Carter’s Conundrums

Carter’s Conundrums is the first book in my fictional series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.  It’s available  to download at the special promotional price of £0.99/ $1.50 here.

The books are present-day adventure stories.  Meredith (Merry) is a thoroughly modern heroine who gets caught up in ancient Egyptian mysteries.  No time travel, but in Carter’s Conundrums she embarks on a treasure hunt.

When English tourist Meredith Pink finds herself locked inadvertently in the Howard Carter museum in Luxor for the night, she has no idea about the thrilling Egyptian adventure she’s about to embark on.  The museum was once Howard Carter’s home, where he lived during the historic years of his discovery and clearance of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.  Attempting to break free, Merry accidentally smashes the frame surrounding an original Carter watercolour of an elusive Egyptian queen.  The discovery inside of a hidden message from Howard Carter himself, together with a set of mysterious hieroglyphics, sets her off on a quest to solve the puzzle of a lifetime. 

Along the way she teams up with the dashing Adam Tennyson, a self-proclaimed “thwarted” Egyptologist.  Together they set about unriddling the ancient texts, and find themselves on a madcap treasure hunt around some of Egypt’s most thrilling locations.  

An exciting blend of adventure, mystery and romance, Carter’s Conundrums will demand all of Merry’s imagination and love of the fabled ancient land of the pharaohs to keep her on the trail, and out of trouble.

Read the reviews here.

Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.

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

 

Provocative 
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.

    

 

Ramses’ Riches now published

Please click here to find out more or purchase

book 9 - v3On a mission to Egypt to retrace the steps of the great explorer Giovanni Belzoni, the next stop is Abu Simbel.  But Merry and friends have more reasons for wanting to make the trip down Lake Nasser than just to see The Great Temple of Ramses that Belzoni famously dug from the sand.

First, there’s the golden statuette of Helen of Troy apparently found there.  And second, the promise – on very good authority – of a stash of treasure.

Intrigued and mystified – as both are surely impossible – Merry sets sail to find out more.

This is the ninth book in my fiction series following Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt. The books are escapist fiction – adventure stories – set in the present day.  All have an ancient Egyptian mystery at their heart.

IDBC00078 Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt - Fiona Deal - CCThe first book in the series is Carter’s Conundrums.  It starts with Merry, on holiday in Egypt, getting trapped inside the Howard Carter Museum in Luxor, and making a discovery … This sets her off an a treasure hunt, and the adventure of a lifetime.

The books are aimed at adults who enjoy action, mystery and adventure stories.  And at anybody with at least a passing interest in ancient Egypt; its mysteries, treasures and enduring civilisation.

All books are available in Kindle and paperback formats on Amazon.  I do hope you enjoy them…

Fiona Deal

 

 

 

Nefertari’s Narrative Paperback

BookCoverPreview.doThe paperback version of Meredith Pink’s latest adventure in Egypt is now available on Amazon.  Nefertari’s Narrative takes Merry on a journey along the Nile where, of course, she gets caught up in another madcap mystery trying to discover what happened to an ancient set of stone tablets which seem to shed light on the origins of the beautiful Queen Nefertari.

As ever, things are not plain sailing for Merry.  A series of mishaps leave her wondering if things are quite what they seem, and whether she is the only one hoping to unlock secrets from Egypt’s ancient past.

This version of the paperback has the original style cover.  It will be available until end-January 2018 with this cover.  I’ll then update it with the new cover design.

I do hope you enjoy this latest Merry adventure.  If so please do leave a review on Amazon.  I also read and respond to all comments you leave here on my website.

The whole series of Meredith Pink’s adventures in Egypt, starting with Carter’s Conundrums, is available in both ebook and paperback on Amazon.

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My top 10 historical sites in Egypt

I’ve visited Egypt 11 times in total, since falling in love with it on my first visit with my parents in 1983.  Now I write a fictional adventure / mystery series set there : Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.  There are six books in the series so far.  Each is a modern adventure with an ancient Egyptian mystery at its heart.

As a frequent visitor to Egypt, I thought it would be fun to compile a list of my favourite places to visit.  This list is my personal top 10, so feel free to disagree with me. I think I’ll do it as a countdown …

IMG_4517So, in at number 10. The stepped pyramid at Sakkara (or Saqqara as it’s sometimes spelled). My lead characters Merry and Adam take a trip to see the stepped pyramid in my first book Carter’s Conundrums. II was last at Sakkara in 2008.

