Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody Series #1)

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Overview

Set in 1884, this is the first installment in what has become a beloved bestselling series. At thirty-two, strong-willed Amelia Peabody, a self-proclaimed spinster, decides to use her ample inheritance to indulge her passion, Egyptology. On her way to Egypt, Amelia encounters a young woman named Evelyn Barton-Forbes. The two become fast friends and travel on together, encountering mysteries, missing mummies, and Radcliffe Emerson, a dashing and opinionated archaeologist who doesn't need a woman's help — or so he ...

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Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody Series #1)

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Overview

Set in 1884, this is the first installment in what has become a beloved bestselling series. At thirty-two, strong-willed Amelia Peabody, a self-proclaimed spinster, decides to use her ample inheritance to indulge her passion, Egyptology. On her way to Egypt, Amelia encounters a young woman named Evelyn Barton-Forbes. The two become fast friends and travel on together, encountering mysteries, missing mummies, and Radcliffe Emerson, a dashing and opinionated archaeologist who doesn't need a woman's help — or so he thinks.

Thirty-one-year-old Victorian gentlewoman Amelia Peabody has not only inherited her father's fortune, but she is also blessed with his strong will as well. Now she's headed for Cairo, accompanied by a girl with a tarnished past, to indulge her passion for Egyptology. Little did she know that murder and a homicidal mummy lay in wait for her.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780396070801
  • Publisher: W. Clement Stone, P M A Communications, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/1975
  • Series: Amelia Peabody Series, #1
  • Pages: 273

Meet the Author

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 Writers of America at the Edgar Awards in 1998. She lives in a historic farmhouse in western Maryland.

You can learn more at:
ameliapeabody.com

Biography

Neither the Great Depression nor the lack of a public library in her small hometown of Canton, Illinois, deterred Barbara Mertz (the future Elizabeth Peters) from becoming an avid reader. Yet, when her family moved to a suburb of Chicago, she was elated to discover the riches contained in the town's local library and proceeded to devour every book she could get her hands on. She began writing in high school; but by that time she had already decided to become an archaeologist.

Mertz received a scholarship to the University of Chicago, which boasted a world-famous Egyptology department. Her mother, an eminently practical soul, encouraged her daughter to become a teacher; but after taking only two education courses, Mertz knew a career in the classroom was not for her. Determined to follow her dream, she moved over to the university's Oriental Institute, and received her Ph.D. in Egyptology at the age of 23.

The post-WWII job market wasn't kind to women in general, much less to women seeking careers in archaeology. Mertz married and began a family, but never lost sight of her life's ambition. While she was raising her two children, she decided to try her hand at writing. Her first few attempts were never published, but they did land her an agent; and in 1964 she published her first book, Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt.

Mertz authored two additional works on archaeology before foraying into fiction in 1966. The Master of Blacktower is the first of several gothic suspense novels written under the pseudonym Barbara Michaels. (In her biography, she explains that the use of pseudonyms helps readers to distinguish various types of books written by a single author.) The supernatural elements in the thrillers penned under the Michaels name have kept readers on the edge of their seats for decades.

In the 1970s, Mertz began writing under her second, more famous pseudonym, Elizabeth Peters. As Peters, she has authored books in three different series. Beginning in 1972 with The Seventh Sinner (1972), the first series features a glamorous librarian-turned-romance novelist named Jacqueline Kirby (the final Jacqueline Kirby mystery, Naked Once More, won a coveted Agatha Award in 1989). The second series, starring American art historian Vicky Bliss, debuted in 1973 with Borrower of the Night (Vicky's last outing was 2008's Laughter of Dead Kings). Then, in 1975, Peters introduced her most famous protagonist, archeologist/sleuth Amelia Peabody, in a dandy adventure entitled Crocodile on the Sandbank.

From the first, readers loved Amelia, a plucky Victorian feminist who—together with her husband, the distinguished Egyptologist Radcliffe Emerston—has gone on to solve countless mysteries in the Middle East. Peabody fans received an extra treat in 2003 with Amelia Peabody's Egypt: A Compendium to Her Journals, a nonfiction stroll through ancient Egypt that included nearly 600 photographs and illustrations, plus expert academic articles.

In addition to her three series, Mertz has written several standalone suspense novels as Elizabeth Peters. She has this to say about her successful, prolific career: "The craft of writing delights me. It is impossible to attain perfection; there is always something more to be learned—figuring out new techniques of plotting or characterization, struggling with recalcitrant sentences until I force them to approximate my meaning. And nothing is ever wasted. Everything one sees and hears, everything one learns, can be used."

