Medallion of Murder
Medallion of Murder
Terry gasped and sat up. A cold layer of goose bumps covered her arms. She held her breath for a moment, listening hard, but there was only silence. Her alarm clock glowed in the dark. It was two in the morning -- officially Christmas Eve.
Slowly, her eyes adjusted and the familiar shapes of her bedroom emerged from the shadows. Terry leaned out of bed and clicked on the nightstand lamp. Her pulse calmed. She was safe and in her bedroom, not in the tomb, hanging from the edge of the chasm. Outside, the light snow from the previous evening had accumulated in a mini drift on the other side of her window.
Still needing a bit of reassurance, she turned to pictures lining the back of her dresser. All the familiar favourites were in a row: Zach at the beach, her and Maude in their Halloween makeup, and the family photo of the three of them, the last family photo that was ever taken. Her mother was smiling at the camera, her dark curly hair blowing off her face. It was hard to believe she hadn't seen that face in over two years.
With a sigh, Terry reached under her pillow for her dream journal and began to write.
Meera is holding the crown. She looks at me and smiles. The rock she's holding breaks from the wall. I see her eyes widen as she falls. She keeps staring at me as she screams. Down, down, down, down. Then nothing.
It had been the same dream for the last three months.
Anyone who has read the previous books in this series -- and I seriously urge you to do so before reading this one -- knows that Terry, given name Nefertari, 17-year-old daughter of two renowned Egyptologist archaeologists, attracts trouble for herself and her friends like a magnet attracts iron filings. She has now been instrumental in recovering Cleopatra's golden asp-shaped bracelet and the final piece of her diadem which was said to confer immortality. Both of these artifacts Terry thinks have vanished safely to the bottom of two widely separated bits of ocean. However, when a friend who was involved in the first of her adventures turns up in hospital, going quietly crazy, talking of "the power of three", and drawing cartoon sketches of the woman who fell into the depths of the ocean clutching the completed diadem, Terry begins to have doubts about the whereabouts of both of the artifacts and also of the "dead" woman! The artifacts, after all, are indestructible gold; has Meera perhaps had immortality conferred upon her? And if these are the "two", then what is the third? And what "power" could it confer? Does it have anything to do with Awad's rather peculiar Christmas gift or his apparent disappearance?
Terry's attempts to have a normal life in a small American town are obviously doomed. She, as well as her best friend Maude and perhaps even both their boyfriends, are about to get dragged deeper and deeper into the mystery that centres around her Egyptian friend Awad, the secret society with which he is allied, and yet another Egyptian artifact. As in the other books, nothing is quite as it seems, and no one is quite as innocent as seemed at first.
As I intimated, it really helps to have read the previous books! Things get confusing enough without having to make guesses about Meera (the dead woman with the diadem), her father (yet another Egyptologist), the new assistant at the museum (blind and apparently not interested in possessions, but with very expensive tastes in them anyway, and a wonderful seeing-eye dog), Tanya (the crazy friend), and so on. I found it all a bit too convoluted, but I also found myself gripping the book more and more tightly as I flipped through the pages. It was a tension-filled read, but simultaneously a bit disappointing. Trying to analyze just what was wrong with Medallion of Murder, I decided that it is that the books have become somewhat formulaic. Terry is always on the brink of breaking up with Zach; Maude always rescues the plot when it is in danger of bogging down by means of a bit of clever code-breaking; Fraser is always concerned that Maude will get hurt; Terry always has a near-death experience that doesn't quite kill her. And there is always someone who is really really nice who turns out to be a baddie in the end, seduced by the power of the artifact in question. I guess I've got a bit bored.
Also I could never go for a boy who called me -- or anyone else -- "Babe"!
Mary Thomas lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Bracebridge, Ontario and Oxford, England. She has vivid memories of playing hide-and-seek with her then two-year-old son around the Egyptian tombs and large artifacts housed in the British Museum.