Monday, July 23, 2012

The Legionnaire: Mask of the Pharaoh / SJ Parkinson

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Mystery

Approximate word count: 110-115,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: YES  Paper: YES
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“Mr. Parkinson is  a former Air Force avionics technician, a decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf War and several United Nations peacekeeping missions. He has lived overseas in numerous countries and travels extensively. He has written a newspaper column on computers and been published in several magazines.”

For more, visit Parkinson’s website.


“The golden burial mask of Tutankhamun was the most famous archaeological discovery of the 20th century. When it is stolen from the guarded hold of a cargo ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the impact of the crime threatens to destroy everything in one man’s life.

Stephen Anderson is living a lie. A former Sergeant in the French Foreign Legion, he deserted after witnessing the murder of a fellow legionnaire at the hands of senior officers. After faking his death in the Algerian desert, Anderson believes he is safe but must maintain a low profile to avoid detection. He began a new life as an investigator for a large US insurance company, letting others take credit for the items he retrieves.

Anderson is assigned as lead investigator by his insurance company to locate Tutankhamun’s burial mask. The theft results in intense international press coverage, threatening to expose his hidden past. An attempt was made on his life immediately before the theft. Were the thieves trying to improve their odds of success, or is someone from his earlier life seeking revenge?”


Mask of the Pharaoh is a clever mystery based on one of the timeless tropes of the genre, a variation on the locked room mystery. The lead character, Stephen Anderson, combines the deductive skills of Sherlock Holmes with the style of TV’s Remington Steele, and an air of mystery, made necessary by a secret past. The story is fast-paced; the mystery, complex (I had no idea how the crime was accomplished, and just a glimmer of who did it, before the solution was revealed). The story rang true, at least partially due to the author’s extensive research, made evident in the notes at the end. Lovers of a good mystery should find Mask of the Pharaoh an excellent choice.

This is the first of a series, with at least two other books planned. Events near the end of this book appear to set up the next in the series. I can easily see the Stephen Anderson character along with his sidekicks as the basis for a long series. I’m eager for more.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four stars

1 comment:

Lynn said...

WTG Mr. Parkinson. I knew this would get a rave review. Can't wait to read the next one. I enjoyed this one very much.