Books by Elizabeth Peters

Elizabeth Peters was born and brought up in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. Peters was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Write


THE PAINTED QUEEN by Elizabeth Peters
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 25, 2017

"Hess (Pride vs. Prejudice, 2015, etc.) undoubtedly had a daunting task in completing the final manuscript of the late Egyptologist Peters (A River in the Sky, 2010, etc.). Fans will cherish the legacy; newcomers will be forgiven for fidgeting through the busy plot and arch humor."
The 19th installment of the adventures of an archaeological family facing a vendetta as they chase a real-life artifact. Read full book review >
A RIVER IN THE SKY by Elizabeth Peters
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: April 6, 2010

"Fans should welcome an installment significantly less convoluted than most of Amelia's adventures (Tomb of the Golden Bird, 2007, etc.)."
The Peabody dynasty finds danger in 1910 Palestine. Read full book review >
THE LAUGHTER OF DEAD KINGS by Elizabeth Peters
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 19, 2008

"An over-the-top adventure yarn whose potent brew of mystery and romance should make it another hit among the Peters (Tomb of the Golden Bird, 2006, etc.) faithful."
Munich-based art historian and amateur sleuth Vicky Bliss (Night Train to Memphis, 1994, etc.) returns after a long hiatus to answer the burning question: Who would dare steal the mummy of King Tut? Read full book review >
TOMB OF THE GOLDEN BIRD by Elizabeth Peters
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: April 1, 2006

"The political machinations are less interesting than the competition between the archaeologists and the Emerson family. As usual, though, Peters (The Serpent on the Crown, 2005, etc.) has great fun dressing her characters up in Victorian finery and outpost-of-the-empire attitudes."
By 1922, almost every Egyptologist despairs of finding another royal tomb—except for Radcliffe Emerson, who doesn't have the rights to dig where he suspects Tutankhamen lies. Read full book review >
THE SERPENT ON THE CROWN by Elizabeth Peters
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: April 1, 2005

"Peabody's Victorian rhetoric can go over the top, but her likable family's fans will find much to enjoy in an adventure less convoluted than usual (The Falcon at the Portal, 1999, etc.), salted with the obligatory tidbits of Egyptology. "
More murder and mayhem for the indefatigable Amelia Peabody and her friends and relations. Read full book review >
THE FALCON AT THE PORTAL by Elizabeth Peters
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 8, 1999

Professor and Amelia Emerson (The Ape Who Guards the Balance, 1999, etc.) are once again in Egypt, this time for the winter season of 1911, accompanied by son Ramses and adopted daughter Nefret. Amelia is busy with the wedding of her niece Lia to David, grandson of the Emersons" late, dearly loved steward Abdullah, who was rumored to possess a cache of fine antiquities. Now, it seems, scarabs (possibly fake) and other objects from that cache are in circulation, and David is rumored to be involved. He and Lia set off on their honeymoon as their friends Jack and Maude Reynolds arrive at the colony. Maude promptly falls in love with Ramses, pursuing him at every turn. Work has finally begun on the project: exploration of the Pyramid at Zawaiet el—Aryan and the Professor's focus for the season. Nefret, meanwhile, has married the Reynolds's friend Geoffrey Godwin. Already at the Pyramid there have been several frightening incidents, quickly climaxed by the death of Maude Reynolds. All this is but the beginning of a series of plot zigs and zags interspersed with lengthy domestic detail, rumors of drug dealing and rising nationalism, everything leading to a melodramatic and violent denouement that sheds little light on an ever more muddled story. Well-realized time and place; interesting, lively characters; and incomprehensible plot. Read full book review >
THE APE WHO GUARDS THE BALANCE by Elizabeth Peters
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Sept. 9, 1998

