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The Jackal's Head

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,683 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Althea Tomlinson returned to Egypt as just another tourist. That's what she told herself anyway. She was really there to discover the truth behind her father's disgrace and death. Her search could clear her father's name--and kill her, because the secret was ancient--as ancient as Nefertiti's treasure.
Published February 1st 2008 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1968)
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Jun 16, 2016 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an older book, written back in the sixties. Tommy (a female) travels to Egypt to clear her father from charges made 10 years ago that he was selling antiquities. The truth was that he had discovered an unknown tomb. Tommy strives to find the tomb, find out who is buried there and find the bad guys.
Bill Currie
First experience in a Elizabeth Peters novel. I can see she is one of the authors that can reel you in with a series or individual quick read books. What I appreciated in this novel was the degree to which she used actual history and archeology references both as a means of illustrating the scenery, landmarks, cultural icons, Egyptian royalty and geographical areas.

As a detective or suspense novel it was OK, just OK. The inner strength and inquisitive mind of the main character, Tommy powered t
This is a wonderful little number that I enjoyed thoroughly. I picked it up and kept it (my aunt was going to throw it away) because I have a little obsession with Egypt and Egyptology in general. Love it. Love it all. While this book wasn't one of the best I've ever read, it kept me entertained and in suspense throughout the entire novel.

I just love how Peters' had Althea aka Tommy interact with the other characters. I was taken aback by how loud John was, and how flirty Mike was, despite being
May 23, 2015 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is really probably a 4.5 star book. It's definitely not Elizabeth Peters' best, but it's interesting because of being her first book and setting up a lot of the tropes she later uses so well in the Amelia Peabody series.

I think what I like best about her Egypt books is the way the setting is almost a character...and not in a boring, five pages of description kind of way. I usually skim over descriptions in other books, but in Peters' books I slow down and take them in. They're short and re
Dec 14, 2015 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This is a very early Elizabeth Peters thriller, so don’t expect Amelia Peabody for a heroine or Ms. Peters' trademark humor. This book’s heroine is the type who has the reader thinking “Don’t open that door” and “Don’t go down that passage” as she flounces off to prove her independence and gets into a fix requiring the hero to come to the rescue. The strongest part of the book is the Egyptian setting and archaeological background.
Aug 05, 2016 dOnnabud rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
elizabeth peters' first suspense novel is an intriguing excursion through ancient egyptian sites with a twist of mystery that ultimately unravels into unexpected, exciting resolutions. as with other elizabeth peters protagonists, althea tomlinson is a strong, competent, courageous character. it's a great read; some favorite passages:

"The night came with desert swiftness. A curtain of stars dropped into place against a blue-black sky. the western cliffs, retaining the last of the fading light, sh
Mark Isaak
Good light entertainment set around a scenario (the discovery of the tomb of Akhenaten and Nefertiti) which is both dramatic and seemingly plausible (mostly, anyway). The aspects which detract from my enjoyment are, first, that one character is larger than life, and second, that the narrator spends a lot of time criticizing (even condemning) herself, but depending on one's tastes, these could make the book more enjoyable for others. The mystery is particularly well done, with a revelation that c ...more
Written 1968. Althea (Tommy) Tomlinson, Egypt; gently humorous suspenser.

Early Elizabeth Peters suspenser, set in Egypt, nicely pressages her Amelia series which comes about seven years later: a feisty archeologist/spunky female and mean-mouthed HeMan/archeologist (secretly in love with the heroine), survives hunting for secret tombs, lots of deviltry and theivery, and murder. Very well done, with a snappy pace and some funny, wry bits. Still lots of pleasure in the reading, even with the near-
Juergen John Roscher
My daughter introduced me to Peters’ books. This is the second Elizabeth Peters book that I have read. I occasionally like to read a book just for enjoyment that is not too complicated or serious (Brain Candy.) Peters’ “The Jackal’s Head” was a good choice for a quick and pleasing read.

I am not sure how to classify this book. It has elements of adventure (trying to find ancient tombs of Egypt), mystery (will the tomb of Queen Nefertiti be found and who will find it) and romance (who will Tommie
This was an enjoyable read, but it wasn't spectacular. Despite the sense of urgency in the last 100 pages with Tommy locked in a tomb, and she doesn't know what part of the country she's in, without food or water and waiting for a murderer to come back (and I would think the dehydration for the 12 or so hours in the hot, dry air would have had more of an impact), I didn't feel the urgency that much. Usually when I'm reading something where the heroine if fighting to escape a dangerous killer, li ...more
Apr 14, 2011 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Althea Tomlinson aka Tommy has come back to Egypt, incognito, to prove that her father shouldn’t have been exiled from the archeologist digs there. So she’s dyed her hair and taken up a job chaperoning a rich guy’s daughter around. And everything is going swimmingly until she finds out that the person with proof of her father’s innocence has kicked the bucket. That’s pretty shitty for her, but not entirely unexpected; after all, the guy was pretty ancient.

Now Tommy is stuck in Egypt without the
This is an early Peters, written before the Amelia Peabody books were begun. It's interesting to see in it the seeds of the later series - this book visits many of the same places, including the Winter Palace and Gurnah. There's even reference to a Master Criminal, and John, (a name Peters apparently loved), is kind of an early Radcliff Emerson. Reading it that way may be more fun than reading it for straight romantic suspense, because it's only partly successful as such, as Peters hadn't yet re ...more
Jan 06, 2016 Jeanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked it up because her books are right next to Ellis Peters. This book was very dated. It was written in 1968 and it shows. The main character is whiney. She's quick to anger. She is also incredibly unlucky. She gets beat up, choked, and assaulted in the first few chapters. Later on, she gets beaten up again and locked in a tomb. It was a quick read. I did not like the ending. It was too incredulous.
May 02, 2015 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This mystery is set in Egypt. Author has a degree in Egyptology and her descriptions of Egypt and the tombs and archaeology are probably spot-on and very interesting. But, I found the lead character and her romantic interests to be a bit silly. Still, it was a great choice for a cross-country flight.
Pat Beard
May 19, 2015 Pat Beard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having completed all of the Peabody and Emerson and Bliss series, I thought I would try Peters' earlier works. This book published in 1968 was a pleasant read. It foreshadowed the humor and characterizations of her later works. I plan on reading my way through the rest of her books.
May 02, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
One of her first efforts and it may be her first fictional work set in Egypt. This predates the Amelia Peabody series but the humor is here, the wit, and the love of Egypt as a setting.

