While it is not absolutely necessary, I think that it is really a good idea to read the Amelia Peabody series in chronological order. Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody character is a real hoot, as are all of the Peabody-Emerson family members. These are fun books and you can't help but pick up some knowledge of ancient Egyptian culture. And I like that Peters sets the books to the late 19th to early 20th century-- giving you a taste of the contemporary Egyptian culture at that time, which was changing so rapidly due to the influx of Europeans (and Americans) into the upper Nile area.
Plot is a little weak, you really have to read it for the characters, all of whom have appeared in her previous books. This shouldn't be the first Amelia Peabody mystery you tackle.
AMELIA AND FAMILY ARRIVE IN EGYPT IN 1911, WITTY DIALOGUE AND THE FATHER OF CURSES IS AT IT AGAIN!
I really enjoyed this book as Peters develops the characters and their relationships more deeply. I cannot wait to get the next one to find out how things turn out!
Well-written and enjoyable, but I was dissatisfied with the morality of certain events. It's annoying to enjoy a series for so long, then feel compelled to drop it on moral grounds. If this is not an issue for you, then it is still a fun book and contains a lot of character development.