Tenth in this long-running, long-winded series (Seeing a Large Cat, 1997, etc.) finds Egyptologists Professor and Amelia Emerson, their clever, stoic son Ramses, adopted daughter Nefret, and Ramses— friend David, lovingly accepted as a member of the family, preparing to return to Egypt after a stay in London marred by a crude attempt to kidnap Amelia—engineered, in Ramses— view, by their old, elusive enemy Sethos. The Professor's officially assigned task this 1906 season is to clean out some previously opened, not very important tombs, while rival Theodore Davis has been given the exploration of what is probably a royal burial site. Soon after the family returns to Luxor, Ramses and Davis, in native disguise, go on the prowl for news of Sethos, purchasing along the way a fine papyrus scroll from one Yassuf Mahmud, then getting attacked in the process and rescued by prostitute Layla. The discovery, days later, of Mahmud's mutilated body floating in the Nile is just the beginning of a series of grotesque happenings—all sandwiched between dinner parties and a visit from Emerson's brother Walter, with wife Evelyn and their daughter Lia, who's madly in love with David, as Ramses is with Nefret (in tight-lipped silence, of course). The body count rises and so does Emerson's fury at Davis's careless handling of his very important find. There are further attacks on Amelia and fleeting appearances by Sethos. By the time the major source of evil is uncovered, it's just one more unconvincing twist in the tangled plot. The author's mixture much as before: a fun trip for readers with an interest in Egyptology; for others, a confusing, fussily written, long, long trek. Read full book review >
SEEING A LARGE CAT by Elizabeth Peters
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 10, 1997

In a triumphal procession of eight previous adventures (The Hippopotamus Pool, 1996, etc.), Peters has embellished the mythos of Amelia Peabody: early 20th-century English feminist and Egyptologist, wife to uxorious colleague Emerson, adoptive aunt and mother, respectively, to polite, Anglo-Arabic David and lovely Nephret of the red-gold hair (unconventionally desert-reared) and worried mom to daring, teenaged Ramses, hero and heartthrob in the making. This time, the Cairo digging season opens with a flurry of social invitations, including a mysterious challenge to investigate site 20-A in the Valley of the Kings—a tomb that doesn't exist. Except, of course, that it does, although the body uncovered there has expired so recently that the lady's golden curls and embroidered silks are still intact. Frustrated by etiquette and red tape, Amelia still finds evidence identifying the mummy as the several-years-dead fourth wife of Colonel Bellingham, an expatriate southern gentleman with a predatory belle of a daughter who's gone through paid companions as quickly as the Colonel has gone through young wives. What follows are attempts on Miss Bellingham's life, midnight excursions by the young folks, and Amelia's efforts to help an old friend whose husband is, thanks to the manipulations of a psychic charlatan, lusting after a dead Egyptian princess. Peters compensates for ordinary prose and fussy plotting with humor and nicely calibrated domestic psychology. Fans will follow her, if only to learn how Amelia copes with Ramses's love life. Read full book review >
THE HIPPOPOTAMUS POOL by Elizabeth Peters
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 10, 1996

Once more into the ancient tombs of Egypt with staunch 19th-century archaeologists Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe Emerson (The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog, 1992, etc.). With their powerful enemy Sethos disposed of, the Emersons—along with loquacious son Ramses and lovely young ward Nefret—are aboard their boat Amelia, moored on the Nile, as they prepare to explore the possible site of Queen Tetisheri's tomb in Thebes. The undertaking was prefaced by a strange encounter in a Luxor hotel with a mysterious stranger who talked of reincarnation, claimed to know the tomb's exact location, and died of poison in the middle of the meeting. His body vanished, to be found days later floating in the Nile. All of this the Emersons attribute to Signor Riccetti, kingpin of illicit trade in antiquities. Meanwhile, there are other evil forces to reckon with, like Abd el Hamed, a rival dealer, whose abused apprentice David, a grandson of Radcliffe's trusted helper Abdullah, comes under Amelia's wing and later proves his worth when Ramses is kidnapped. Nefret, too, is at risk, but with help from Radcliffe's brother Walter, his sensitive wife Evelyn, and Amelia's usual fearless and intuitive instinct, all ends well for everyone but the bad guys. Like many of the previous seven in this series, a wordy confusion of vile intentions, powerful enemies, dramatic rescues, excruciatingly detailed forays into the ancient past, and Amelia's cool. Fans of the latter may love it, but most readers will be numbed by the heavy-handed plotting. Read full book review >
NIGHT TRAIN TO MEMPHIS by Elizabeth Peters
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Sept. 6, 1994

