In January I read crime books for my 12 in 12 Challenge. Book 14 of that month was Deeds of the Disturber by Elizabeth Peters which was part of her Amelia Peabody crime series featuring a Victorian archaeologist and her family who regularly encounter crime and criminals in their work. You can read my opinion of that book here. Progressing with my reread of this series brought me to The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog which is book 6 of this month’s 12 in 12 Challenge.
I have given my reasons before about why I really enjoy this series. It is an historical, cosy crime series of novels with a strong narrative voice – it is told in the first person by Amelia herself. In this instalment Amelia is fed up and bored because she feels that marriage is missing its passion and the family cannot visit Egypt this year because she is caring for her new, adopted daughter (you need to read The Last Camel Died at Noon for the story behind that). Fortuitously, Amelia and her husband Emerson have the opportunity to travel to Egypt together after all and then events happen with increasing rapidity.
One of the main storylines in this book involves Emerson suffering from amnesia. I really don’t like how often amnesia is used as a plot device in crime novels but the author uses it here to enable Emerson and Amelia to refresh their marriage and appreciate one another again. The rest of the plot concerns attempted kidnapping and murder as various evil doers try and find the location of a lost oasis. It is no spoiler to say that Amelia triumphs – she would have it no other way.
You must never take these books too seriously; they are intended as light entertainment. The author, however, knows her Egyptology and her history so the setting is pretty accurate. Emerson and Amelia are exaggerated versions of people we might know but for all the humour in the book there is also a lot of tenderness, especially around their marriage.
If you haven’t tried this series I highly recommend it and I suggest that you start with Crocodile on the Sandbank which is the first. The books are amusing and entertaining and the writing just eases you along. Amelia is a brilliant creation and her narrative and her view of the world is consistent throughout the books and makes her a captivating character.
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