Intrigue in Egypt in ‘Shadows on the Nile’

17165591Shadows on the Nile by Fate Furnival*
Berkley Trade, October 1, 2013 (Historical Fiction / Mystery)
Rating: I’d Go There Again

Shadows on the Nile is a mystery set in 1932 London and Egypt. Jessica Kenton’s stable life is threatened when her younger brother, Timothy, vanishes. Jessica is charged with finding her brother, never dreaming that it will take her to exotic Egypt. Along the way, Jessica gains the “help” of impoverished aristocrat, Monty, who has his own motives for getting involved. On the trail for her brother, Jessica finds herself with more trouble than she bargained for and her family’s closely held secret will be revealed.

This was my first Furnivall novel and I loved it! The novel was very atmospheric and I loved the transition from London to Egypt and the contrast that these two made. The mystery was revealed slowly and at times I was frustrated at the pacing, but it never made me want to put the book down. Within Jessica’s narrative we also have interludes by what starts out as a mysterious voice, which we later learn is Jessica’s “true” brother. While I liked the writing style in her brother’s voice I did think it hampered the pacing a little bit. The storyline with Jessica’s “real” brother also seemed like a little bit of an awkward addition to the mystery and I have mixed feelings about its inclusion.

I also liked the romance aspect to the book, it was never the centre of the story, but added another layer to the central mystery plot. Monty was a rather ambiguous character, making it difficult to understand his motives for helping Jessica. What’s never in question is Monty’s feelings towards Jessica, but readers are kept in suspense as to whether or not Monty is the “good guy.” I liked the addition of this relationship and I think it will appeal to readers who want a more character-driven novel.

The time period in which Shadows on the Nile was set is what really made this book for me. I find Egypt in the 1930s to be extremely interesting period since it’s characterized as a time of exploration and cultural pillage. I liked that Furnivall addressed the moral ambiguity of British citizens removing Egyptian artifacts without permission. It’s an interesting period and to be honest, completely reminds me of the movie, The Mummy – minus the whole supernatural dead rising from the grave to wreak havoc on the city. Since I loved that movie, I felt predisposed to enjoy Shadows on the Nile. While Shadows did not have any supernatural elements to it, the atmospheric historical setting really appealed to me.

Overall, I loved the mystery, the historical setting and the dash of romance that rounded out this novel, which is saying something since I’m very picky about my historical fiction.

*e-ARC provided by Edelweiss

Read-Alikes (click on any of the following images to be taken to that book’s Goodreads description):

Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1)ResurrectionJasmine NightsThe Dressmaker



  1. No supernatural dead wreaking havoc? How disappointing! I love that you included Elizabeth Peters as a read-alike — her Vicky Bliss series is also enormously entertaining, with an enigmatic thief and an art historian/amateur sleuth.

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