When a cryptic message recovered from a dead agent hints that the thieves who plan to rob the Cairo Museum have booked passage on Galactic Tours' luxurious Nile cruise, Munich art historian Vicky Bliss (Trojan Gold, 1987, etc.) is pressed into service on the cruise on the strength of her long love-hate relationship with Sir John Smythe, the likely prince of these thieves. Sure enough, John pops up on the guest list, traveling with his mother and his bride, a slip of a girl who sends Vicky into paroxysms of jealousy. But she needn't worry: Before the end of her odyssey from Giza to Luxor aboard the Queen of the Nile and back to Cairo by any means available, John will have revealed his true colors several times over, as will the rest of the passengers and crew, most of whom — from billionaire museum donor Larry Blenkiron to Hellenic expert Alice Gordon to sexy tour director Feisal and Vicky's fawning room steward Ali — turn out to be working for either the authorities or the crooks, or both at once. In short, it's another of Peters's farcical, wildly overextended homages to Agatha Christie — if you can imagine "one of those old-fashioned English country-house murder mysteries" in which the dramatis personae keep getting shot, donning and doffing elaborate disguises, screaming and collapsing in each other's arms, and confessing machiavellian new layers of loyalties every chapter or so. Devoted fans of Peters will swallow this gooey triple-decker sundae whole, though readers not up to such heroic efforts may find themselves appreciating by contrast the finesse of such apparently artless Christies as The Man in the Brown Suit. Read full book review >
THE SNAKE, THE CROCODILE AND THE DOG by Elizabeth Peters
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 12, 1992

Victorian age archaeologists Amelia Peabody and autocratic husband Emerson Radcliffe are on yet another dig in Egypt, this time without formidable teenaged son Ramses, left hack in England along with Nefret, the young girl brought out of the desert in secret circumstances during the last expedition (The Last Camel Died at Noon). These circumstances, amid rumors of a lost oasis rich in treasure, lead before long to Emerson's kidnapping; his rescue by indomitable Amelia and ever-faithful Abdullah; and Emerson's post-rescue amnesia. None of this halts the explorations at a tomb that Amelia hopes will turn out to be that of Nefertiti. Much help a provided by philanthropist-amateur archaeologist Cyrus Vandergelt, an American somewhat smitten with Amelia. But enemies old and new abound—ambushes, attacks, and villains in disguise proliferate in exasperating confusion—until the inevitable happy ending and the defeat of all foes, including the equally inevitable Master Criminal. Bloated plot, excessive verbiage and all—but there's still fun to he had for Amelia's fans and lovers of Egyptology in the seventh of this aeries. Dare one hope for less self-indulgence and a stricter discipline in number eight? Read full book review >
NAKED ONCE MORE by Elizabeth Peters
Released: Sept. 6, 1989

More fun and games for this prolific author's flamboyant Jacqueline Kirby—ex-librarian turned romance writer-sleuth (Die for Love, etc.). This time out, she's one of several candidates for the juicy assignment of producing a sequel to Naked in the Ice, a blockbuster novel by Kathleen Darcy, who's just been declared legally dead after disappearing seven years before in an apparent suicide—the body never found. Jacqueline's new agent is smart, smarmy Booton Stokes, who also represented Kathleen, and she's eventually chosen by Kathleen's heirs to do the book. Moving to Pine Grove, the writer's Appalachian hometown, Jacqueline studies her papers, living quarters, and some sketchy notes for a sequel. She also studies Kathleen's family—half-senile mother; lecherous brother St. John; sullen sister Sherri; and sweet sister Laurie Smith. Kathleen's devoted boyfriend Paul Spencer is also still around, as is the family team of lawyers named Craig, who administer the estate. A relative newcomer to town is crippled book-store-owner Jan Wilson—an ardent Kathleen Darcy fan. In the meantime, it doesn't take Jacqueline long to discover that Kathleen had been the victim of several near-disastrous "accidents" before she vanished. A series of anonymous letters and a few accidents of her own convince her that she, too, is someone's target—one of her book-writing rivals? Or someone frightened by her relentless busybodying? Murder is done before our heroine ties up the pieces in an all-suspects-together confrontation. Motive is eggshell-thin; there's much padding (of the snapping twig, noises in the night variety), to say nothing of one of those all-knowing cats so popular in the genre. The plot, however, is rather nifty; the touch mostly light, and the entertainment level moderately high. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1988