Good To Know

The pseudonym Elizabeth Peters is taken from her two children, Elizabeth and Peter. She uses three pseudonyms so readers can tell the difference between the three types of books she writes: nonfiction archaeology as Barbara Mertz, supernatural thrillers as Barbara Michaels and historical mysteries as Peters. For the record, Mertz has called the pseudonyms "a horrible nuisance."
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    1. Also Known As:
      Barbara Mertz, Barbara Michaels
    2. Hometown:
      A farm in rural Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 29, 1927
    2. Place of Birth:
      Canton, Illinois
    1. Date of Death:
      August 8, 2013

Read an Excerpt

Crocodile on the Sandbank


By Elizabeth Peters

Grand Central Publishing

Copyright © 2013 Elizabeth Peters
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4555-7235-9



CHAPTER 1

When I first set eyes on Evelyn Barton-Forbes she was walking the streets of Rome—

(I am informed, by the self-appointed Critic who reads over my shoulder as I write, that I have already committed an error. If those seemingly simple English words do indeed imply that which I am told they imply to the vulgar, I must in justice to Evelyn find other phrasing.)

In justice to myself, however, I must insist that Evelyn was doing precisely what I have said she was doing, but with no ulterior purpose in mind. Indeed, the poor girl had no purpose and no means of carrying it out if she had. Our meeting was fortuitous, but fortunate. I had, as I have always had, purpose enough for two.

I had left my hotel that morning in considerable irritation of spirits. My plans had gone awry. I am not accustomed to having my plans go awry. Sensing my mood, my small Italian guide trailed behind me in silence. Piero was not silent when I first encountered him, in the lobby of the hotel, where, in common with others of his kind, he awaited the arrival of helpless foreign visitors in need of a translator and guide. I selected him from amid the throng because his appearance was a trifle less villainous than that of the others.

I was well aware of the propensity of these fellows to bully, cheat, and otherwise take advantage of the victims who employ them, but I had no intention of being victimized. It did not take me long to make this clear to Piero. My first act was to bargain ruthlessly with the shopkeeper to whom Piero took me to buy silk. The final price was so low that Piero's commission was reduced to a negligible sum. He expressed his chagrin to his compatriot in his native tongue, and included in his tirade several personal comments on my appearance and manner. I let him go on for some time and then interrupted with a comment on his manners. I speak Italian, and understand it, quite well. After that Piero and I got on admirably. I had not employed him because I required an interpreter, but because I wanted someone to carry parcels and run errands.

My knowledge of languages, and the means which enabled me to travel abroad, had been acquired from my late father, who was a scholar and antiquarian. There was little else to do but study, in the small country town where Papa preferred to live, and I have an aptitude for languages, dead and alive. Papa preferred his languages dead. He was a devoted student of the past, and emerged from it only occasionally, when he would blink at me and express surprise at how I had grown since he last noticed my existence. I found our life together quite congenial; I am the youngest of six, and my brothers, being considerably older, had left the nest some time before. My brothers were successful merchants and professional men; one and all they rejected Father's studies. I was left, then, to be the prop of my father's declining years. As I have said, the life suited me. It allowed me to develop my talents for scholarship. But let not the Gentle Reader suppose that I was ill equipped for the practical necessities of life. My father was disinclined toward practicalities. It was left to me to bully the baker and badger the butcher, which I did, if I may say so, quite effectively. After Mr. Hodgkins the butcher, Piero gave me no trouble.

My father died, eventually—if one may use so precise a word for the process that took place. One might say that he gradually shriveled up and ran down. The rumor, put about by a pert housemaid, that he had actually been dead for two days before anyone noticed, is a complete exaggeration. I must admit, however, that he might have passed away at any point during the five hours I spent with him in his study on that particular afternoon. He was leaning back in his big leather chair, meditating, as I assumed; and when, warned by some premonition, I hurried to his side, his wide-open eyes held the same expression of mild inquiry with which they had always regarded me. It seemed to me quite a respectable and comfortable way in which to pass on.

It came as no surprise to anyone to discover that he had left his property to me, the aforesaid prop, and the only one of his children who had not an income of its own. My brothers accepted this tolerantly, as they had accepted my devoted service to Papa. They did not explode until they learned that the property was not a paltry sum, but a fortune of half a million pounds. They had made a common mistake in assuming that an absentminded scholar is necessarily a fool. My father's disinclination to argue with Mr. Hodgkins the butcher was due, not to lack of ability, but to disinterest. He was very much interested in investments, " 'change," and those other mysterious matters that produce wealth. He had conducted his business affairs with the same reticence that marked his habits in general; and he died, to the surprise of all, a wealthy man.

When this fact became known, the explosion occurred. My eldest brother James went so far as to threaten legal proceedings, on the basis of unsound mind and undue influence. This ill-considered burst of temper, which was characteristic of James, was easily stopped by Mr. Fletcher, Papa's excellent solicitor. Other attempts ensued. I was visited by streams of attentive nieces and nephews assuring me of their devotion—which had been demonstrated, over the past years, by their absence. Sisters-in-law invited me, in the most affectionate phrases, to share their homes. I was warned in the strongest terms against fortune hunters.

The warnings were not unselfish; they were, however, unnecessary. A middle-aged spinster—for I was at that time thirty-two years of age, and I scorned to disguise the fact—who has never received a proposal of marriage must be a simpleton if she fails to recognize the sudden acquisition of a fortune as a factor in her new popularity. I was not a simpleton. I had always known myself to be plain.

