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The Laughter of Dead Kings (Vicky Bliss, #6)
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The Laughter of Dead Kings (Vicky Bliss #6)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  2,380 ratings  ·  309 reviews
Who stole the mummy of King Tut? The brazen crime bears the earmarks of one Sir John Smythe, the international art thief. In fact, John Tregarth is the longtime significant other of Vicky Bliss. Innocent, he vows to clear his name by hunting down the true criminal.

Vicky loses faith. But her boss, Munich Museum director Anton Z. Schmidt, "the finest swordsman in Europe", pa...more
Hardcover, William Morrow First edition, 324 pages
Published August 19th 2008 by Harper Collins (first published 2008)
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Angela
I had high hopes for The Laughter of Dead Kings, the sixth and final installment of Elizabeth Peters' Vicky Bliss series. I've loved the Vicky books almost as much as I've loved the Amelia Peabodies--and indeed, I'd been deeply charmed to learn as of Book 5 that the two series are in fact set in the same universe. With great anticipation, I'd looked forward to seeing how that connection would be strengthened in Book 6. However, for me at least, Laughter ultimately disappoints.

One issue is one wh...more
Rachel
I was looking forward to this book so excitedly and for so long, that it wouldn't have been surprising if I'd raised my expectations too high and found myself disappointed once I'd finally read it. I hadn't, and I wasn't. I loved reading this book the way I have loved reading every book starring Vicky and John, because Elizabeth Peters has done such a good job of making me know and love and care deeply about her characters.

Even after more than ten years, Peters still writes those characters perf...more
Tanya
I'm a sucker for any E. Peters, especially those featuring either Amelia Peabody or Vicky Bliss. And this one took Vicky into Amelia territory, having her scope out a murder mystery/antiquities theft in Egypt.

So all the ingredients for a good romp are here, and they're effective: Sir John Smythe, er, Tregarth, nobly muttering pithy sentiments and then disappearing. Anton Schmidt, munching whatever pastry he can find and exuding confidence aplenty. Feisal, gorgeous and oddly ineffective, but non...more
Katie
NOOOOOO. Who let me finish this series??? I am so sad now. I tried to draw this out, but eventually it got to the point where I HAD to see what happened.

One of my favorite thing about series is getting to these later books where the relationships are more settled and you (hopefully) love the characters ever so much. So I liked this book a lot for that.

(view spoiler)

JBradford
I picked up this book because I am a great fan of Elizabeth Peters' novels about Amelia Peabody and thought this was another in the series … only I did not read the small print at the bottom, which says it is a Vicky Bliss novel of suspense. Vicky Bliss, it turns out in the last few pages of the book, is romantically involved with a dashing rogue who is a descendant of Amelia, and this apparently is one of a series that includes at least five prior novels about the same couple. This time they ar...more
Margaret
Don't you hate it when you've waited for something for years, and it turns out...disappointing? Peters' last book about art historian sleuth Vicky Bliss was published fourteen years ago, and since then, I and lots of others have been waiting for another one, while Peters continued to write more Amelia Peabody Emerson novels instead. (Not that I have anything against Amelia, but I think there are maybe more novels in that series than there need to be.)

The Laughter of Dead Kings isn't all bad, by...more
Lesa
I can't believe I waited 14 years to read this book. Even though I'm a fan of Elizabeth Peters, under this name and Barbara Michaels, I found this one disappointing. Too drawn out, too slow, and too poorly edited.
Ivonne Rovira
When Night Train to Memphis was published in 1994, I eagerly awaited the next installment in the Vicky Bliss/John Smythe series. As year after year went by, I came to the sad conclusion that there would never be another novel.

You can imagine how delighted I was when I learned that there would be a new book in the series. I bought Laughter of Dead Kings the very day it came out. The sixth entry in this series was wonderful, albeit not as good as some of the other books in the series, particularly...more
Dorothy
I read this book out of sequence because I had it on hand and I needed a bit of "fluff" reading as a respite from the more serious books I had been reading recently. I really wish I had waited until I had a chance to read "Night Train to Memphis." There were numerous references here to happenings in that book, and I think I would have enjoyed "Laughter" more if I had more fully understood those references.

Still, it was an okay read. Time spent with an Elizabeth Peters mystery is never time waste...more
Lee Anne


Vicky Bliss, art historian and museum curator turned amateur detective, is back in the 6th and final adventure of this series. When her romantic interest, reformed art-thief and supposedly-respectable dealer John Tregarth is accused of stealing Tutankhamen's mummy, the crew gets pulled into finding the real perpetrators. But has John really reformed? Or will he leave Vicky in the lurch once again?

