The Right Hand of Amon

The Right Hand of Amon by Lauren Haney. Surprisingly, the recommendations from authors in the Crime Thru Time Yahoo Group have frequently been off the mark. But when Carola Dunn, creator of the Daisy Dalrymple books, recommended Haney’s Lieutenant Bak series set in Ancient Egypt, I had to give it a try and now I am grateful that I did. The Right Hand of Amon is the sixth adventure in the series and several references to earlier cases made me feel like I was missing some important background information on the characters, but that could not be helped. Bak is the officer in charge of the Medjay police and reports to Commandant Thuty, who commands a series of battlements on the southern edge of the empire. When the body of an officer from a nearby fort is found floating in the Nile, Bak is sent to find the murderer. At first, Bak believes that the victim’s own arrogance and callousness led one of his fellow officers to kill him, but evidence appears to indicate that a more sinister plot involving a visiting Kushite king.

The pace of the story is excellent with several suspects to investigate and multiple attempts on Bak’s life by the killer. Tension builds throughout the book until a satisfactory climactic scene erupts. Haney’s descriptions of everyday fortress life for the soldiers and their families seem well-researched, though a few phrases (such as describing the king’s “backside”) seem incongruous. Bak is the overwhelming dominant character, appearing on almost every page, and therefore, there is little development of the secondary players such as Thuty or Sergeant Imsiba.  However, I  enjoyed the book very much and have added the series to my TBR list when time permits.

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