Alice-Miranda in Egypt
By Jacqueline Harvey
Reviewed by Annaleise Byrd
Eleven years after the first Alice-Miranda book, bestselling author and former deputy principal Jacqueline Harvey has released the series’ twentieth instalment: Alice-Miranda in Egypt.
Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones, who was seven and one quarter in the first book, is now eleven and a half. Ever since she started at Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies in Alice-Miranda at School, she has been a precocious, intelligent and startlingly mature character. Always seeing the best in others, she manages to attract confidants and admiration wherever she goes—though, in this book, she is delightfully obtuse when it comes to the eager attentions of two besotted male friends. It is likely this combination of wisdom and naivety that endears Alice-Miranda both to her fellow characters and to readers of all ages.
The prologue introduces Masud, a fifteen-year-old Egyptian boy, as he learns his blood is not a match for his beloved little brother’s leukaemia treatment. Masud’s father is a tour guide preparing for the arrival of a new group: the students of the Queen’s Colours leadership program, including Alice-Miranda and her friends, who are heading to Egypt to sightsee and participate in an archaeological dig. By the end of chapter one, we also learn Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale might have to close—later revealed to be the result of a Ponzi scheme run by one of the school’s accountants.
With the stakes suitably high, the students’ Egyptian adventure begins. From hair-raising taxi rides and misbehaving camels, to nefarious politicians and stolen artefacts, the ingredients are in place for a rip-roaring read with a hearty dose of armchair travel. Of course, in between bringing down an international smuggling ring and stumbling upon ‘the most exciting find since Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter had cracked open Tutankhamen’s resting place in 1922’, Alice-Miranda and her friends are working hard to solve their school’s money woes from afar. It wouldn’t be an Alice-Miranda book without our heroine saving the day! Even Masud’s little brother gets a happy ending.
Fans of Alice-Miranda will adore this latest adventure, rich in the good-natured humour and wholesome charm that are the hallmarks of this popular series.