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Night Train to Memphis    by Elizabeth Peters order for
Night Train to Memphis
by Elizabeth Peters
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 1995 (1994)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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* * *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Those following the adventures of Vicky Bliss, art expert and historian, will be pleased to know that this tale finally brings together Vicky and her elusive love John. As is to be expected from Peters, the romantic conclusion comes only after a roller-coaster ride of suspense and mystery.

Vicky is dragged unwillingly into an investigation into an international crime - maybe. It is suspected that a major theft of priceless Egyptian relics is being planned; and Vicky is certain that the elusive Sir John Smythe, master of disguise and art thief extraordinaire, is involved. She has encountered Sir John in a number of her adventures, and each time she interfered in one of his thefts. Of course, he also saved her life more than once. On the last occasion, she forced him to admit he loved her; but then he disappeared. It is the possibility of seeing her maddeningly evasive lover that wins Vicky's reluctant participation. Besides, she is assured of protection.

The plan calls for Vicky to join a luxury cruise of the Nile. John does show up, but not in disguise, so Vicky's knowledge of him is not needed. However, she must call on all her self-control to master her shock and fury, for he and his young bride Mary are on their honeymoon. To add to Vicky's distress, her boss, Herr Doktor Anton Schmidt, arrives to join the cruise. Schmidt sees himself as a cross between Sherlock Holmes and James Bond; Vicky sees him as a loveable teddy bear unsuited to the intrigues he adores. Her worst fears are realized when a member of the crew is murdered. Mysterious accidents and another death follow, and Vicky is kidnapped. She escapes; and with her kidnapper and John in tow (John arranged for her kidnapping in order to remove her from danger), they set out on a mad dash to save the day.

The situation is far from what Vicky perceives to be the truth; and she and John must thread a tortuous course through greed, corruption, and murder. Most astonishing of all, Schmidt reveals himself to be a master of intrigue. Peters serves up her usual madcap mix of romance, thrills, and danger, lightened with a generous leavening of humour. Her very attractive lead characters are joined by a cast of memorable secondaries, all wresting with an ingenious plot in an exotic setting. In short, this is Elizabeth Peters at her rollicking best.

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