NIGHT TRAIN TO MEMPHIS by Elizabeth Peters


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When a cryptic message recovered from a dead agent hints that the thieves who plan to rob the Cairo Museum have booked passage on Galactic Tours' luxurious Nile cruise, Munich art historian Vicky Bliss (Trojan Gold, 1987, etc.) is pressed into service on the cruise on the strength of her long love-hate relationship with Sir John Smythe, the likely prince of these thieves. Sure enough, John pops up on the guest list, traveling with his mother and his bride, a slip of a girl who sends Vicky into paroxysms of jealousy. But she needn't worry: Before the end of her odyssey from Giza to Luxor aboard the Queen of the Nile and back to Cairo by any means available, John will have revealed his true colors several times over, as will the rest of the passengers and crew, most of whom -- from billionaire museum donor Larry Blenkiron to Hellenic expert Alice Gordon to sexy tour director Feisal and Vicky's fawning room steward Ali -- turn out to be working for either the authorities or the crooks, or both at once. In short, it's another of Peters's farcical, wildly overextended homages to Agatha Christie -- if you can imagine "one of those old-fashioned English country-house murder mysteries" in which the dramatis personae keep getting shot, donning and doffing elaborate disguises, screaming and collapsing in each other's arms, and confessing machiavellian new layers of loyalties every chapter or so. Devoted fans of Peters will swallow this gooey triple-decker sundae whole, though readers not up to such heroic efforts may find themselves appreciating by contrast the finesse of such apparently artless Christies as The Man in the Brown Suit.
Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 1994
ISBN: 0446602485
Page count: 368pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1994


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