"The Egyptologist" by Arthur Phillips

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In "The Egyptologist" Arthur Phillips gives us a murder mystery that features an Australian con man named Caldwell, who poses as Trilipush, another character who is a foppish Brit who "read the Pharoahs" at Oxford, and a dim Aussie detective who'd like to sell his idea of this story to Hollywood. All this is set in the exciting backdrop of Egypt in the '20s, while the world is agog with the King Tut discoveries.
Principal among Caldwell/Trilipush's ambitions is the hand of Margaret Finneran, daughter of mobster money, but he believes he has to find a real Egyptian treasure to make himself worthy. His belief in this treasure is the driving energy behind the narrative. Too bad the belief is based on poor information, incomplete evidence, and outright falsehoods. In the end our protaganist's belief becomes maniacal: he comes to equate himself with his apocryphal Egyptian king, and kills himself. He leaves in his wake, confusion, uncertainty, murder, blackmail, and a dead gangster.

Phillips is very generous with his readers. We learn in plenty of time of Caldwell/Trilipush's delusion; there is wonderful dialogue - witty, and spot-on with the vernacular of the times. We have a complete understanding of story when the two men die at the end - the dream of discovery, the mystery of the Egyptian king who never existed, and the mayhem our would-be social climber causes.

This book has a wondeful cast of characters, an exciting climax, and takes us on a trip to a far-away land and time. I recommend it - take and enjoy.
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