I am looking back on the locations I’ve used my travel, fiction, mystery-action series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt. Partly this is a way of re-visiting treasured memories from my own trips to the land of the Pharaohs, and partly as a way of traveling in my imagination since Egypt is off-limits to British tourists right now.
I am now up as far as Book 7 in this trip down Memory Lane. Belzoni’s Bequest is different from the other books in the series in that it is the only one set in London, England. Due to various circumstances (some beyond her control but some of her own making), Merry has been required to return home. Even so, another Egyptian-themed adventure awaits her. Before long, she’s up to her neck in a new action-adventure-mystery, this time linked to the nineteenth century adventurer and explorer Giovanni Belzoni, who made so many amazing discoveries along the Nile when he was there in 1815-20.
The action starts in England’s premier cultural tourist location, The British Museum.
Here, Merry sees some of the museum’s spectacular Egyptian treasures. These include artifacts and wall reliefs from the beautiful Theban tomb of Nebamun. What is fascinating about this tomb is that, having been discovered and stripped of many of its contents for the museum, it was lost again. Today, nobody is sure of the location of this stunning sepulcher, although it must be somewhere in the Theban Hills.
The British Museum contains an impressive Egyptian collection, always the most crowded of the many galleries. Among its many treasures are mummy cases, statues of Ramses I and others and, of course, the immense bust of Ramses II (The Great) which stands on a tall plinth in the huge ground floor hall. The novel considers the argument for restitution of the treasures: whether the Egyptian artifacts and – more particularly – the Elgin Marbles ought, perhaps be returned to their home nations. I find I can argue this case both ways, and you can read in the book some of the arguments for and against.
As ever, Merry gets caught up in a mystery-adventure. Trying to unravel what it might mean, she goes first to the John Soane Museum in Holborn. This fabulous little London Museum is crammed full of collectibles from its’ original owner’s travels. Of course, Merry finds more there to see than simply what is on display.
Another key scene in the novel takes place at Kingston Lacy in Dorset. Now a National Trust property, this was once the home of the aristocratic Bankes family. The gentleman traveller Willian John Bankes lived there during the years of his Grand Tour, which took him to Egypt. There, he met the adventurer/explorer Giovanni Belzoni, who helped him transport a gigantic Ptolemaic obelisk from the Island Temple of Philae back home to the family seat in Dorset. Belzoni almost lost the obelisk when, trying to lever it aboard a boat, it slipped into The Nile. Thankfully, he was able to rescue it. Visitors to Kingston Lacy can see it standing proudly in the grounds there today.
The action in the book concludes in the wonderful Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, also home to an extensive ancient Egyptian collection.
It just goes to show that Merry doesn’t have to be in Egypt to have an intriguing Egyptian adventure !
I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at some of the key locations used when writing Belzoni’s Bequest. If you’d like to consider reading the books, I suggest you start with the first in the series, Carter’s Conundrums.
Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.