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The Painted Queen Audiobook

The Painted Queen: An Amelia Peabody Novel of Suspense

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Publisher's Summary

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' best-selling, 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 a 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 is 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 BC 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.

©2017 MPM Manor, Inc. (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (399 )
5 star
 (212)
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4.1 (358 )
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4.5 (363 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-26-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "Just did not feel like the Peabody Emersons"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I missed the characters and did enjoy revisiting them. there were errors in the details that jarred


    Would you be willing to try another book from Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess ? Why or why not?

    Probably but it is over anyhow


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Sethos rang true when he grabbed Amelia on the horse


    Did The Painted Queen inspire you to do anything?

    Nope


    Any additional comments?

    I appreciate the attempt to finish the novel but I wish some of the facts from other books had been more carefully edited Daoud did not have many wives Kathrine did not know Ramses from birth,Emerson would have never left the shop unguarded so it made the characters less real to me

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 08-03-17
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 08-03-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Fond Farewell to Amelia"

    I think this is perhaps the best final salute to Amelia Peabody and her creator Elizabeth Peters that we fans of the series could expect. And I'm glad it was attempted.

    Reviewers have pointed out ways that these characters stray a bit from the height of Peters' style. I both agree and disagree. The later Peters books themselves were a bit of a disappointment - the ones where she was filling in spaces between the previous stories instead of moving the lives of the Emerson families forward. In my opinion, her last really wonderful book was "The Tomb of the Golden Bird", but there she obviously found a natural ending to the saga of the family. The later "hindsight" tales must have been primarily at her fans' and publishers' urging.

    So it's not surprising that Peters herself sought to return once more to Egypt before her death, or that she chose to pair the incomparable Amelia with the incomparable Nefertiti. I believe that her friend and colleague Joan Hess did an excellent job of honoring the spirit, the vocabulary, and the humor of Peters' work and gives us a fine posthumous volume.

    I have and will return again to Amelia's stories as narrated by the fabulous Barbara Rosenblat. There's a sadness in knowing there will be no more, but I'm grateful for this last tribute. It would have been a shame to leave some of Peters' writing unfinished.

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane 07-30-17
    Jane 07-30-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I don't think I can finish this book"

    Like most readers I was looking forward to spending time with Amelia, Emerson and their family and friends. I realized that it would be a daunting task for Ms Hess to capture the style and wit of Elizabeth Peters writing, but I wasn't expecting a story full of so many errors - errors that are just careless. Things like: Nefret did not have a clinic in Luxor at this time, she had a hospital in Cairo; she didn't go to Paris to recover from the trauma in The Falcon at the Portal, she went to Switzerland; Daod did not have multiple wives and a large family; Amelia carried brandy in her belt of tools not whiskey; she wore trousers as her working costume not a divided skirt; Catherine was not Amelia's oldest friend and did not know Ramses as a baby - he was 16 when they met. These are just a few of the mistakes, there are many more. There are plot points that don't make sense and people acting out of character. So instead of enjoying this book, I find myself noticing only the errors and saying things like "Emerson wouldn't act like that". I'm only a third through this book and I can't believe I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to finish the story.

    18 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Caravello-Hibbert 08-21-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The painted queen"

    Four star rating. Emerson's favourite color is crimson, not scarlet. The explanation of why Amelia needed an interpreter is weak. By now she should be fluent in Arabic. Fatima was the housekeeper, not the cook. I believe he was Mamoot. Some of the voices were off, Amelia, Nefret, David and Fatima.
    The story itself dragged a little, but I still enjoyed it. I've been listening to these books for about 15 years and have been to Egypt. Love them

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane 07-29-17
    Jane 07-29-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "Forget the whole thing"

    I was greatly looking forward to the publication of this book as I am, I admit, an obsessed Amelia Peabody fan. Unfortunately, the person chosen to complete the manuscript apparently did not read the previous works in the series. None of the characters except the brief appearance of Sethos rang true to the consistently entertaining voices they'd had throughout the previous books, no insights were added to the suppressed love affair, and their were many violations of Amelia Peabody canon. Of course, it was an impossible task to meet the standard Ms. Peters had set. It probably ought not to have been attempted. I am going to choose to forget the whole thing.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Maryland 08-20-17
    Elizabeth Maryland 08-20-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
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    "I'm Grateful!"