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At number 9, the Temple of Edfu, probably the best preserved of all the ancient Egyptian temples. It dates from the Graeco-Roman period, and is included on any Nile cruise itinerary. It’s the location of a scene in Hatshepsut’s Hideaway, the third book in my series.

Here I am outside the main pylon – March 2008.

 

IMG_4215At number 8, the Temple of Philae, near Aswan. It’s a lovely temple, also dating from the Graeco-Roman period, and dedicated to the goddess Isis. It was rescued by UNESCO as after the British dam was built in the early twentieth century it spent half the year under water. UNESCO moved it piece by piece to the nearby island of Agilika. Not yet used as a location in my books. Here I am in January 2012.

 

 

IMG_4505Number 7 is the pyramid and sphinx (not sure if it’s cheating to put them together) on the Giza plateau in Cairo. The pyramids tower over the surrounding suburbia. Merry sits near the swimming pool in Le Meridien hotel, gazing in awe at the pyramids in my second book Tutankhamun’s Triumph.

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At number 6, I’ll go for the Temple of Medinet Habu, built by Ramses III and located on the West Bank at Luxor. It’s not always included in the touring itineraries, but well worth an independent visit. The original colours are beautifully preserved.

Not yet used as a location in my books.

 

 

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At number 5, The Valley of the Kings. A barren, desolate and rather forbidding place … once stuffed with enough gold to sink a battle ship, buried in the tombs of the dead pharaohs. It’s forbidden to take photographs nowadays – so here’s one of me taken back in 2004. The Valley of the Kings features prominently in all of my novels.

 

 

scan0141Number 4, the wonderful Winter Palace hotel. I was lucky enough to stay here for New Year in 2008-9; the best New Year’s Eve ever! Frequented by both Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon in the years leading up to the 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun.

Once used literally as a palace for King Fuad and King Farouk I used it as a location in both Carter’s Conundrums and Farouk’s Fancies.

 

DSCN5281So, to my personal top 3.

At number 3 I think it has to be Hatshepsut’s Temple on the West Bank in Luxor. It features prominently in all six books. Set dramatically against the craggy cliff face at Deir el Bahri, and backed by the Valley of the Kings, it’s rich with dramatic potential.

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At number 2, the complex of temples that make up Karnak. The Hypostyle Hall takes my breath away every time I go there. The temple is the largest religious structure ever built. Words are inadequate to the task of describing it. As yet, I’ve perhaps not made as much of its dramatic potential as I could.  Merry and Adam go there to look at the obelisks in Carter’s Conundrums.

 

 

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So, we’ve arrived at number 1. Personally, for sheer egotistical magnificence, I don’t think you can beat the temples of Abu Simbel, built by Ramses II. Yes, I’m cheating again. There are actually two temples… one for Ramses himself, and a smaller one for his great royal wife Nefertari. I walked around the latter with a lump in my throat – it’s exquisite. They’re also a marvel of modern engineering, raised to higher ground by UNESCO to escape the rising waters of Lake Nasser.

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So, there you have it. My personal top 10. I’ve not mentioned Luxor Temple, the Ramesseum, Denderah, Abydos – all equally awe-inspiring. … Great! Another reason to go back and loads more opportunities for book settings ! I guess maybe I should have done a top 20!

Fiona Deal

Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, available to download or in paperback on Amazon.

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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 !

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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

On location in Luxor

Luxor in Egypt provides the setting for my books following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.  I’ve stayed many times in Luxor.  It’s a kind of open air museum.  All the key sites are within easy travelling distance, on either the East Bank (where most of the modern hotels are located) or the West Bank of the Nile.

Some of those who’ve been kind enough to write reviews of my books – and have obviously travelled to Egypt themselves – have said the books bring back great memories for them.  Egypt really is a place once visited, never forgotten.

For those of you who may not have been lucky enough (yet ?!) to travel to the magical land of the pharaohs, here’s a short video I put together.  It’s my take on some of the most impressive historical sites Luxor has to offer.

I haven’t yet used all these archaeological sites as settings for scenes in my books.  And there are a few locations I haven’t included in this video.  The Ramesseum for one, and the Temple of Seti I – both located on the West Bank.

That’s the whole thing about Egypt … there’s so much to see … so much history.  It’s hard to know what to include and what to leave for another time …

And it keeps drawing me back.

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.

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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

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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.

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View from Howard Carter’s ‘garden’

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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.