I like all of Elizabeth Peters' books (and love the Amelia Peabody books, which start with Crocodi...more
Loralee
It's a beautiful title. Too bad the rest of the book doesn't pan out.

Elizabeth Peters has written outstanding, gripping novels (her ouevre got me through the summer I was stuck at home recovering from jaw surgery), but this isn't one of them. You'd think the theft of Tuthankamen from his tomb should make a great story with hero detectives dogging violent tomb-robber masterminds. In fact, this story reads more as if it were really a criminal investigation, with lots of downtime, pointless intervi...more
Kim
This book is really difficult for me to review, for a couple of reasons. First off, there is the fact that, for me at least,even a mediocre Elizabeth Peters (or Barbara Michaels, her other nom de plume) is better than most of the rest. She really is that good, especially when she's writing about her beloved Egypt, where most of this novel is set. Secondly, although I know I didn't like this as much as the other Vicky Bliss novels,* I have a hard time putting my finger on why. It's been a long ti...more
Samira
A perfectly acceptable book, not great literature, but I was not expecting great literature. I do, however, have one complaint. The book opens with a forward from the author, noting that she has been writing about the character for about 40 years, and while the character does not age in real time, she is always set in the time in which the book was written. Which is to say that the heroine ranges in age from say 30 to 35, but the books written in the 70s are in the 70s and this book is written i...more
Jenn Estepp
Probably three stars on it's own, but as a satisfying end to a series, featuring characters of whom I've grown quite fond of (Schmidt!), I heartily approve.
Julie Johnson
So sorry that this is the end of the Vickie Bliss series...I love this series!

Such fun, all the usual characters are back! Its so much fun to follow a series...it felt like a reunion special of a favourite tv show or something to have everyone back in the same room again!

Of course part of the joy in this series is stubborn Vicki and stubborn John locking horns again! Sir John has got to be one of my favourite guys in the whole rom-com mystery genre. I would gladly read another ten books with h...more
An Odd1
"The Laughter of Dead Kings" (Vicky Bliss #6) by Elizabeth Peters is the absurd abduction of King Tut's mummy from the desert gravesite by a fast-talking aristocratic British accent and apparently equipped TV crew, typical style of formerly dishonest art and artifact dealer alias "Sir John Smythe". John Tregarth swears innocence, but even Vicky Bliss, paramour, Munich museum expert, narrator, has doubts. The Arab security guard, then a female middleman, both turn up dead, her and Tut's hands sep...more
Joy
This was the second book I've read from this author after a long time. First one was an Amelia Peabody mystery, and this one is the last of the Vicky Bliss novels. It was marginally OK, got me through traffic and I enjoyed the humor.

It was an average novel for me, I'm glad I bought it for a bargain price. The writing style was just ok, it's obvious Vicky and John have been together through thick and thin with the past adventures mentioned. I was amused by Schmidt's character especially the sword...more
Jtp
Dearest Elizabeth,

I have read almost all of your books, under both your aliases. You wrote a character who, to this day, is my second favorite fictional crush of all time. When I found out there was a new Vicky Bliss, I ran out of my office, ignoring my work, and prayed that B & N had a copy. They did. Mind you - this is the same girl who went through two copies of "Night Train to Memphis" because of frequent re-reads.

After that beautiful novel you give me this? No light, witty, "His Girl F...more
Beth
I loved reading "romantic suspense" novels from the 1960s-1980s. Elizabeth Peters (aka Barbara Michaels) is one of my favorite authors in that genre. She is best known for her Amelia Peabody mystery series, about a Victorian lady who marries an egyptologist (I loved Crocodile on the Sandbank), but my favorite has always been the Vicky Bliss series by Peters. Laughter of Dead Kings is the latest in this series (the first book was published in 1973 and the last in 1994). In Laughter, Vicky is stil...more
Betty
Enjoyable romp of a mystery

Another enjoyable romp in the life of Vicky Bliss, assistant curator of Munich’s National Museum, art historian, antiquities expert and amateur sleuth. Elizabeth Peters has a long history of writing wonderfully strong, humorous and intelligent female characters, and in all her series her characters endear themselves to her faithful readers. The Vicky Bliss series takes place in current times rather than the Victorian era of Amelia Peabody and the early Egyptian tomb di...more
Abbey
2008, #6 Vicky Bliss, art historian, and John Tregarth, art thief; romantic suspenser/caper thriller - DNF. Somebody’s stolen a VERY important Egyptian artifact, and everybody thinks it was John, who’s says it wasn’t him, he’s gone straight. John and Vicky set out to find who really did do the audacious - and sophisticated - heist.