That brilliant, flamboyant family of archaeologist-sleuths, the Emersons—robust Professor Radcliffe; feminist wife Amelia Peabody, and their young genius son Ramses—have returned to Victorian London for a few months respite from their labors in Egypt (Lion in the Valley, etc.). Comfortably housed in the town house of Radcliffe's brother Walter—but saddled with Percy and Violet, children of Amelia's thoroughly detested brother James—the Emersons are soon embroiled in some mysterious happenings at the Egyptian Room of the British Museum. A mummy housed there, the gift of deceased collector Lord Liverpool, has become a focus of superstition and fear based on the deaths of the night watchman and assistant curator Jonas Oldacre. In the meantime, near-spectral appearances by a tall, masked, and robed figure intoning prayers; veiled threats received by several Egyptologists; and newspaper accounts by journalists Kevin O'Connell and Margaret Minton add fuel to the fire. Eventually, the Emersons' sleuthing leads to an opium den, where Amelia meets an old flame of Radcliffe's, and later to Lord Liverpool's moldering ancestral mansion, now occupied by his dying son. They save the almost-victim of a dread ritual ceremony—and are saved in turn by a surprising band of rescuers. The London background lacks the exoticism that lends credibility to a bizarre plot; and Amelia's ever-increasing smugness is getting to be a bit of a bore, as are the constant, coy references to Radcliffe's virility. But Ramses is a real treasure, and to Amelia Peabody Emerson fans so, too, will be her new adventure. Read full book review >
TROJAN GOLD by Elizabeth Peters
Released: April 27, 1987

Vicky Bliss, the author's with-it art historian heroine (Silhouette in Scarlet, etc.), content in her job as assistant to Munich's National Museum director Anton Schmidt, is independent in everything but her addiction to crooked art-expert, sometime sleuth, always bigger-than-life Sir John Smythe. John is missing, presumed dead, after their last adventure, but then surfaces soon after Vicky receives an enigmatic clue to the lost gold of Troy, unearthed by Schliemann and unheard of since the fall of Berlin. That clue leads to the Bavarian mountain village of Bad Steinbach, scene of an earlier conference holiday with other museum people—Dieter Streng of Berlin, Tony Lawrence from Chicago, Jan Perlmutter from East Berlin, Elise Cellier of the Louvre. They're all there again, as well as Vicky's boss Schmidt, on the trail of the missing treasure that had, it seems, fallen into the hands of hotel-owner Herr Hoffman, now deceased. Hoffman's blonde, opportunistic widow, married to him but a few months, knows there's a treasure but not its whereabouts, and seems to be living in a state of terror. Meanwhile, Vicky suffers, de rigueur, several escapes from death, this time involving hairy mountain-roads and avalanches; she has the help of watchful protector John, while the others bumble through diverse meals and dead ends. A bit too much farce, ditto cat-and-dog byplay. Overall, the whimsy almost overwhelms the pleasure in this fast, cheerful romantic adventure. Read full book review >
LION IN THE VALLEY by Elizabeth Peters
Released: April 24, 1986

Feisty, way ahead of her Victorian time, Amelia Peabody, with brilliant, short-tempered Egyptologist-husband, Radcliffe Emerson, and their "abominably loquacious" eight-year-old son, Ramses, are digging in Egypt again (The Mummy Case, 1895)—this time at Dahshoor. Drawn into the hunt for the murderer of old foe "Prince" Kalenischeff by the appearance at their camp of chief suspect Enid Debenham, seeking refuge, Amelia recognizes the hand of Sethos—master criminal, man of a thousand disguises, and head of worldwide clandestine dealings in antiquities. Meanwhile, camp recruit Donald Fraser, hired to rein in the formidable Ramses, turns out to be Enid's longtime love, now in the process of destroying his life to save brother Ronald's good name—a noble aim turned useless when Ronald's body turns up on Amelia's desert doorstep. All this leads back to Cairo, Amelia's capture by the masterful Sethos, and her bemused, intrigued reactions on realizing that she is the madly desired object of the supercriminal's machinations. Loaded with wit, irony, Egyptian lore, Victorian mores, good-humored flamboyance and solid entertainment. Read full book review >
THE MUMMY CASE by Elizabeth Peters
Released: March 29, 1985

