Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Egyptian Coffin - Jane Jakeman

When Lilian Westmorland, spirited heiress to a West Country estate, has a riding accident, her guardian insists that she visits Egypt to recover. When Lord Ambrose Malfine hears of the death of a young girl, he is concerned. Racing to Egypt to rescue Lilian, he uncovers evil of the worst kind.

After having enjoyed the first book in this series so much I decided to grab book nº2.
Malfine and Elizabeth decide she must go and spend some time with her parents but he doesn’t have much time to dwell on her absence. One of his young neighbors, Lilian Westmorland, suffers a riding accident and Malfine , who was a friend of her late father and feels a bit responsible for his death, decides to pay her a visit.

While meeting Lilian Malfine makes the acquaintance of her uncle and guardian Micah Overbury whom he doesn’t much like, and of a Mr Casterman whom he feels to be rather a shady character. When Lilian is suddenly packed to Egypt by her uncle and a dead girl is found in the Westmorland estate Malfine decides to follow Lilian to Egypt and see what is really going on.

The action is alternately written from Malfine and Lilian's point of view and, near the end from Elizabeth's in letter format. Through both their accounts it's easy to see that something strange is in fact going on but there's no clue to the real mystery till it’s finally unveiled for the reader. It was also odd how Malfine got to be in the right place at the right moment when there had been no word of warning.

I found this story to be less compelling than the first book and also found Malfine to be a bit less interesting. The feelings he relates when closed up with Lilian on the Pyramid where decidedly at odds with what I had known of him previously. I do realize that these sort of books relies on a lot of introspection on the part of the character and I usually like that but this time I wasn’t totally convinced. The story and setting are original as are some of the plot elements. I got curious about Malfine's sister and was sorry not to have more information about her and her husband.

I liked the descriptions of life in England and in Egypt and the historical aspects of the story but as a whole I liked it a bit less than book 1. I’m still curious about what is going to happen in book 3 and hope to add it to my TBR pile soon.

Grade: 3.5/5

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