Having kept Port Mortuary with a great sense of anticipation while I finished reading a couple of other novels, I’m sorry to say that it didn’t live up to my expectations. I had heard that Patricia Cornwall was back on form with Port Mortuary so I had expected to be drawn in from the first pages and held throughout the remainder. In the event, I found that the first half of the book hard to get into and the non-stop acronyms were distracting and sometimes made for difficult reading. More than once, I had to flick back to remind myself what a particular acronym stood for. Eventually, the story did come together and the last part of the book is much stronger. Having said all of that, it is still a fast read and I did not consider abandoning it. If you are a Patricia Cornwall fan, and you haven’t already read this, then I am sure that you will want to. If you are new to her writing, I would recommend that you start with some of her earlier novels which, for my money, I think are much better.
In common with many children of my generation, I went through a phase of being fascinated by ancient Egypt and watched the various movies that were around in the 70s and 80s inspired by Egyptology. So the story of Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen is reasonably familiar to me.
An easy read
The Murder of King Tut is an easy read – ostensibly non-fiction it read more like fiction to me and the best parts of the tale in my opinion are the sections describing the relationship between Nefertiti and her husband, and later between Tutankhamen and his sister/wife.
The Howard Carter story line seemed to lack depth of character while the interjections of Patterson’s own reactions and observations, including those on his femme fatale wife, seemed to add little to the overall telling of the tale.
Short chapters and wide margins make for a quick read. I found The Murder of King Tut enjoyable – a good holiday read but perhaps not to be taken too seriously.