Friday, December 2, 2011

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters


Title: Crocodile on the Sandbank
Author: Elizabeth Peters
Publication Date: January 1988
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Series: Amelia Peabody, Book 1
Source: Library

Crocodile on the Sandbank is the first book in a series of historical mysteries centered around Amelia Peabody. When Amelia's father dies leaving her a sufficient inheritance, she travels to Egypt to indulge in the passion for archeology that she and her father shared. Along the way, she rescues Evelyn Barton-Forbes and they become companions on a journey down the Nile. Upon meeting up with some acquaintances on an archeological expedition, a mummy begins appearing in the night to threaten the group. Who is this mysterious mummy and does it post a threat to a specific individual or is it just trying to scare the archeologists away from their finds?

Crocodile on the Sandbank is a good book that took me too long to read due to various personal circumstances. It is full of very descriptive passages of Amelia's journey through Egypt. I loved the language that Peters used as it was so fitting for the Victorian age Amelia inhabits. However, there were times that the descriptions got a bit lengthy and I found I could only read so many pages before needing to take a break. I do think part of this inability to concentrate was due to exhaustion though so it is hard to know how much was due to the book and how much was just my state of mind while reading it.

I loved the characters in this book. Amelia is so full of fire and personality. She is an independent woman full of ideas and ideals. She is not afraid to go against convention when it suits her and she certainly doesn't mind getting her hands dirty. Evelyn seemed strong at times when interacting with Amelia but other times she was too aware of the conventions of society and concerned about how she would be perceived. Emerson and Walter were both a little harder to read even though they were so integral to the storyline.

The story itself is entertaining, although it did get a bit repetitive at times. I think this is another reason that I was only able to focus on the book in small pieces. Each time the mummy appeared, the group seemed to have the same conversations but came no closer to solving the mystery or catching the mummy. Although the book is not long at 262 pages, I think a few of the descriptive passages and repetitive scenes probably could have been trimmed to tighten it up even more.

Overall I did enjoy reading Crocodile on the Sandbank as the November selection for the Reading with Tequila Book Club. If I have an opening in my reading schedule, I would consider picking up another Amelia Peabody mystery but at this point the TBR pile and my book wishlists are too out of control for that to happen in the foreseeable future.

Have you read an Amelia Peabody mystery or any other books by Elizabeth Peters? If so, what did you think of it?



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