Archive for 'Peters, Elizabeth'
This is another entry in the Amelia Peabody/Radcliffe Emerson series. They are archaeologists and sleuths in the early part of the last century. This particular book is set in Egypt in 1922 â€“ when King Tutâ€™s tomb is discovered.
I have read most of the books in this series over the years and have always had mixed feelings about them. On the one had, the archaeological information is can be very interesting, if sometimes sparse in some of the books. Peters has a Ph.D. in Egyptology and her knowledge of the subject permeates the book and keeps you interested even if the characters and plot are lacking. I was particularly interested in the descriptions of the events surrounding the discovery of Tutâ€™s tomb, which Petersâ€™ obviously researched.
But on the other hand, the suspension of disbelief factor is so high in these books that it often ruins them for me. You know how you are reading a book and come upon something so preposterous that you start muttering comments aloud? And you have to turn to your spouse/roommate/significant and tell them just how ridiculous the author is being. Unless they have read the book they donâ€™t usually understand, but you feel so strongly about it that they agree with you just to get you to pipe down. You know how that is? Petersâ€™ books are like that. And the thing that happens on page 122 (hardcover) had me lecturing/ranting at my husband for a good fifteen minutes. Peters needed to move the plot in a particular direction and has one of her characters do something so unutterably stupid that she loses all credibility. But enough on that, I leave it for you to discover.
Another thing I like about the books is the derring-do of the characters. The books are set in the teens and 1920â€™s and the characters reflect what we would like to believe adventurers of the day were like. They have a take-charge attitude that causes them to leap onto horseback and charge off to rescue damsels in distress, hair streaming, pistols cracking â€“ you get the idea. They have a certain gaiety about them that is charming.
Unfortunately, the characters often arenâ€™t very believable. The children, in particular, are hard to accept as Peters has made them more precocious than any child actually is. The characters are all the most famous, most beautiful, most intelligent, most popular, and just generally the best at everything. Which really grates on the nerves in a book of almost 400 pages.
The characters are also sanctimonious, haughty, and self-righteous. At one point in this book, Peabody has a woman kidnapped and held for several days because she feels she knows what is best for this woman and wants to keep her safe. And Peabody is resentful when the woman bops her on the head and escapes. How rude of her to do such a thing! Later in the book, Peabody speaks of trying to teach a young boy morality and hopes it isnâ€™t too late for him. She should look to herself, first.
These books are very much a mixed bag. If you can overlook character shortcomings and ridiculous plots in favor of interesting period and archaeological flavor, by all means pick one up. If you like them, you have the advantage of stumbling into a long series.
And did I guess it? No. This book is more of a romp than a whodunit. You just go where the adventure leads you.
Mystery Book Reviews by Reviewed By Liz.com Â©2006