Friday, July 22, 2011

43. The Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

This was an okay mystery with a great premise that got undermined somewhat by the narrative.  The premise that is so great is the heroine, Amelia Peabody, a feisty and headstrong Victorian woman, who embodies all the values of the British Empire, but is somewhat restricted by doing so in a female form.  She is really a great character and you want to read a bunch of stories with her poking her parasol at men who don't behave like gentlemen or berating poor egyptian shopkeepers who try to get one over on her.  Even better, about a quarter of the way through the book, she befriends a younger, extremely beautiful "fallen" woman and for a while I thought we were going to have a sort of Aubrey-Maturin type series, but with women.

Unfortunately, the mystery they get involved in isn't all that interesting.  It's about sabotage that goes on at a dig for Egyptian relics.  It was okay, but not mindblowing, though the interplay of the various personalities was entertaining.  Even worse, the book ends with Lady Peabody and her new friends situations both being resolved with marriage.  The series does go on, but I guess it is now Peabody and her husband, which seems okay, but, to my mind, kind of undermined the vibrancy of the original premise.  It is a well-loved series and I would be curious to hear if my concerns are wrong.  I wouldn't say no to reading another one in the series.

Why do all of the books I read have to be in series?  It's endless!

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