Strikingly similar to many of Peters’ thrillers from the late 1960s and early 1970s, but without the sparkle and charm of the earlier books. I’m a devoted fan of Pete...more
Mirrani
The Laughter of Dead Kings was the first book I’ve read in the Vicky Bliss series and while I thought a few parts of it were rather predictable, I enjoyed the story very much.

Many books in a series such as this one have difficulty including the mention of previous novels, the retelling of each incident becomes monotones or obnoxious to the point where you think, “Here we go again. Can we just get on with THIS story? That’s what I’m here for.” Such is not the case with this book. I understood tha...more
Jill Dunlop
Vicky Bliss is back. The Laughter of Dead Kings is the sixth book in the Vicky Bliss series. Vicky and her beau John Tregarth find themselves swept back into another mystery involving the theft of Tutankhamon’s mummy. Their good friend Feisel, whom readers met in Night Train to Memphis (book 5), comes to John because he suspects that John had something to do with the theft or knows the persons that did. Feisel wants to keep the news of the missing mummy quiet and out of the public eye. He enlist...more
Aaron
Elizabeth Peters is best known for her popular Amelia Peabody series, which is made up of mysteries set at the turn of the century and centering around a family of Egyptologists. Her real name is Barbara Mertz, a real-life, well respected archaeologist. This book is the newest addition in a series, which centers around Vicky Bliss, a modern American girl who is tall, blond, blue eyed and beautiful, a set of traits she rues because it tends to make people thinks she is simple even as she is a spe...more
Mimi Wolske
I happened to pick up my first Elizabeth Peters (a.k.a. Barbara Mertz/Barbara Michaels) mystery, Laughter of Dead Kings, on a whim and while it wasn’t necessarily instant love, there was something about her writing that meant I kept on reading. I often felt that the actual mystery took a bit of a backseat, that the villain had the upper hand throughout most of the story, and that resolution was more blundered into than reasoned out.

Someone stole King Tut’s mummy from his tomb in the Valley of K...more
Gail Gauthier
Elizabeth Peters' most famous character is Amelia Peabody, who is the protagonist in a series of over twenty books dealing with mysteries related to Egyptology in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Laughter of Dead Kings isn't one of them.

I have read all of Amelia Peabody books, mainly because I was into the world and the characters. The plotting is sometimes a little weak. More than once I was nearly done with a book and wondered, Now what are they doing here?

The Laughter o...more
Kate
Re-read. again. I admit to some serious love for the Vicky Bliss series, and I really enjoyed this cherry-on-top (although I think Night Train to Memphis was just a darn good ending to the series.) I didn't need more, not even to explain how John is related to the Peabody-Emersons. Peters takes some time at the beginning to explain that the series isn't fixed in time so we should just ignore all that previous stuff like The Street of Five Moons talking about the recent introduction of color tv t...more
Jess
An entertaining addition to the series; as Peters notes, Vicky's life doesn't pass in real time - if it did, she'd be nearing retirement. Instead, each installment is set during the time it was published - so now Vicky carries a cell phone and John checks his email, but they've only aged a few months in the last 15 or so years.

For the first time, we see Vicky and John working on a case more or less together, with help from old friends like Schmidt (who displays some impressive previously-unseen...more
Erin
Apr 21, 2009 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Elizabeth Peters fans, mystery fans, people who like Egyptology
Shelves: mystery
Elizabeth Peters brings back Vicky Bliss in a modern setting, this time heading to Egypt to solve the theft of King Tutankhamun's mummy from his tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor (ancient Thebes). I started this book about a month and a half before I actually went to Egypt, and although it took me too long to read it (in snippets during lunch breaks, mostly), I really enjoyed it. I got about 3/4 of the way through it before I went on vacation and finished the rest once I got home. Having...more
Sarah Sammis
The Vicky Bliss series started in 1973 but I didn't discover it until 1999. We were in the middle of a grueling multi-part move from Southern to Northern California. We were moving as much of the furniture and stuff (books mostly) in our tiny Civic Hatchback (a method I don't recommend). For one of the trips back down to Los Angeles my husband picked up an audio book of Night Train to Memphis not having ever heard of Elizabeth Peters.

I had been reading Peters's Amelia Peabody series since the ea...more
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Elizabeth Peters is a pen name of Barbara Mertz. She also writes 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 Fred...more
More about Elizabeth Peters...
Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1) The Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody, #2) The Last Camel Died at Noon (Amelia Peabody, #6) Lion in the Valley  (Amelia Peabody, #4) The Mummy Case (Amelia Peabody, #3)

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