Not as polished as her later work but still, I recommend this one if you like her other stories.
May 30, 2012 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so I'm hooked on Elizabeth Peters, and I haven't even read one of her Amelia Peabody series. The Jackal's Head was first published nearly 45 years ago, and although a couple of the social references are dated, the writing is vivid. No one smokes any more, for instance, and I don't know when I last wore a Dacron dress, but the emotions are nearly touchable, the main character's self-deprecation and sense of humor make her feel as close as a new friend. The mystery wasn't hard to figure out, ...more
Jun 04, 2014 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Interesting mystery, and I enjoyed learning more about ancient Egypt. However, parts of the story reminded me of those old Harlequin Romance novels... the hero loves the heroine, but has to hide his true feelings by beating her up occasionally. Weird to say the least.
Aug 26, 2012 Deanna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I've ever given an Elizabeth Peters book less than 4 stars, but I can't give this one anymore than two. There are some good sequences of action, but the characters are inconsistent and, most importantly, unlikeable. The plot is unbelievable and jerky. Dialogue is so irritating it made me wince. And most importantly, this didn't happen. The particular tomb discussed has never been found. All of the Amelia Peabody series was set around actual Egyptian discoveries and the real people ...more
Jan 21, 2010 Jessi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Not a huge fan of the ending but it was familiar in the predictability I've come to expect from the romances of Elizabeth Peters. The heroine, incongruously nicknamed "Tommy", has returned to Egypt after 10 years with some misguided notion of avenging/solving her father's mysterious disappearance. There's intrigue, several deaths and attacks, and romance. It was also written in the 70's and therefore somewhat dated but still entertaining. Elizabeth Peters is the best writer of archaeological dig ...more
Feb 13, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Peter's first book published in 1968 shows the promise she will fulfill in the Amelia Peabody series. Althea Thomlinson comes back to Egypt 10 year after she left at the age of 17. She hopes to clear her father's name. He was disgraced for trying to sell fake antiquities--and died soon after in a crash. Dr. John McIntire is head of the Luxor Institute, and he is a template for Emerson in the Amelia Peabody series. There is a question as to whether the tomb of Nefertiti might be in the ...more
Sarah "Kat"
Jun 07, 2015 Sarah "Kat" rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
2.5 stars. There was way too much description that I could not follow - I found myself skimming over sections.
Livia Komosa
Apr 03, 2015 Livia Komosa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this immensely. Nothing terribly complicated but fun and suspenseful. Enjoyed a bunch.
Jul 28, 2014 Rebekah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished the audio book of this novel I first read decades ago. I remembered very little except that (view spoiler) It is a credit to Peters that she kept me guessing as to which one. As always Peters' wryly humorous voice shines through and is very enjoyable. It left me wishing that she had written a sequel featuring the two main characters. I wante ...more
Linda Stoner
Oct 05, 2014 Linda Stoner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
eAudiobook borrowed from JoCo Library; read by Grace Conlin
Jeanette Johnson
Mar 11, 2011 Jeanette Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-mystery
I suspected the ending but was still surprised when it all went down. A good 24 hrs after I've finished and I'm still not sure how I feel about it! I was hoping for a change from the EP archetypical "I am a stubborn, independent woman & I will fall in love with the first macho young art historian or archeologist that I exchange harsh words with" but this was not the change I was looking for. Still, the book was worth 4 stars because of the suspense, plot twists, and witty dialect! Maybe the ...more
Not awful, but a far cry from Peters' Amelia Peabody series, both in the quality of writing and the quality of plotting.

The plot was predictable here and the romance not convincing; still, it had its share of excitement towards the end and some of the descriptions of the Valley of the Kings in moonlight were lovely, which made me round up the 2.5 stars I'd have wanted to give this otherwise.
Jul 14, 2011 SJuhl4 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorites by Elizabeth Peters. Set in Egypt a young model attemts to clear her deceased father's name. The result is a frenzied search for a tomb only her father knew the whereabouts of. As always the plot is well thought out. The suspects are aplenty and a surprising romance is tossed in for good measure. She is an incrediable author - I highly recommend all of her works.
Jul 05, 2012 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A 2.5. Written early in Peter's career, this novel read like a precursor to the Amelia Peabody series. One main male character is very similar to Emerson; but the main female protagonist doesn't resemble Amelia much. In fact, she can be quite annoying at times. If you are a huge Peters buff, this is worth reading. Otherwise, skip this and move on to the Amelia Peabody series.
Fiona Dolan
Great writing, as with all her work, but lacking in her later humorous sensibility. It is much more dramatic than her other works in the same vein, and is without the playful jibes she makes at the genre. Her excellent writing saves it from becoming just another exotic adventure novel. Interesting, well-developed characters as always. An exciting read.
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  • The Walker in Shadows
Elizabeth Peters is a pen name of Barbara Mertz. She also wrote as Barbara Michaels as well as her own name. Born and brought up in Illinois, she earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago. Mertz was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America at the Edgar Awards in 1998. She lived in a historic farmhouse in Frede ...more
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