Monday, April 2, 2012

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
1988, Grand Central Publishing
Series: Book 1 of Amelia Peabody

Synopsis: Amelia Peabody, that indomitable product of the Victorian age, embarks on her debut Egyptian adventure armed with unshakable self-confidence, a journal to record her thoughts, and, of course, a sturdy umbrella. On her way to Cairo, Amelia rescues young Evelyn Barton-Forbes, who has been abandoned by her scoundrel lover. Together the two women sail up the Nile to an archeological site run by the Emerson brothers -- the irascible but dashing Radcliffe and the amiable Walter. Soon their little party is increased by one -- one mummy, that is, and a singularly lively example of the species. Strange visitations, suspicious accidents, and a botched kidnapping convince Amelia that there is a plot afoot to harm Evelyn. Now Amelia finds herself up against an unknown enemy -- and perilous forces that threaten to make her first Egyptian trip also her last...

Why read: I've never read a mystery with Egyptian archeology and found the idea intriguing.

What impressed me: I love that this book is historical in two ways - its setting being more than a century ago and its primary subject matter dealing with ancient Egypt. I loved the dual look at Egypt in both times. I really enjoyed the relationship between Evelyn and Amelia - as they are polar opposites, yet manage to bond and bring something much needed into each others lives. And I loved all the potential romance, especially how it brought a new angle into the story without compromising the mystery itself.

What disappointed me: The writing was sort of dry, feeling more like intellectual study rather than pleasure reading. Amelia is a difficult character to really get invested in as she is unconventional and abrasive given the time period. She's written that way on purpose, but how do you begin to care for someone so unemotional?

Recommended: Maybe? I really can't say one way or another until I find out if the books get better down the line.

Continue series: Yes. The first book in a series is always a little rough, but the potential cases are worth checking out another book or two.

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