EGYPTIAN ENIGMA by L J M Owen, Review: Cosy foodie mystery

Filled with ancient murder, family secrets and really good food, Egyptian Enigma is the third adventure in L J M Owen’s charming series Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth. Really cold cases.

L J M Owen Egyptian Enigma Dr Pimms

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Egyptian Enigma, Book 3 Dr Pimms Intermillennial Sleuth Synopsis:

Dr Elizabeth Pimms, enthusiastic archaeologist and reluctant librarian, has returned to Egypt. Among the treasures of the Cairo museum she spies cryptic symbols in the corner of an ancient papyrus. Decoding them leads Elizabeth and her newly formed gang of sleuths to a tomb of mummies whose identities must be uncovered.

What is the connection between the mummies and Twosret, female Pharaoh and last ruler of Egypt’s nineteenth dynasty? How did their bodies end up scattered across the globe? And is the investigation related to the attacks on Elizabeth’s family and friends back in Australia? Between grave robbers, cannibals, sexist historians and jealous Pharaohs, can Dr Pimms solve her latest archaeological mystery?

(Echo Publishing, 2018)


Straight off the blocks I must declare a soft spot for LJM Owen’s Dr Pimms Intermillennial Sleuth Series. A fan was born when I read Book 1, Olmec Obituary. My summation after reading it:

If you are a fan of the TV series Bones, this is a book for you. If you are a foodie, this is a book for you. If you love libraries, this is a book for you.

In that series opening Owen set up an awkward academic with much personal growth ahead of her, supported by an eclectic family unit who love to cook (and eat in great quantity) mouth-watering food. It was easily digestible reading, with an intriguing dual historical narrative that complemented the leading character’s present day archaeological investigations.

I found Book 2, Mayan Mendacity enjoyable reading also, but wasn’t quite as swept away by it as the first. The trend continues with Book 3, Egyptian Enigma.

Objectively speaking, weaknesses lie in the slow pace of lead character Elizabeth’s personal growth and the overt series structure. Much like Matthew Reilly’s series novels, Owen leaves readers with cliffhangers and much left to be resolved in future episodes. Both aspects can present an element of frustration for readers.

Educational reading

But in addition to the reverence ascribed to family meals and warm/cosy nature of most character interactions, what I find so appealing about this series is that I always learn something.

Owen has a knack for explaining the complicated customs of ancient cultures in an accessible manner. In Egyptian Enigma I was pleased to learn that many pharaohs were actually female, what ‘death by milk and honey’ originally meant, and many other fascinating facts about early Egyptian society. I also learned a new word ‘susurrus‘. Foodies will also enjoy the family recipes Owen shares at the novels’ end.

If you are looking for an easy-to-read, cosy mystery series to invest in, L J M Owen’s Dr Pimms Intermillennial Sleuth could be for you. I am certainly looking forward to this story’s continuation in Book 4 Mongolian Mayhem.

BOOK RATING: The Story 3.5 / 5 ; The Writing 3.5 / 5

Get your copy of Egyptian Enigma from:

Booktopia(Aus) | Book Depository | AmazonKobobooks

Genre: Historical, Mystery, Detective, Adventure

This review counts towards my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2018, the 2018 Australian Women Writers Challenge and the New Release Challenge.

UPDATE: We have also gone on to read LJM Owen’s standalone darker crime novel The Great Divide.

About the Author, L J M Owen

L.J.M. Owen drew extensively on her education and experience when developing the novel. Relevant qualifications include an undergraduate degree in archaeology and a PhD in palaeogenetics from ANU, and a graduate diploma in library management from Curtin University.

Check out her website and connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

Olmec Obituary Book 1    Mayan Mendacity Book 2

* My receiving a copy of Egyptian Enigma from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions in the review above.