Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters aka Barbara Mertz


Crocodile on the Sandbank

Plot: This book is the first in the Amelia Peabody Mystery Adventures written under the pseudonym Elizabeth Peters. Our heroine, Amelia Peabody is an uptight victorian feminist who discovers the wonders of Egyptian Archeology. The book begins with Amelia inheriting a fortune from her father. This financial freedom allows her to see places which she has only read about, leading her to Egypt. There she encounters the rest of the players in this mystery, Evelyn Forbes, brothers Radcliffe and Walter Emerson, and Lucas (Evelyn’s distant cousins). Evelyn becomes Amelia’s travel companion as they navigate through Egypt. Upon reaching their first stop in Cairo, Amelia and Evelyn meet the Emerson brothers, who are a pair of archeologist. Quickly a romantic love-interest blooms between Walter and Evelyn, but just as quickly Amelia and Radcliffe loathe each other. Amelia and Evelyn eventually join the Emerson at their archeological site. Although Amelia and Radcliffe do not get along, they each have a mutual respect for the others love for archeology. However, things get complicated when Evelyn’s distant cousin, Lucas, shows up unexpectedly and propose marriage to her. As the romantic entanglements develop, a mummy suddenly begins nocturnal visitations, frighting the workers and halting the excavations. Amelia is called upon to support her friend and to solve the mystery of mummy harassing the camp.

Pros: The author takes a humorous and fun tone more then scary or mysterious. She takes each of the characters to the extreme, making them humorous and silly. There is really nothing objectionable found in this book, with possibly one exception. There are references to Evelyn’s soiled reputation and a brief question about what it was like having it soiled. But I expect that unless you know what is being discussed, a young reader may miss it completely.

Cons: Its not a serious book. so if you are looking for serious book on archeology and its adventures, you have come to the wrong place. Some readers may find, particularly male readers, Amelia’s feminism to be offensive or at least distasteful. Throughout the book you will find Amelia bullying other men and making references to how women are treated as second class. I personally find this feminist trait to be a character enhancement of Amelia, but you may not.

Overall: Its a fun story and well worth the read.

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