The setting is Luxor, Egypt, the west bank of the Nile close to the Valley of the Kings and tombs of the nobles. Lacy Glass, pigment expert, is living at an expedition house with scientists of various specialties and long-standing grudges.
Excerpt: Dr Roxanne Breen, Egyptologist from Oxford, barged into Horace Lanier’s lab without knocking. Her frizzy hair shoved back by the reading glasses on top of her head, she approached him with her hands pressed together, prayerfully, in front of her. “You must put the papyrus back in the tomb, Horace. Now!”
“It’s safe. Don’t you worry.”
“Someone knows it’s here! Obviously, that’s what they were looking for–whoever it was.”
I’ve taken care of it.”
“You’ve put it back?” The relief in her voice was palpable.
“I didn’t say that. I said, ‘I’ve taken care of it.'”
The Man on the Istanbul Train
Lacy Glass takes a train from Istanbul to an archaeological dig in central Turkey. En route, she sees a man she helped back in Istanbul fly past her train window like a tossed mail bag. His name was Max Sebring. This is also the name of the super-rich man who is financing the dig at her destination.
Excerpt: The men—and they were all men—crowded around the body, a couple of them checking pulse points. They yanked out cell phones and jabbered in Turkish to each other or to unseen listeners elsewhere. The man she had pegged as probable engineer kept a wary eye on the circle of onlookers as he talked on his phone, a finger in one ear.
Lacy spotted the pink shirt of the New York policeman she’d shaken hands with earlier. Sidling up to him she said, “What the hell happened?”
“The poor guy must have fallen off the train. How you can manage to do that accidentally, I don’t know.”
“I saw him. I saw him, but he wasn’t falling off. He was flying by the window.”
The policeman’s head jerked toward her. “You saw him? What do you mean, flying?” His black brows knitted into a squint that formed a deep crease above his nose.
“I mean it didn’t look like he was falling. It looked like he’d been thrown. Almost like he was shot out of a cannon. Head first.”