Footprints in the Sand
(The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries, Book 2)
By Pam Lecky
A melting pot of jealousy, lust and revenge. Who will pay the ultimate price?
Lucy Lawrence throws caution to the wind and embarks on a journey of self-discovery to the land of the pharaohs.
Travelling to Cairo as the patron of the charming French Egyptologist, Armand Moreau, Lucy discovers an archaeological community plagued by professional rivalries and intrigue. It is soon apparent that the thriving black market in antiquities threatens Egypt’s precious heritage.
When the Egyptian Museum is burgled, Lucy is determined to solve the case, much to the annoyance of the local inspector of police, and the alarm of Mary, her maid. But when an archaeologist is found murdered in the Great Pyramid, Lucy is catapulted into the resulting maelstrom. Can she keep her wits about her to avoid meeting a similar fate?
The Shubra Avenue, North Cairo, that Afternoon.
The lightly sprung open carriage bowled along the broad avenue beneath the sycamores and lebbeks which formed a cool green tunnel of shade. Much to Lucy’s surprise, it was far more crowded than she had expected. Whether carriages or the ubiquitous donkey, every mode of transport had been employed, and half of Cairo appeared to have had the same idea of an afternoon drive.
“It is just like Rotten Row in Hyde Park,” Lucy remarked to Mary. “I understand it is a favourite haunt of the tourists. Rafiq told me it is the place to be seen, particularly on Fridays and Sundays. Even the khedive likes to take the air here. Oh look, Mary,” she said as a carriage passed by with a veiled lady inside. “I wonder if she is from one of the harems.” Lucy raised her parasol, trying to catch another glimpse.
“What’s a harem?” Mary frowned at her. Lucy quickly explained.
“Good gracious! It is all wonderfully exotic, ma’am. I’m not sure me mother would approve.”
Lucy snorted. “Or Father O’Brien?”
“Oh lord, ma’am, it would kill him entirely!”
“Best not tell them so, Mary. Stick to snakes and scorpions and your impossible mistress.”
Mary gave an exaggerated shiver. “I don’t know how you can joke about those creatures, ma’am. Cairo and Egypt suit you, but I’d rather be at home.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way, Mary, but it’s only for a few months, and you’ll soon be back with your Ned.” This brought a smile to Mary’s face. Lucy continued: “Perhaps I fit in here because I am in my natural habitat. I am among rogues, charlatans, thieves and chancers. The most fascinating group of people I have ever encountered.”
“Ah, ma’am. I know you are joking. You are none of those things. However, I’ve no doubt you will sort each and every one of them out if you can.”
Lucy replied with a smile. “I shall try. It would appear we are all stuck here in Cairo for the present, and I need something to keep me occupied.”
“That’s a shame, ma’am. I know how much you liked the desert. What do you have in mind?”
“I think a little detecting may be in order.”
Mary blanched. “But look what happened the last time! Best not.”
“But, Mary, the theft at the museum has not been solved. Nor my middle of the night visitor, though I think that one is best left to the police. However, there is something very peculiar about the burglary at the museum, and it is niggling away at me. Why did they not take the opportunity to steal more than a handful of items? It does not make sense.”
Mary shrugged. “It’s a very poor country. People do what they need to do to survive and feed their families. Perhaps the burglar realised what he had was priceless and was happy enough, or was disturbed and made a run for it?”
“Hmm, well, I am not convinced. Something about it does not feel right.”
“I’d leave it alone, ma’am. How could you possibly solve it? And those thieves may be highly dangerous. They will not take kindly to you poking your nose in.”
Lucy gasped. “Poking my nose in!”
“Sorry, ma’am, but yes. Let the police do their job,” Mary replied with a stern gaze. “They probably suspect who did it and only need to catch them trying to sell the items to a dealer.”
Lucy narrowed her eyes. “You seem to know a lot about how these things work.”
Mary sniffed. “I hear the talk amongst the other servants, ma’am, at the hotel.” She leaned forward. “I think one or two of them might be trying their hand in the black market. Very lucrative, from what I hear. Some of them plan to bring items home to sell on.”
“Indeed. That’s interesting, Mary. Keep your ears open, and let me know if you hear anything else. Just think, we might try to crack it, just the two of us. It would be such fun.”
Mary didn’t look convinced. “Fun, is it? And what about me, when I have to return to England and explain to your grieving family and friends that your nasty death was down to fun?”
“It won’t come to that. Don’t I have you to watch out for me?”
Mary rolled her eyes skyward.
“You know if I get bored, I will only make your life miserable. Come, what do you say, Mary? It won’t be too difficult. I already know where to find one rogue who deals in stolen goods—the fellow who tried to sell me the mummy’s hand. All I need to do is question him and try to trace his source. He was a slimy fellow. I’m sure for the right amount of money he would give us some names or useful information.”
Mary sniffed. “More likely, a passport to heaven, ma’am!”
Pick up your copy of
Footprints in the Sand
Pam Lecky is an Irish historical fiction author, writing crime, mystery, romance and the supernatural. Pam is represented by the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency in London. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Society of Authors and has a particular love of the late Victorian era/early 20th Century.
Her debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance, was awarded the B.R.A.G Medallion; shortlisted for the Carousel Aware Prize 2016; and long-listed for the Historical Novel Society 2016 Indie Award.
Her short stories are available in an anthology, entitled Past Imperfect, which was published in April 2018.
June 2019, saw the release of the first book in the Lucy Lawrence Mystery series, No Stone Unturned, a fast-paced Victorian mystery/crime, set in London and Yorkshire which was recently awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. The sequel, Footprints in the Sand was released on 14th March 2020.\