Crocodile on the Sandbank, by Elizabeth Peters

A recently-wealthy, opinionated Victorian spinster goes on a Nile cruise with a new friend–what could possibly go wrong?

Amelia Peabody has just come into a great deal of money. As a spinster with no ties holding her down, she decides that it’s time to travel to all the places she’s ever wanted to go: Paris, Rome–and Egypt. While in Rome, she meets another woman, Evelyn Forbes, and the two hit it off–so well, in fact, that Amelia insists that Evelyn travel with her to Egypt as her companion.

Before embarking on a trip up the Nile, they spend a few days in Cairo seeing the sites (the Giza pyramids, the Cairo Museum)–and meeting the Emerson brothers, Radcliffe and Walter. Walter is a good, kind man who swiftly catches Evelyn’s eye.  Radcliffe, on the other hand, is loud, rude, and irritating; and he and Amelia don’t exactly see eye to eye. Not that it matters, because Amelia and Evelyn are off on their cruise.

They stop at Amarna, famous city of the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten, and find a pair of archaeologists working to preserve and restore the site–it’s the Emerson brothers, in fact. Fascinated by the process, the ladies decide to stay awhile and help–but end up getting far more than they ever bargained for.

With suspicious accidents happening left and right, a mummy on the loose, and Evelyn’s past coming back to haunt her, Amelia knows it’s up to her to save the day.

This is a fun one. It’s a lighthearted, thoroughly enjoyable (and informative!) mystery featuring one of the most indomitable heroines I’ve ever encountered. Amelia knows her mind (and speaks it), takes no crap from anyone, and doesn’t back down, no matter what (It doesn’t hurt that the Egyptology is dead-on–Elizabeth Peters earned a PhD in Egyptology before she became a writer, so the history and archaeology are both accurate).

Travel up the Nile with Amelia Peabody, and have a Victorian adventure unlike anything you’ve ever read before.

Favorite Line:

Men are frail creatures, of course; one does not expect them to exhibit the steadfastness of women.

Don’t read if: you have a distaste for boats, Egypt, ambulatory mummies, or tapioca pudding.


One thought on “Crocodile on the Sandbank, by Elizabeth Peters

  1. One of my all time favorite birthday gifts. Emerson and Amelia’s romance is delightful. The archaeology and historical backdrop is accurate and the mystery is intriguing.


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