– Ancient Egyptian Love Poem
I first heard of Crocodile from the Sandbank from Bernadette@Reactions to Reading. I’m a novice when it comes to cosy mystery. Perhaps I don’t know any better therefore I fell in love with the one and only cosy mystery I read before this, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Series by Alexander McCall Smith. I like all things Egyptian and Crocodile from the Sandbank looks like lots of fun.
Amelia Peabody is an Egyptologist in the Victorian era. She is left with a £500,000 inheritance (a lot of money then, a lot of money now still!) after the death of her studious father, who has left her everything in his will because she is the only one of his children who shared his interests, namely history and archaeology. The inheritance enables her, with her sturdy parasol, to travel abroad, to pay for servants and lady companion, to Egypt.
On her way there Amelia rescues young Evelyn Barton-Forbes who has suitors of unsavoury character, cousin Lucas Ellesmere and Alberto, the Art teacher whom the latter abandoned Evelyn to starvation in the streets of Rome. The two women sail up the Nile and met up with the Emerson brothers – the dashing Emerson and amiable Walter who fancies Evelyn. Amelia then discovers that their little party is increased by one: an ancient mummy that walked into her bedroom one day that looks like a lively example of the dead species …..
For the first 100 pages of the book it was all about Evelyn’s various affairs of the heart with men. How each of them kept wooing for her attention and with the imminent death of Evelyn’s father, potentially Evelyn could inherit a big sum of money. Radcliffe was not particularly likeable either although the early introduction and the suffix of Amelia Peabody Emerson provides a spoiler that Amelia will soon marry Radcliffe in due time, yet the bickering and squabble between Amelia and Radcliffe is quite amusing to read. Amelia, a determined and unorthodox English female, supports women’s suffrage and believes she will never marry. Set in the Victorian time I could understand the haughtiness of Amelia Peabody and her sense of superiority with the Egyptian locals, but this and Evelyn’s affairs annoys me a little to be honest.
If anything the book title is misleading. There is no emergence of a crocodile, perhaps the bad guys are the ones figuratively speaking. “An Amelia Peabody Murder Mystery” wasn’t exactly a good description of the genre. I have problem with the word Murder. There isn’t any murder. Somebody died at the end of the book but that is because they deserved it. The plot was predictable. If it was packaged as an adventure story, I wouldn’t have felt this cheated.
Compared to Dr. Siri’s Laos and Vish Puri’s India in its rich cultural setting with reasonably good twists of who-dunit-it stories, Amelia Peabody’s Egypt lost out to them by more than 10 miles. The good thing that came out of this is that I learnt a thing or two about archaeology excavation and hieroglyph brushing technique. Unfortunately, Amelia Peabody and I don’t click. I won’t be reading the series.
I am reading this for the Mystery & Suspense reading challenge.
Paperback. Publisher: Robinson 2006, originally published in the UK 1999; Length: 306 pages ; Setting: Victorian Egypt. Source: Reading Battle Library. Finished reading on: 19 June 2011.
About the writer:
Barbara Mertz (born September 29, 1927) is an American author who writes under the pseudonyms Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels.
Barbara Mertz has a Ph.D from the University of Chicago in Egyptology, studying under John A. Wilson, which she received at the age of 23. She has written two books on ancient Egypt (both of which have been continuously in print since first publication), but has primarily written mystery and suspense novels. She has been a published writer since 1964.
Under the name Barbara Michaels, she writes primarily gothic and supernatural thrillers. The name was chosen by her publisher since she had already published one nonfiction book on ancient Egypt, and the publisher did not want her novels to be confused with her academic work. She publishes her Amelia Peabody series under the name Elizabeth Peters, a nom de plume drawn from the names of her two children.