Monday 20 July 2020

The Mummy Smugglers of Crumblin Castle

A chance visit to a small museum in Macclesfield, England, and an encounter with the ancient Egyptian  mummycase of a 15-year-old girl named Shebmut, led to author Pamela Rushby’s latest novel, The Mummy Smugglers of Crumblin Castle (Walker Books, July 2020).

Shebmut’s mummycase was smuggled, totally illegally, out of Egypt in 1873 by an English lady adventurer on the Nile, Miss Marianne Brocklehurst. It can still be seen today in the museum that she founded. Miss Brocklehurst acquired the mummycase in the course of a one-thousand-mile journey up the Nile on a dahhabiya – a fashionable excursion at the time.

Rushby’s interest in this story led to her discovering another fashionable, and rather bizarre, Victorian social event. Afternoon tea parties where, for the entertainment of guests, an ancient Egyptian mummy would be divested of its wrappings, to reveal the body beneath.

And when you have that kind of information at your fingertips, what do you do with it? You put it all together and write a book, of course!

The Mummy Smugglers of Crumblin Castle is a middle-grade novel: a thrilling tale of an orphaned heroine, a mysterious mist-shrouded castle in the Fens, mummy unwrapping parties, a family of house-keeping cats, and a thousand-mile journey up the Nile in (illegal) search of ancient Egyptian mummies.

Pamela Rushby was awarded a writers’ residency in England to research the book: visited the West Park Museum in Macclesfield, haunted the British Museum mummy room and the Petrie Museum, University College London, and generally had (as they say) about as much fun as it’s possible to have with your clothes on. She’d be delighted to talk about the fascinating details of Victorian mummy unwrapping parties, intrepid lady adventurers on the Nile, all things ancient Egyptian – and, of course, the book!

(Published by Walker Books July 2020, illustrations by Nelle May Pierce)

For interview or further information: Pamela Rushby      0418778058

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