Fun seems to be guaranteed whenever the prolific Peters brings Amelia Peabody (Curse of the Pharaohs, etc.) back for another 19th-century mix of archaeology, comedy, and murder-mystery. This time the Victorian Wonder Woman is in Cairo, where she finds the murdered body of antiquities dealer Abd el Affi—and catches a glimpse of a likely suspect. . . who turns up later as a worker at Nazghunah, site of the latest dig for Amelia and her Egyptologist-husband, handsome and forthright Radcliffe Emerson. Could the presence of a probable killer have a link to someone in the neighborhood? Amelia considers several possibilities: a Frenchman named De Morgan is working at the nearby Pyramids of Dashoor; a menancing Copt priest is in a neighboring village—as is a Christian missionary sect headed by fanatical, unprepossessing Brother Ezekiel (an American); and hovering in the background are a voluptuous Bavarian baroness and a monocled prince. Then, however, Amelia's chief suspect is found dead, strange things are happening with mummy cases. . . and there'll be perilous tangles before Amelia exposes all. But the sleuthing here, as usual, is a minor attraction—as Peters again comes up with witty period ambience, good-naturedly ironic comedy (featuring Amelia's small son Ramses, a lovable monster of towering erudition), and a crisp sense of style that rarely flags. Read full book review >
DIE FOR LOVE by Elizabeth Peters
Released: April 24, 1984

Like Orania Papazoglou's Sweet, Savage Death (p. 20), this mystery-comedy is set at a convention of paperback-romance writers—but veteran Peters gets far fewer laughs out of the genre's foibles than newcomer Papazoglou did. Middle-aged librarian Jacqueline Kirby (The Seventh Sinner, The Murders of Richard III), in need of a tax-deductible vacation, comes from Nebraska to N.Y.C. for the frilly, silly conference. Implausibly, one of the three top writers in attendance—"Valerie Vanderbilt"—turns out to be Jacqueline's old school-chum Jean, an academic afraid of losing tenure if her pseudonymous secret is bared. So: is it Jean who murders nosy journalist Dubretta Duberstein with cocktail-party poison? Or is it super-agent Hattie, who (along with business-manager Max) is over-protective of the other Valerie—beautiful top-seller Valerie Valentine? Or is it Valentine's crazily devout fan Laurie? Well, Laurie becomes victim #2. . . so sleuth Jacqueline sets up a trap for the remaining suspects on the night of the convention's final gala. The problem here isn't so much the droopy, belabored, surprise-less plot. Far more disappointing: the bland obviousness of Peters' satire; the stiff dialogue and slow pace; and the strained characterization—especially in the case of Jacqueline herself, who's an inconsistent and oddly unappealing heroine this time out. Enough mild humor and effortful giddiness to satisfy Peters' more undemanding fans, perhaps, but Papazoglou is funnier—and far more informative about the genre-romance biz. Read full book review >
SILHOUETTE IN SCARLET by Elizabeth Peters
Released: April 12, 1983

Peters' Valkyrie-like heroine from Street of the Five Moons—Dr. Vicki Bliss, tall, blond, learned, and foolhardy—returns in another adventure revolving around the rascally, sexy John Smythe. This time Smythe has intrigued Vicki away from her curator's job in Munich to Stockholm—for a scam in which she unwittingly helps Smythe ingratiate himself with rich old Gus Jonsson. Why the interest in Gus? Because his island house sits on land believed to hold priceless ancient relics, one of which has been accidentally unearthed. Other villains are after this hypothetical treasure too, of course: Max, a master of silhouette portraits but an inept blackguard in a country setting; and Leif Hasseltine, a gorgeous hunk of Nordic manhood. . . who is either Vicki's kindred spirit or the kingpin of all the skulduggery. Eventually, then, Vicki winds up a prisoner on the island along with Gus and Smythe—but, though their rescue has some lively moments, most of this outing is so creakily farfetched that even Vicki's appeal wears thin. Not one of the talented Peters' better efforts. Read full book review >
Released: May 19, 1982

