all need a Schmidt in our lives... he is my fav

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Non-Suspenseful Drudgery Compared to Her Others

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Her others in this series are far more engaging stories. For the majority of the book, the characters have no hope of solving the mystery and spend time brooding and chastising each other. I shared in the frustration and hopelessness of the characters. There are few clues to keep you interested and little suspense to keep you going. Some of the best characters are absent for nearly the entire book.

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Eminently satisfying payoff to the series

It's clear even from the prologue that the author, reaching the end of her career, decided to just plain have fun with this one. Alphabet Schmidt! The journal-thief! John's antecedents! It's basically all that a fan could ask for. I think I'll enjoy it even more on the relistening, now that I know which characters to trust (something that in Vicky Bliss novels in particular always makes first listens problematic). Super fun.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful