Monday, December 21, 2015

When an ivory and emerald statuette of the cat goddess Bastet makes its way to her home and sets her cats on edge, Glenda is panicked. Cats in the Cradle of Civilization by C. L. Kraemer on Mystery Monday

Title: Cats in the Cradle of Civilization
Author: C. L. Kraemer
ISBN: 978-1-62420-127-1
Genre: Suspense
Excerpt Heat Level: 
Book Heat Level: 1


Cats in the Cradle of Civilization by C. L. Kraemer
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (146 Pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Glenda Nagel, editor for Getty Museum’s monthly magazine loves her home in the Juniper Hills and her cats. When an ivory and emerald statuette of the cat goddess Bastet makes its way to her home and sets her cats on edge, Glenda is panicked.
Who knows about his and why has the darkly handsome, new Director of Egyptian Antiquities become so determined to visit her high desert home? Doesn’t Egypt have enough sand?

Glenda Nagel has ordered her life just the way she wants it. She enjoys her job as editor for Getty Museum’s monthly magazine, and she has a home far away from the Los Angeles congestion and smog, as she lives in the Juniper Hills with her three cats. But then a new Director of Egyptian Antiquities is hired, and while Glenda admits that he is very handsome, she finds something strange about him. She doesn’t trust him.
I liked Glenda from the very beginning. She is smart and capable, and she’s worked hard to get to her current position. All of a sudden everything is threatened when she discovers an ivory and emerald statuette of the cat goddess Bastet. She only discovers it because Pandora, her Persian cat, takes an instant dislike to the vase it was hidden in.
It can be hard to write a convincing mystery when the reader knows from the beginning who the villain is and what he’s up to, but C. L. Kraemer manages just that. Much of the story is told from Glenda’s point of view, but we also get to know Dr. Dabir Omar Ben Rashid Yacoub Riyadh, and he is definitely a villain that I really disliked. His character is well-fleshed out and he has very few redeeming characteristics. But then we also get the viewpoint of another level of villains and the suspense builds as the reader follows Glenda’s actions. There are curses and a long history of intrigue and injustice.

The descriptions of not only the scene, but the history of Egyptian archaeology is fascinating and brings a real richness to the story. I learned things while I held my breath as Glenda faced one situation after another. The pacing is excellent and the author really keeps her readers on the edge of their chairs.
Mystery lovers are sure to enjoy this glimpse into the world of archaeology as they watch Glenda trying to stay ahead of Dr. Riyadh.


Glenda Nagel, editor for Getty Museum’s monthly magazine loves her home in the Juniper Hills and her cats. When an ivory and emerald statuette of the cat goddess Bastet makes its way to her home and sets her cats on edge, Glenda is panicked.
Who knows about his and why has the darkly handsome, new Director of Egyptian Antiquities become so determined to visit her high desert home? Doesn’t Egypt have enough sand?


Lifting the lid of the innocuous, wooden box sitting in the middle of his desk, Dabir Omar Ben Rashid Yacoub Riyadh allowed a smile to transform his bronzed features. His ebony eyes glinted as they slid appreciatively over the form resting on straw packing. Unconsciously, his tanned finger reached to stroke the artifact. He stopped, hand poised in midair, as his mind flashed to the photo of the hieroglyphics painted over the doorway of the vault posted on the internet at the Cairo museum's site. There was a warning regarding misery and eating one's self. Omar Riyadh didn't put much stock in the curses carved on crypts thousands of years ago, but recent scientific studies of the germs entombed made him cautious, nonetheless. He reached into the desk drawer to his right, and removed a pair of surgical gloves from the opened container. Slipping his hands into the milliliter thin second skin, he lightly ran a finger over the relic resting inside the box.

Gingerly, he picked up the detailed piece, jumping at the buzz of his intercom. As he felt the artifact slip from his fingers, he cursed. Inspection of the new object d'art assured him no damage had come to it. He punched the button on his intercom.

"What?" he growled.

Sharp, snapping sounds assaulted his ears. "Uhm, Mr. Riyadh?"


The popping sounds filled the air. "Uh, Dr. Burkhardt and Ms. Nagel are here."

"I'll be out in a moment; tell them to have a seat." I must speak to Miss Showers regarding her office demeanor. This gum popping will have to cease.

Omar reclosed the lid of the small box and slid the package into his bottom drawer, surgical gloves resting on the top. Bits of straw littered his desk. He looked around his office and, spying the large shipping crate sent to him by his cousin Feneku, hastily ripped open the top pulling out a clay vase, and setting it on the spot where the little treasure had sat.

He stood and straightened his tie, then opened the door to face the Director and Miss Nagel.

Karl Burkardt, Getty Museum Director, made the formal introductions.

"Glenda Nagel, let me introduce Dr. Dabir Omar Ben Rashid Yacoub Riyadh, our new Egyptian Antiquities Director. Dr. Riyadh comes to us after many years working in the Egyptian antiquities system and on several important digs in the Valley of the Kings. His last post was in the Cairo Museum.

"Dr. Dabir Omar Ben Rashid Yacoub Riyadh, allow me to introduce you to Glenda Nagel, contributing Editor to the Museum's publication, Archaeology in Today's World."

Omar extended his hand.

"Please… just call me Omar. All the other stuff has meaning only in my country. Omar is much simpler. I am pleased to make your acquaintance." He wrapped a velvety smooth, copper colored hand around Glenda's squeezing gently and gazing intensely into her turquoise eyes.

Glenda's hand tingled. Her heart skipped a beat, and breath suspended in her lungs. Slipping her appendage from Omar's, she replied, "My pleasure".