Peters' well-established comic touch verges (quite agreeably) on parody this time—as heroine Elizabeth Jones chases around Denmark in a blithe contempo-suspense flap-doodle. Elizabeth, on vacation from her publishing PR job, is blissfully winging her way to Europe for her first time. . . when, on the plane, she spots her idol: beak-nosed US/Danish countess Margaret Rosenberg, Nobel Prize-winning historian/novelist/feminist. And soon, after a mysterious airport accident involving Margaret's secretary, Elizabeth—who's been failing all over Margaret and surly son Christian—is Margaret's new, temporary assistant. (In irresistibly human, Peters-heroine style, she privately hugs herself and makes "low squealing sounds indicative of subdued rapture.") But things promptly go whacko, of course: Christian warns Elizabeth that Margaret is loony-bin material; Margaret (supposedly working on a study of Denmark's medieval Queen Margaret) disappears; a ransom note arrives, demanding "Margaret's bathrobe" (!) in return for Margaret; and when Elizabeth and Christian go to Tivoli to fulfill this ransom request, they glance at the carousel giraffe and see Margaret—who (riding sidesaddle) throws a plum, with a message inside, at Christian's face before disappearing again! Is she fleeing in terror from a gang? Is she bonkers? Who is "the very large person in the knitted cap. . . running on and off the stage like a character in a Pinter play?" Well, Elizabeth and Christian will eventually find all the answers (and love)—but not before they're abducted, chained up, sort-of tortured (by boredom), trapped on a pig farm, and led by Margaret to Queen Margaret's bathrobe. . which is stashed away, along with assorted sparklers, in a secret sarcophagus. Silly but cuddly, with Danish sightseeing as a bonus: a tongue-in-cheek charmer. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1981

Victorian maiden-lady archaeologist Amelia Peabody made a nice little debut in Crocodile on the Sandbank (1975)—but, now wed to scholar-colleague Radcliffe Emerson and the mother of formidable tot Ramses, she's in much better form, starring in a delicious mystery-adventure. The fun begins when Lady Baskerville begs the Emersons to re-open a dig near Luxor where Sir Henry B. died mysteriously—and then his assistant disappeared! So, joining a household near the Egyptian tomb-site, the Emersons size up suspects: hieroglyphics expert Karl Von Bock; US millionaire Cyrus Vandergelt (with designs on the widowed Lady B.); photographer Arthur Milverton (Sir Henry's secret heir); deranged Madame Berengaria, an unlovely lush (with her daughter Mary). And Amelia is scarcely settled in before watchman Hassan is killed, Milverton is attacked, the missing assistant turns up dead, and Madame B. gets hers too. Prolific Peters (a.k.a. Barbara Michaels, she of the occulty gothics) is at her giddy best here—complete with solid archaeological backgrounds, independent-spirited heroine, and inexhaustible high spirits. So, for mystery-comedy fans: an all-frills period charmer. Read full book review >
THE LOVE TALKER by Elizabeth Peters
Released: March 1, 1980

Peters again starts out with a likable, slightly different modern-gothic heroine—big, round-faced grad student Laurie—but this time the comedy doesn't hold up, the pacing bogs down, and the plotting slips into routine gears. Laurie and half-brother Doug both head for the Maryland homestead of their dear old rich rural kin—great-aunts Ida and Lizzie, great-uncle Ned—when Ida calls to tell them that poor eccentric Lizzie has finally gone right 'round the bend. And indeed they discover that Lizzie claims to have seen fairies in the forest—and has a strangely convincing photo to prove it. Could the fairies be for real But what about those taciturn, downtrodden teenage sisters living down the road who supposedly saw the fairies too? And could darkly sexy hired-hand Jeff, who seems too good to be true, have something to do with it all? Laurie starts sleuthing, there are the usual attempts on her life, family skeletons start a-tumbling, there's a last-minute rescue of Laurie from bondage in a cave—and there's even a happy resolution (more family skeletons) to her troublingly incestuous feelings for brother Doug. Serviceable enough by garden-variety-gothic standards, but Peters usually scampers on a higher level than that—so this is a hackworky disappointment with only a very few frolicsome Peters touches. Read full book review >
SUMMER OF THE DRAGON by Elizabeth Peters
Released: April 1, 1979

Depend on Peters (Street of the Five Moons, etc.) to come up with another no-nonsense, real-person heroine—meet pleasingly plump anthropologist D.J. Abbott. Her father is an obsessed archaeologist, her mother's hooked on Barbara Cartland, and D.J. herself is cursed with a doubly fast mouth: She'll eat anything in sight, and she doesn't know how or when to keep quiet. And there's lots both to eat and to make sarcastic remarks about when D.J. takes a summer job as resident anthropologist at the Arizona ranch of billionaire Hank Hunnicutt. Hank supports and follows every crackpot theory—Atlantis, UFOs, reincarnation—so the ranch teems with fawning charlatans whom D.J. enjoys skewering. It also teems with eligible men (two court D.J., in opposite styles); with whisperings about Hank's latest secret discovery in the desert (dragon bones? the missing link?); and with evildoers—who lace D.J.'s drinks with drugs and who finally kidnap Hank himself. The search for Hank, of course, involves seances, dowsing rods, and such—but common sense ultimately prevails. Unfortunately, however, the mystery isn't worth the fuss, the villain is easy to spot, and the whole thing takes nearly 100 pages longer than it should. So it's a mixed bag—a honey of a heroine, a turkey of a plot. Read full book review >
STREET OF THE FIVE MOONS by Elizabeth Peters
Released: April 1, 1978

