Sheila Ramsay is an Egyptologist, but when she meets a
specialist in pre-Columbian culture, she begins to take an
interest in the subject. Sheila works in a museum and jumps
at the chance to courier a valuable book to Mexico -- with
hopes that she can meet up with her specialist, Jeremiah
Elliot -- but the trip puts her in the middle of
international intrigue and ends up putting her life in
Author Carolyn Hart is a master at creating atmosphere. When
I think about CRY IN THE NIGHT, I think of shadowy and
oppressive nights and too-bright, colorful days. Hart's
vivid descriptions captured the look and feel of the Mexico
of my imagination; perhaps that's partly because my images
of Mexico come from a day-trip across the border in 1987 and
this novel is set in 1982.
Sheila Ramsay struck me as being a realistically strong
heroine; she's not always proactive, but she handles
everything from the titular scream in the night to a hail of
bullets at a historic site without having a complete
breakdown. The other characters are well-drawn individuals.
The mystery was compelling and kept me guessing throughout.
I call this gothic, because it really hearkens back to some
of my mom's romances that I read in the late 1970s. This has
all the elements -- a woman alone in a new place, a creepy
mansion, mysterious figures and noises in dark, and a couple
of intriguing men that bring danger and the promise of love
into her life.
I recommend CRY IN THE NIGHT for people who enjoy gothic
romances and mysteries and to readers with an interest in
archaeology and the antiquities trade.
The national bestselling author of What the Cat
Saw delivers an all-new mystery of intrigue and danger
in the shadowy world of international art theft.
Egyptologist Sheila Ramsay develops a newfound interest
in MesoAmerican affairs after meeting an outspokenâ€”and
attractiveâ€”Mexico City curator, a harsh critic of museums
that deal in stolen art. And her own museum gives her the
perfect opportunity to see him again: a valuable Aztec
manuscript needs to be returned to its rightful owners, the
wealthy Ortega family.
But things donâ€™t go as
planned for Sheila south of the border. An anonymous note
threatens her with death if she remains in Mexico City. The
curator she longed to see treats her with contempt. And the
Ortegas are as mysterious as they are charming. What Sheila
has stumbled into is much biggerâ€”and more deadlyâ€”than she
ever dreamed. And amid the splendor of Mexicoâ€™s ancient
ruins and treacherous hillsides, Sheila will realize that
thereâ€™s no one she can trustâ€¦
The first time I ever saw him, he was furious.
He leaned forward, his right hand jabbing toward us. His
words were harsh, clipped, uncompromising: â€śYou are
responsible, you and you and youâ€ťâ€”he pointed at one and then
anotherâ€”â€śfor murders and theft, pillage and bribery.â€ť
I was surprised and a little shaken at the anger I sensed
among his listeners. Though I donâ€™t know why, really.
Violence begets violence and certainly he was laying it on
â€śYou talk on the phone to an art dealer and in Guatemala a
forest guard is shot, in Greece a customs officer bribed, in
Italy the tombaroli rifle another tomb.â€ť He slammed his hand
down hard on the lectern. â€śThe reason why is you.â€ť
His vivid blue eyes glared at us.
In the space before he spoke again, I looked at him and at
his audience and saw them frozen in a moment of time.
Perhaps I sometimes see things this way because, as an
assistant museum curator, I have planned and arranged so
many exhibits, everything from dioramas to tomb
reconstructions. I never consciously decide to see anyone or
anything in a timeless way, but sometimes, unexpectedly,
everything comes to a standstill and, for an instant, I see
a scene as distinctly and three-dimensionally as if it were
carved in high relief.
It happened now.
Across the aisle, the director of a California museum smiled
slightly, his cherubic face bland and unperturbed. Smoke
wreathed gently upward from his pipe. Everything about him
was plump and satisfied and indolentâ€”his hands, the knobby
bowl of his pipe, his slightly humped shoulders. Two rows
forward, her haughty face in profile, a well-known curator
from a southern museum reddened with indignation. Her chin
lifted, her thin bloodless lips parted. She almost spoke.
But mostly, in that moment out of time, I saw him, those
electric blue eyes, that shock of straw-colored hair, the
bony face with a beaked nose and sunken cheeks. The collar
of his shirt was frayed and he had nicked under his chin
when he shaved.
As quickly as it had stopped, time moved on, the reel
turned, the Californian drew on his pipe, the southern
curator grimaced, and he began to speak again, his voice
urgent and angry.
I wasnâ€™t listening. Instead, I watched him, wondering at my
response to him.
Every woman, if sheâ€™s honest, will own to a private and
personal picture of the man she would like to meet. The
angry man standing on the auditorium stage had nothing in
common with my imagined man. That idealized portrait, though
dim and a little obscure, was surely of a more pleasant-
mannered, equable man, the kind of man who liked to walk a
spaniel in autumn woods and talk quietly over a candlelit
That portrait didnâ€™t fit this violent, iconoclastic, skinny
fighter. He would be lucky if he got out of the auditorium
without a punch in the nose, though museum curators are more
likely to fight with words than fists. Maybe. There was a
huge fellow in the left front row who kept moving
impatiently as if he would like to jump up and lunge at the
It wasnâ€™t that I wanted peace at any price. Just almost any
price. I wanted no part of quarrels, controversies, or
battles. No hassles, please. That was why, I admit it, I had
chosen to become an Egyptologist. One reason, at least.
There are few scholarly disputes over ancient Egyptâ€™s art
and history. There arenâ€™t many revisionists in the ranks.
Itâ€™s all there, as vivid and clear on limestone walls as it
was four thousand years ago. The ancient Egyptians were an
attractive people, confident, secure, joyous, supremely sure
of their place in a well-ordered world. I admired that
confidence, envied it, because I lived in a precarious,
uncertain world where you couldnâ€™t be sure the verities of
one decade would even be in the ballpark the next. I took
comfort in long settled history during the turbulent decade
of the seventies, happy to immerse myself in the past.
I was, then, orderly, reasonable, temperate. Why did I feel
an immediate attraction to an obviously intemperate,