Director Burkhardt launched into Glenda's achievements droning on endlessly about her taking on the dying magazine and reviving the publication.

She felt herself flushing at the lavish compliments the Director was heaping on her.

"Please, Director Burkhardt…" Glenda dropped her gaze to the floor.

"It is well deserved, young lady. You've helped to breathe new life into this institution. As much as we would like to function without the public's help, we do need them. Your efforts have paved the way to a successful partnership."

He continued, "Now, Omar. The reason I've brought Glenda here today is, she'll be in need of your expertise, on occasion, to guarantee the information we impart to the public is correct. Please extend her all the resources at your disposal." He glanced at his watch. "If you two don't mind, I've a meeting with the Budget Committee. Can you carry this without my help?"

Both nodded.

"Good. Then, I expect to see our magazine, as well as our visitor numbers, thrive."

Turning on a heel, Director Burkhardt exited leaving the magazine editor and new antiquities director glancing nervously at each other.

Omar motioned for Glenda to take a seat.

"Please feel free to contact me at any time." He pulled a business card from the holder on his desk and scribbled something on the back. "This is my home phone. Should you have a question that arises after business hours, do not hesitate to call." He shoved the card past the vase to Glenda.

Taking the card, Glenda eyed the clay vase on the desk.

"This isn't authentic ancient Egyptian, is it?" She leaned toward the vessel and squint her eyes to take in the details.

Omar loosed a deep, baritone laugh.

Glenda felt her skin rise in goose bumps at the pleasant sound washing over her ears.

"Yes and no. All the authentic antiquities, we store in a room in the basement with monitored temperature and humidity control. We wouldn't want something the desert has preserved for thousands of years destroyed by today's harmful pollution.

"This," Omar picked up the vase, "is my cousin's handiwork and he is from Egypt. He sent it to show me what he has been creating for the tourist business he runs; in case someone decides to try to pass it off as an antiquity." Omar smiled as he replaced the vase. "His heart was in a good place."

Glenda ran a slender finger over the smoothness of the vase's surface.

"This is quite lovely. Your cousin is a talented artisan."

Omar nodded. "That, he is. I have told him he should come to America and start a pottery factory, but he loves Egypt too much to leave. He sells enough goods to own two Mercedes, and put his five children through college."

The two chuckled as Glenda continued to admire the simple designs on the pottery.

"Miss Nagel?"


"You have a question?"

"What? Oh, yes. I wanted to ask if you could direct me where to start research to verify a story one of my freelancers recently sent."

"I'll try. Can you relate what your writer has so far?"

"Well, according to his source, there was a little known Princess named, Kia, who fled to Yemen to be concealed from the sadistic Pharaoh to whom she was promised in marriage. Rumors had been leaking from unknown sources in the palace that his former queens had met Ra under suspicious circumstances. Kia's protector, and nursemaid, hired a boat for the two to flee down the Red Sea where they landed on the Yemen shores at a place known today as Al-Hudaydah. The nursemaid's family had been slowly migrating from there to the town of Ta'izz, so the pair trekked to Ta'izz. Things went well for a while. The little Princess adapted, as most children are wont to do, and seemed to be thriving in her new home. As the story goes, she contracted some unknown illness a couple months after arriving, and died very quickly. Writings, recently uncovered, indicate the Pharaoh had located the whereabouts of his young fiancé and, in a fit of rage, ordered her death along with all who had defied him by stealing her away. To keep the image of himself as a divine entity, he buried the Princess in a royal tomb telling all she succumbed to forces from the underworld. He would have saved her had she been by his side but, unable to move with enough speed, he arrived too late. He gave no one the tomb's location.

"Now, mind you, all of this had been hearsay passed from generation to generation until this point. My freelancer also sent these photos."

Glenda handed pictures taken in the tomb to Omar.

He thumbed through each pausing on the last shot.

She watched his eyes scrutinize the details.

Handing them back to Glenda, a slight smile crossed his face. "These could have been taken at any tomb in the Egypt, Saudi Arabia area; there are so many. I have heard the story you tell me. It is similar to your American fable of the Lost Dutchman's Goldmine; everyone has been told the story, and is certain they know the true location. I'll be happy to start the search in my library to see if I can, at least, verify the Princess existed. When do you need the information?"

Glenda gathered the photos and stood up. "You don't need to do this, Dr."

Omar, grinning broadly, waved a hand in the air. "It is no problem. It will help me to get my bearings here, and help a fellow employee."

She blushed, "Thank you. If I need the writer to redo the story, I'll have to get it back to him by the end of the week. Will that be enough time?"

Omar nodded.

"Thank you, Dr. Riyadh. I appreciate the time you're lending to this. I'll leave my number with your secretary if you need to get in touch."

She walked into the outer room. Nodding at the Director's secretary, she left. The new director was good looking, all right. He sent sparks up her spine, but something just didn't sit well with her. Glenda shook her head as she entered her office.

"Any messages, Amunet?"

The young woman behind the computer screen looked up. "No. How did the meeting go? Is he handsome?"

"I think I can honestly say he is the most handsome man I've ever met."

Amunet raised her eyebrows. "He can't be that good looking."

Glenda stopped and turned to her assistant. "Compared to Dr. Riyadh, Brad Pitt is homely."


"That's an understatement. I'll be in my office pulling out my hair. Buzz me only if the building's on fire. On second thought, don't. If everything goes up in flames, I won't have to worry about it." Glenda flashed a grin and closed her door. The magazine deadline was looming, and she needed a lead story with undisputable facts.

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