'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Review: The Mummy Smugglers of Crumblin Castle

It is 1873. Twelve year old orphaned Hattie, moves from boarding school to the English Fens, to live with Great-aunt Iphigenia and Great-uncle Sisyphus Lambton at Crumblin Castle. It is literally, crumbling around them as repairs are undertaken only when money is available.

Both highly educated Egyptologists, Sisyphus translates manuscripts, while Iphigenia conducts mummy unwrapping events for the well-heeled members of society. Edwina and Edgar Raven who manage the business side of the Lambton’s work, also live at the castle.

The greatest surprise of all is the housekeeper, Sekhmet the cat and her five kitten helpers. Hattie feels that she has finally found a home.

Hattie finds the Ravens creepy, secretive and suspicious, regardless of the total trust given them by the elderly couple. Edgar’s attachment to his briefcase is as abnormal as both Ravens’ attitude towards Hattie.

Curses, haunting and groaning apparitions in the castle cause Hattie to privately question Iphigenia’s work. What is causing the sounds? Is someone trying to tell Hattie something?

It is when the mummies run out and the Egyptian government forbids the export of artifacts, that the Lambton’s income ceases. They travel to Egypt in an attempt to secretly source their own supply. There they meet unconventional, unscrupulous people ready to accommodate them.

Hattie, awed by what she sees and learns, recognises that she will definitely follow in the family’s archaeological footsteps.

This brilliantly researched book is a pleasure to read. Pamela Rushby has combined real events, fantasy and fiction to create an impressive novel full of secrets, intrigue and history. Fabulous illustrations by Nellie May Pierce add mystery and visually enhance the novel.

Rushby is an immensely talented and versatile writer of over 200 books for children and young adults, documentaries, short stories, TV scripts and more.

Title: The Mummy Smugglers of Crumblin Castle
Author: Pamela Rushby
Illustrator: Nelle May Pierce
Publisher: Walker Books, $17.99
Publication Date: 1 July 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760651930
For ages: 8+
Type: Junior Fiction