    There are a lot of reviews on here by people who apparently KNOW the Amelia Universe forward and backward. They probably sat there with the Companion book on their knees as they listened trying to find things that were wrong. And some of the things reviewers said were wrong simply weren't.

    Me? I'n not nearly that persnickety. However I am an Amelia-nerd-fan, and in anticipation of this release I started the whole series over. Even going so far as to put the books in chronological order of excavation season, rather than the published order.

    For those of you that need this information, the books run in order through The Ape Who Guards the Balance.(1906)

    Then you need to follow that with these books:
    Guardian of the Horizon (1907)
    A River in the Sky (1910)
    The Falcon at the Portal (1911)
    The Painted Queen (1912)

    After the Painted Queen you can go back to the published order.

    I'm finding it very interesting to listen to the series in chronological order.

    I think that the biggest reason for the negative reviews is that people are truly mourning a beloved author's passing. There won't be anymore Amelia Peabody books. Sure there are a few discrepencies. I can forgive this. I can also forgive Joan Hess for not being Elizabeth Peters. I think that she did an excellent job.

    Beyond that I'm really grateful to have a new season with Amelia and family and I'm glad that it wasn't set at the end of the series - wrapping everything up with something as awful as Amelia's death. This way, I can believe that Amealia and Emerson are still happily "ruining shirts," and finding "another dead body" every year.

    So, Thank You, Joan Hess for making this happen. I appreciate what you have done!

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cathy E. Howe 08-04-17 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
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    "Okay as a related story"

    However, I agree with the majority of reviews here. Too many violations of canon. In my yearly "reading" of this series, I will probably never listen to this again. Ms. Rosenblatt's narration is off, too, here. She is the reason I fell in love with Amelia. Her characterizations have rarely faltered, but the first part of this book sounded like she was recovering from the flu. It got better as it went on, but... Ah, well. Thanks for the effort, Ms. Hess. I think I will look for some fanfics online, see if anyone else has tried to fill in some of the holes left by Ms Peter's sad demise.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Francis BELLINGHAM, WA, United States 08-02-17
    Francis BELLINGHAM, WA, United States 08-02-17 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I appreciate Babara Rosenblat"
    Any additional comments?

    I have enjoyed the entire series of Amelia Peabody and Emerson. The voice of Barbara
    Rosenblat and the prose of Elizabeth Peters are superb. Joan Hess is a wonderful friend,
    and I thank her for finishing the last book. The "voice" was not that of Elizabeth, however
    the last volume was completed and I thank everyone involved. I will dearly miss Elizabeth.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shopper 08-01-17
    Shopper 08-01-17 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "This is not Amelia"
    What disappointed you about The Painted Queen?

    I thought Barbara's narration of Amelia was different, voice was lower, and she sounded like a cold, snooty aristocrat, just didn't sound like Amelia. I also didn't like the discrepancies.


    What could Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Joan should have read or listened to all of the other Peabody books to avoid discrepancies.


    What didn’t you like about Barbara Rosenblat’s performance?

    The voice was different for Amelia, didn't sound like her. Not sure if it's strictly the performance, but I don't like Amelia in this story and normally I love Amelia and Barbara's performance.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Don't know, don't think I'll be able to get far, I'm not sure I'm going to continue listening to it.


    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah 08-01-17
    Sarah 08-01-17 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Attempt"
    Any additional comments?

    Joan Hess makes a valiant attempt to complete the last Amelia Peabody book Elizabeth Peters [Barbara Mertz] was writing when she died in 2013. In the main, Ms. Hess succeeds, but she occasionally wobbles and it's pretty clear which bits are hers and which were Ms. Peters. The story itself is classic Amelia Peabody, and Barbara Rosenblat gives it her usual unparalleled performance. Working with an incomplete story is difficult enough [have no idea how much Peters had actually written, and how much of the story itself is Hess' invention], but it takes place "in the missing years" to fill in a gap in Amelia's diaries, taking place in 1912, after the Ramses-Nefret split but before WWI.

    Vintage Peters [or Peabody] it's not, but it's the best collaborative effort to finish a deceased writer's last book that I've listened to. Recommended, with some caveats.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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