Study Guide

The Professor in The Egypt Game

By Zilpha Keatley Snyder

The Professor

The antiques shop in the neighborhood is owned by a rather mysterious old man that everyone refers to as the Professor. Because none of the kids—or even the adults—knows anything about him, people are often afraid of him, and shy away from him.

It was all part of a mysterious uncertainty about even the smallest item of public information about the old man. Nobody seemed certain, for instance, just why he was known as the Professor. (1.3)

Hmm, scary but secretly nice old man all holed up alone…Boo Radley vibes, anyone?

The Professor's strangeness leads the neighborhood to shun him even more when the murder happens: many people have this theory that he's the killer. But in the end, the Professor is the one who calls out for help and saves April and Marshall (again, there's a real Boo Radley element to the guy).

He also reveals to the kids at the end that he used to be a real professor (hey! Like his name!) at the college, and that he's just scary because he's been depressed and alone for many years, since his wife died. But after watching them play the Egypt Game, he becomes more motivated to take charge of his life. Yes, just like the kids took charge of their love of ancient Egypt. Don't you love it when the parallels are so, well, parallel?

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