Ruthless industrialist Louie Dolores unleashes a storm of controversy when he sponsors an exhibit of sacred ancient mummies in his corporate headquarters, Chicago’s Dolores Tower. The building is besieged by protestors led by handsome firebrand Juan Munoz, dressed as a mummy for the daily demonstrations. Dolores is scarcely more popular with people he actually knows. His neglected wife Marti, regularly contemplating divorce, tries to match her husband’s many dalliances. His assistant, Bill Braverman, is near the breaking point from overwork, and Bill’s wife Anna blames Dolores. Chilean museum curator Hector Gonzalez, who hasn’t had a peaceful day since beginning the transfer of the Cinchorro mummies six months ago, fears that his ambitious assistant Lisa Rivera is colluding behind his back with Dolores. The exotic exhibit gets a publicity boost when a cleaning woman spots a mummy prowling in its shadows. Security guards dismiss her as delusional, but more mummies stalk Gonzalez and Dolores. Then community activist Samantha Campbell brings the gala opening to a dramatic halt by accusing Dolores of defiling the city with his tacky new buildings. Shortly thereafter, the mummy returns to kill Dolores. Enter veteran Chicago police detective Jeremy Ransom, who methodically makes the rounds of the suspects. Ransom shares his theories with sidekick Gerard, but his investigation gets traction only when he consults Emily Charters, his Marplesque ace in the hole.
This eighth entry is no high point in the Ransom/Charters series (Ransom at the Opera, 2000, etc.): none of the characters evokes interest, and the tired, lackluster prose reads like a textbook.