Another Merry Adventure

There’s nothing quite like a new Amazon review to help one get the writing mojo back:
L. Sheppard reviewed Carter’s Conundrums – Book 1 of Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt: a mystery of modern and ancient Egypt


Fiona, I was captivated, romanticised, inspired, thrilled and enlightened by the first instalment of Meredith Pink’s adventures. I read it during the first week of the UK’s coronavirus lockdown and can wholeheartedly say that you’re writing enabled me to disassociate from the stark reality and uncertainties that we as a world are currently facing. For this I am truly grateful – thank you.

So, thank you L. Sheppard, whoever you are. I am now determined to get back into the groove… and if it helps people escape the current awfulness, so much the better…


It’s been almost two years since my last published book – Ramses Riches – in the series following Merry’s adventures in Egypt.


I took on a whole new area of responsibility at work, which meant a very steep learning curve, and also embarked on a new personal relationship.  All of which rather shoved Merry into the background.

But she has more adventures in Egypt to share, and I am now ready to get going again…

There are nine books so far in the series following Merry’s adventures along the Nile.  I started writing them exactly eight years ago, just after Easter 2012.   So it is definitely time to get going again …

If you’re new to the series, here they are.  They are all available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions.



The curse of Tutankhamun

George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, at Howa...

George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, at Howard Carter’s home on the Theban west bank, according to Griffith Institute, Oxford (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The curse of Tutankhamun was born ninety years ago today, with the untimely death of his patron and benefactor Lord Carnarvon, allegedly of an infected mosquito bite.

The story of the curse started circulating immediately.  Despite persistent ill-health following a near fatal car accident as a younger man, Lord Carnarvon was only in his fifties when he died on 5 April 1923.

Howard Carter famously discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb on 4/5 November 1922, and Lord Carnarvon was there to enter it with him for the first time three weeks later.

The story of the pharaoh’s curse that ‘death shall come on swift wings to those who enter this place’ took hold immediately.

Here’s a link to an article explaining a bit more.  Mummy’s curse.

As a matter of chance, today I visited Howard Carter’s house on the West Bank of the Nile, at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings.  It’s a hugely atmospheric place, now open as a museum.

Book 1 of Meredith Pink's Adventures in Egypt

Book 1 of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt

It was very evocative for me to be back in Howard Carter’s house, as this is the setting for the opening scene of my first book, Carter’s Conundrums.  Merry discovers she’s been inadvertently trapped there for the night.  It’s the start of a thrilling adventure.  Trying to escape, she smashes the picture frame of a watercolour painting  by Carter … only to find a secret message and some mysterious hieroglyphics inside.  It sets her off on a quest to solve the puzzle she’s been presented.

Here’s a photograph I took this morning showing Howard Carter’s study – this is the window Merry attempts to escape through, and a replacement for the lamp she smashed !


Book 2 of Meredith Pink's adventures in Egypt

Book 2 of Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt

I also made use of the story of the pharaoh’s curse in my second book, Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

Everywhere you look in this ancient land of the Pharaohs there’s something to inspire the imagination.

Tonight I will raise a glass to toast the memory of Lord Carnarvon, and the ‘wonderful things’ he and Howard Carter discovered for the modern world.

Fiona Deal

Hatshepsut’s thwarted dream

So, was Hatshepsut’s great dream to have her burial chamber directly underneath her mortuary temple at Djeser Djeseru i.e. her wonderful temple, now known as Deir el Bahri?

527990_4920798412461_1938065574_nThis aerial shot shows Hatshepsut’s temple nestled against the cliff-face, with the Valley of the Kings directly behind it on the other side of the mountain.  You an also see the ancient pathways across the clifftop.

Her tomb, KV20, has its entrance at the end of a branch leading from the main Valley stem.  Had it been dug in a straight line, many believe the burial chamber would have been excavated directly beneath the temple.  But sadly the quality of the bedrock was poor.  It seems the ancient tomb-builders were forced to spiral away from their original plan.

Hatshepsut’s magnificent temple features prominently in all three of my books following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.  It’s where Merry and Adam first strike up a conversation, and she enlists his help to solve the mysterious puzzle she’s stumbled across in Howard Carter’s house.

Howard Carter’s association with Queen-Pharaoh Hatshepsut was a close one.  As a young man working for the Egypt Exploration Society, Carter spent five years as an artist recording the wall reliefs in watercolour paintings.  Later, as an archaeologist, he was responsible for excavating her tomb, KV20.  This was an unenviable task: so hot his wax candles melted and with an atmosphere thick and redolent with centuries of bat droppings.  All this provides great material for a writer, and I made good use of it in Carter’s Conundrums.

Whether or not Hatshepsut’s temple stands as one of her great triumphs or a thwarted dream, I rate it as possibly the most beautiful of all the ancient Egyptian temples.


A ride on Ramses the camel…

Ramses the camel features in the first two of my novels following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.  No … Ramses (the camel) is not a figment of my imagination.  Here I am, enjoying a ride on him with his keeper Mohammed, in March 2011, around the beautiful grounds of the Jolie Ville hotel in Luxor.

As you can see, the waters of the Nile lap against the hotel gardens.  It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth.

The Jolie Ville is the setting for the whole trilogy of Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt, starting with Carter’s Conundrums.

Scene 1: Howard Carter’s House


My first book, Carter’s Conundrums opens with Meredith (Merry) Pink discovering she’s been inadvertently locked in the Howard Carter Museum in Luxor.  Merry’s there in early May 2012.  The museum opened in late 2009, and I visited in March 2011.  It was once Howard Carter’s home, where he lived during the thrilling years leading up to, and after, his discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.  Here I am standing outside.

Here’s a link to the website of Zahi Hawass, former Minister of Antiquities and Director of Cairo Museum (he resigned during Egypt’s revolution).  He talks about his decision to restore Howard Carter’s former home to its original glory as a museum, after years of neglect.  Hawass also mentions his plans to build replica tombs near to Valley of the Kings.  His goal was to close the genuine tombs of Nefertari and Tutankhamun, among others, and permit visitors to visit ‘replica’ tombs, perfect in every detail … except authenticity.  It sounds a bit Disney to me, but I admire his determination to preserve the ‘real’ tombs for posterity.

Another great source of information about Howard Carter’s house is TripAdvisor.  Visitors post their opinions, and some great photos of the house inside and out.


View from Howard Carter’s ‘garden’


Kitchen in Howard Carter’s house

I visited on a family holiday.  My nearest and dearest are pretty tolerant of my obsession with all things Egyptological, and waited for me in the rest-house outside, with its fabulous views towards the Valley.  So, for a few precious moments I had the inside of Howard Carter’s old home completely to myself.  Even the ubiquitous guide left me alone. The atmosphere was thick with nostalgia.  I felt I might turn at any moment and find Howard Carter himself emerging from a doorway.  Strange, the way time can feel such a distorted concept.  Anyway … I think that’s where the idea for Carter’s Conundrums first took hold, though I didn’t put pen to paper for another year.

It seemed to me to be a place whispering secrets … if only I could just tune into the right wavelength.  So I let my imagination take over, and book 1 of Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt is the result.

Howard Carter’s house isn’t included on the standard tour itineraries.  If you’re lucky enough to be in Luxor any time soon, don’t miss it.  It’s a rare treasure.