Reluctantly voluptuous Vicky Bliss (previously seen in Borrower of the Night, 1973) is one of the least irritating personalities in the recent slew of lightly feminist sleuths; after all, she's "probably the only person in the whole world under thirty who knows all the words to 'Lover, Come Back to Me.'" And she quotes Thurber. So it's no pain tagging along with art historian Vicky when she heads for Rome, urged on by her roly-poly Munich museum boss to investigate a possible forgery network involving substitutes for the world's greatest pieces of jewelry. Breaking into a darkened antique shop, being abducted a few times, roaming around a palatial villa, failing for a handsome but insulting Englishman—Vicky goes through all the romance-suspense motions, but with good humor, wry comments, and blithe spirit. Read full book review >
CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK by Elizabeth Peters
Released: March 10, 1975

The period setting Miss Peters uses this time is to her advantage since she always was more then than now, and this follows in the intrepid footsteps of Miss Amelia Peabody (maiden lady) and the young woman (ex-maiden traduced) she salvages as they trip through the tombs of Egypt. With an archaeologist and some assorted others and a mummy who keeps appearing and disappearing. Here and there you might almost suspect that Miss Peters is twitting the category — in any case it's still loweroglyphics for those who barely read — anything better. Read full book review >
BORROWER OF THE NIGHT by Elizabeth Peters
Released: April 30, 1973

Independent, Liberated — she claims, Vicky and two young co-historians all end up at a castle near Rothenburg looking for a famous jeweled shrine. Shades of Conrad Veldt and the Drachenstein family — there's still an old Grafin in residence, and voices coming over the planchette, and a witch burned at the stake, and a general zu and yon in the tunnels below. More picturesque than frightening for this writer's young adult or old adult ongoing readership. Read full book review >
THE SEVENTH SINNER by Elizabeth Peters
Released: April 1, 1972

In Rome (Miss Peters writes packaged tour mysteries — this is better than her last) seven young people pursuing archaeology and known as the seven sinners become six when slightly odd Albert dies articulating the word or rather number seven. There's a' pleasant and everpresent visiting librarian who figures it all out in Roman rather than Arabic numerals. It's for the girls — young or as old as those Seven Hills. Read full book review >
Released: April 26, 1971

Breathe deeply — whether it's the joint you're smoking or all the improbabilities you're also asked to swallow in a mystery-morality demonstration of the psychoactive drugs. Carol and her boy friend Danny (he starts out on marijuana — goes on to worse) leave for Mexico where she is looking for her father. She finds him — in bad shape over the LSD death of a student — and this chainsmokes its way through portents of danger, witchcraft and the dangers of narcotics. For all the modernizing talk about Fuzz and Potions (the pill) there are older manifestations — a pale blue chiffon dress in a Grecian tunic style. Read full book review >
THE CAMELOT CAPER by Elizabeth Peters
Released: March 1, 1969

A not so brief shining moment, a return to Camelot serialized with an extended tour of the British cathedrals and a catch-as-catch can pursuit beginning when Jessica drops an antique ring she is returning to her grandfather in the collection bag at Salisbury. With David, a writer of predictable stories like this, she returns to the ancestral home-place although the Arthurian remains (the objective of her grandfather and a cousin) remain unrevealed. . . . Alas a lack of sense or much else for that other mature audience. Read full book review >
THE JACKAL'S HEAD by Elizabeth Peters
Released: June 1, 1968

Althea Tomlinson, ostensibly chaperoning a man's daughter to Luxor, actually hoping to learn why her archaeologist father died, or was killed, meets his former colleague, John (romance) and discovers an as yet unplumbed tomb in the Valley of the Kings. She's also trapped there with an unbelievable discovery of papyri, sarcophagi, jewels and. . . murderers. . . . Forget the archaeological, pause over the first syllable, don't argue with the last three, and consider it as an easy option if you need this kind of gauzy Gothic entertainment. Read full book review >