Friday, February 26, 2010

Penny Watson Reviews Crocodile On The Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

Dark and Stormy is thrilled to have best selling author Penny Watson visiting us from Penelope’s Reviews to share her review for Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters.

Long before I became helplessly addicted to romance novels, I was helplessly addicted to mysteries. Back in the good old days when mysteries were sometimes fun and witty and not filled with gratuitous violence and gore. The Amelia Peabody Series by Elizabeth Peters manages to encompass both of these genres quite successfully. Peters' books are a brilliant combination of archaeology and history, well developed characters and plot, and a well-crafted and well-written story line. There is drama, wit and suspense galore. 

It comes as no surprise that Elizabeth Peters actually has a doctorate in Egyptology from the University of Chicago. The larger than life setting for her mystery series (19th century Egypt) practically pops off the pages. 
            "On the east, the undulating yellow Mokattam hills formed a frame for a picture whose nearer charms included the vivid green strip of cultivated land next to the river, and, in the distance, shining like the towers of fairyland, the domes and minarets of Cairo. To the west and south the desert stretched away in a haze of gold."

The year I discovered this series (which currently includes 18 titles) was one of the greatest reading years of my life. I became so enamored with the Emerson family that I quickly devoured every book, in chronological order of course. I even dreamt about the characters! 

Crocodile on the Sandbank, originally published in 1975, is an excellent introduction to the series. The story is narrated in the first person by Amelia Peabody, the pragmatic, intelligent, and exceedingly determined English heroine. Over the course of this first book, Amelia establishes her well-earned reputation as Sitt Hakim (Lady Doctor) and an amateur Egyptologist. The self-confirmed spinster meets her match with Radcliffe Emerson, an academic explorer with a fierce temper and a penchant for swearing (ergo his nickname "Father of Curses"). The chemistry between these two characters is as good as it gets in romantic fiction. They spar, they snap, they complement each other perfectly. 

This book has everything I love--suspense, romance and a great sense of humor! There is mystery and intrigue surrounding the exploration of an Egyptian tomb and unexplained hauntings by a mummy. There are two wonderful romances that unfold in this story, involving Amelia and Emerson, and Evelyn (her companion) and Emerson's younger brother Walter. There is fabulous dialogue and banter between the characters. And there is a wonderful immersion into the world of ancient Egypt, which is highly addictive.

I am thrilled that a new installment of this series will be released in April. A River In The Sky is the 19th addition to the Amelia Peabody Series. For anyone looking for a highly satisfying and addictive series, I cannot recommend these books highly enough. 
Grade: A

And be sure to check out Penny’s best selling debut novel, Sweet Inspiration


  1. Lydia, thanks so much for the invitation to your blog. I have a feeling I am going to be rereading this entire series again. It's hard to fight the addiction!

  2. I really want to check out this series! My current novel takes place in ancient Egypt, so these books would be great "getting in the mood" reading. Thanks again for blogging Penelope!

  3. I will certainly be checking this out! ...I need a Netflix for books.

  4. Wouldn't that be perfect? I guess that would be the library - if only they'd deliver to your front door.