Thursday, 8 November 2007

Crocodile on the Sandbank

For a person who doesn't reread much I've actually done my fair share of that this year. Here's another example, Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters.




My first reading of this book has to have been about 25 years ago. Back then I got it from a library - would have been either Newton Abbot or Barnstaple - read it, loved it, hoped there would be more, promptly forgot all about it. Until several years ago when I began to wonder if the series I was seeing and hearing about was connected in any way to that long ago book. It turned out it was and at last I got around to rereading the first one so I can read a few of the follow-ons. And there are plenty to read - eighteen I think! Ms Peters has clearly not been sitting around filing her nails.

Anyway, the story concerns Amelia Peabody, a Victorian woman of independent means. She's one of these forceful, no-nonsense women in her mid-thirties who feels herself to be plain and believes she will never marry. On her way to Egypt she rescues Evelyn Barton-Forbes, a ruined woman, and the two of them proceed on to Egypt as companions. Much skulduggery then ensues as they encounter the Emerson brothers, Radcliffe and Walter, who are in the middle of an archaeological dig. The women join them on the dig. Then a mummy makes its appearance - up to no good surely *g* - and Evelyn is pursued by said mummy, and sundry suitors, until eventually all is revealed to everyone's satisfaction.

I liked this every bit as much the second time of reading as the first. It really is great fun. Amelia is an excellent heroine with her no-nonsense approach and I like the fact that Radcliffe is every bit her match and doesn't let her walk all over him. The crime element is not that difficult to work out but that didn't worry me; it's the kind of book that's more about the characters than the plot. How many of these I'll read I'm not sure. I have several more to read here but I'm just not sure whether the quality is maintained up to book 18. We'll see how it goes.

Remembrance Day is fast approaching so I thought I'd make my reading fit the occasion. I'm reading The First Casualty by Ben Elton, which is a WWI crime story. So far it's excellent. In fact I think it might be a crime reading month for me as I also have two Book Crossing crime books by Julie Kaewert to read, and Still Life by Louise Penny from the library. This from someone who would never really call herself a crime reader.

8 comments:

Nan - said...

I listened to every single one of these on unabridged audio read by the wonderful, wonderful Barbara Rosenblat. What a joyful, excellent reading experience. I love this series like no other.

Kay said...

This book is on my alltime list of favorites. I have probably read it 4 or 5 times and have listened to it on tape and CD. I love the story of Amelia and Radcliffe and this book is such a joy as they start their love story.

DesLily said...

wow 18?! The only author I can think of that has numbers like that is Piers Anthony! lol.. I hope you like them all!!!

Cath said...

Nan: It's lovely to hear that you love the series so much. It looks like I might be reading all 18 if that's the case. LOL.

Kay: I agree it is a wonderful book and so much understated humour. I laughed quite a lot at Amelia's reactions to each crisis.

deslily: 18 is quite a lot for one series isn't it? And she also writes as Barbara Michaels I believe. A busy lady.

Tara said...

I'm not familiar with this series - but the characters sound very interesting from your description. I'm going to look into it - I love the cover too!

Cath said...

Tara: The cover art is lovely isn't it? It's such a fun book too, one to read when you need something cheerful to read. I'm certainly going to read more of them.

Nan - said...

I should have said that I do think the "quality is maintained." It is a special series because we get to see them as a couple and then as parents of quite an amazing child, Ramses. He grows up, has his own adventures, and with each book time progresses. Her last book in the series, I thought was perfectly done. (and no death, if that's something that concerns you, with main characters, as it does me) In the books where R. is older, we get to hear his words in separate passages, and as with all parents and teens, we see quite different views of the same event. Very, very wonderful books.

Cath said...

Nan: Thanks for your extra input, it's much appreciated. I'm so pleased that the whole series of books is wonderful. I like a series that progresses, where people grow and learn and, best of all, where no one *dies*. I ordered three more of the series and they arrived yesterday. Such beautiful covers - I keep picking them up and admiring them. I think that makes six that I have now, the first five and one other. I think these are definitely going to feature heavily in my 2008 reading.