Lion in the Valley

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Lion in the Valley
Paperback cover of Lion in the Valley
Author Elizabeth Peters
Country United States
Language English
Series Amelia Peabody mysteries
Genre Historical mystery
Publisher Atheneum
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 291 pp (paperback edition)
ISBN 0-689-11619-5 (paperback edition)
OCLC 415733133
813/.54 19
LC Class PS3563.E747 L56 1986
Preceded by The Mummy Case
Followed by Deeds of the Disturber

Lion in the Valley is the 1986 fourth novel in a series of historical mystery novels, written by Elizabeth Peters and featuring fictional sleuth and archaeologist Amelia Peabody.

Plot summary[edit]

The Emersons return to Egypt in 1895-96 to excavate at Dahshoor - finally, some real pyramids for Amelia!

In looking for a keeper for Ramses, they find a demoralized Englishman named Donald Fraser. Donald has troubled family relationships and a hashish habit, both of which Amelia means to reform. Enid Debenham, a young lady whose behavior scandalizes Cairo society, also takes a hand when Amelia takes her under her wing.

Meanwhile, the Master Criminal reappears personally, taking an interest not only in illegally obtained antiquities but in the person of Amelia herself.

The story is key in the series because it is the first time the reader learns the pseudonym of the Master Criminal: Sethos. It is the name of a number of Pharaohs, and is tied to Set or Seth, the Egyptian god of the desert. Sethos interacts in a number of ways, including offering gifts and returning the communion set stolen from Mazghuna the previous year. Sethos also appears in a number of guises, only one of which Amelia sees through. She does, however, assume a number of others are either Sethos or in his gang, almost always incorrectly.

Donald and Enid return in a later novel, Seeing a Large Cat.

Explanation of the novel's title[edit]

The title is taken from the Battle of Kadesh Inscriptions of King Ramses II:

"Lord of fear, great of fame,
In the hearts of all the lands.
Great of awe, rich in glory,
As is Set upon his mountain. ...
Like a wild lion in a valley of goats."

See also[edit]