Anna Fox needs a break from London and the ex-husband, and decides to journey to Egypt and retrace the trip along the Nile taken by her great-great-grandmother Louisa . On a whim, she also decides to bring along an ancient scent bottle Louisa had brought back with her – and there’s a big mystery surrounding the bottle as it seems to take on a life of its own. Anna has a single cabin on board ship, but *people* sure do seem to come and go as well as things going bump in the night – is someone on board ship hot to get their hands on the scent bottle and Louisa’s diary? Who is leaving fragments of incense behind? Are these people real, or a ghostly presence?
Anna reads Louisa’s diary in bits and pieces and through her we *see* her story. Louisa was a widow and a painter and whilst touring Egypt and fell in love with her guide Hassan. Hassan was the one who gave her the scent bottle, not knowing its *haunted past*, but there soon comes onto the scene the evil Lord Carstairs who dabbles in black magic and is very very determined to get his hands on the bottle no matter what the costs.
And that’s as far as I’m going, if you want to know the rest you’ll just have to read it for yourself. This started off fairly well, and I liked the mystery, but things went a bit downhill about halfway through with too many plots and sub-plots, as well as an over abundance of secondary characters. Erskine fans will recognize her standard tropes of the dumped-by-her-cheatin’-husband-heroine-who-spends-the-rest-of-her-life-as-a-doormat-for-other-people, along with the standard duo of men (one good and kind, one a jerk) interested in said heroine with plenty of spooks and things that go bump in the night – hey this one even has a magic snake!
A quick easy read when one is in the mood for a bit of brain candy, and the Egyptian setting was the very best part. Not her best, but Erskine’s fans should enjoy this well enough.
Many thanks to Sourcebooks for my review copy.