The transparent attempts of my kin, and of various unemployed gentlemen, to win my regard, aroused in me a grim amusement. I did not put them off; quite the contrary, I encouraged them to visit, and laughed up my sleeve at their clumsy efforts. Then it occurred to me that I was enjoying them too much. I was becoming cynical; and it was this character development that made me decide to leave England—not, as some malicious persons have intimated, a fear of being overborne. I had always wanted to travel. Now, I decided, I would see all the places Father had studied—the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome; Babylon and hundred-gated Thebes.

Once I had made this decision, it did not take me long to prepare for the journey. I made my arrangements with Mr. Fletcher, and received from him a proposal of marriage which I refused with the same good humor that had characterized the offer. At least he was honest.

"I thought it worth a try," he remarked calmly.

"Nothing ventured, nothing gained," I agreed.

Mr. Fletcher studied me thoughtfully for a moment.

"Miss Amelia, may I ask—in my professional capacity now—whether you have any inclinations toward matrimony?"

"None. I disapprove of matrimony as a matter of principle." Mr. Fletcher's pepper-and-salt eyebrows lifted. I added, "For myself, that is. I suppose it is well enough for some women; what else can the poor things do? But why should any independent, intelligent female choose to subject herself to the whims and tyrannies of a husband? I assure you, I have yet to meet a man as sensible as myself!"

"I can well believe that," said Mr. Fletcher. He hesitated for a moment; I fancied I could see him struggle with the desire to make an unprofessional statement. He lost the struggle.

"Why do you wear such frightful clothes?" he burst out. "If it is to discourage suitors—"

"Really, Mr. Fletcher!" I exclaimed.

"I beg your pardon," said the lawyer, wiping his brow. "I cannot think what came over me."

"Nor can I. As for my clothes, they suit the life I lead. The current fashions are impractical for an active person. Skirts so tight one must toddle like an infant, bodices boned so firmly it is impossible to draw a deep breath.... And bustles! Of all the idiotic contrivances foisted upon helpless womankind, the bustle is certainly the worst. I wear them, since it is impossible to have a gown made without them, but at least I can insist on sensible dark fabrics and a minimum of ornament. What a fool I should look in puffs and frills and crimson satin—or a gown trimmed with dead birds, like one I saw!"

"And yet," said Mr. Fletcher, smiling, "I have always thought you would look rather well in puffs and frills and crimson satin."

The opportunity to lecture had restored my good humor. I returned his smile, but I shook my head.

"Give it up, Mr. Fletcher. You cannot flatter me; I know the catalogue of my faults too accurately. I am too tall, I am too lean in some regions and too amply endowed in others. My nose is too large, my mouth is too wide, and the shape of my chin is positively masculine. Sallow complexions and jetty black hair are not in fashion this season; and I have been informed that eyes of so deep a gray, set under such forbidding black brows, strike terror into the beholder even when they are beaming with benevolence—which my eyes seldom do. Now, I think I have dealt with that subject. Shall we turn to business?"

At Fletcher's suggestion I made my will. I had no intention of dying for a good many years, but I realized the hazards of travel in such unhealthy regions as I proposed to visit. I left my entire fortune to the British Museum, where Papa had spent so many happy hours. I felt rather sentimental about it; Papa might just as well have passed on in the Reading Room, and it would possibly have taken the attendants more than two days to realize he was no longer breathing.

My last act before departing was to engage a companion. I did not do this for the sake of propriety. Oppressed as my sex is in this supposedly enlightened decade of 1880, a woman of my age and station in life can travel abroad alone without offending any but the overly prudish. I engaged a companion because—in short, because I was lonely. All my life I had taken care of Papa. I needed someone, not to look after me, but the reverse. Miss Pritchett was a perfect companion. She was a few years my senior, but one never would have supposed it from her dress and manner. She affected dainty frilled gowns of thin muslin which hung awkwardly on her bony frame, and her voice was a preposterous high-pitched squeal. She was clumsy; her stupidity was so intense it verged on simplemindedness; she had a habit of fainting, or, at least, of collapsing into a chair with her hand pressed to her heart, whenever the slightest difficulty occurred. I looked forward to my association with Miss Pritchett. Prodding her through the malodorous streets of Cairo and the deserts of Palestine would provide my active mind with the distraction it needed.

After all, Miss Pritchett failed me. People of that sort seldom fall ill; they are too busy pretending to be ill. Yet no sooner had we reached Rome than Miss Pritchett succumbed to the typhoid, like the weak-minded female she was. Though she recovered, she delayed my departure for Egypt for two weeks, and it was manifest that she would not be able to keep up with my pace until after a long convalescence. I therefore dispatched her back to England in the care of a clergyman and his wife, who were leaving Rome. Naturally I felt obliged to pay her salary until she was able to secure another post. She left weeping, and trying, as the carriage left, to kiss my hand.

She left a vacuum in my carefully laid plans, and she was the cause of my ill humor when I left the hotel that fateful day. I was already two weeks behind schedule, and all the accommodations had been arranged for two persons. Should I try to find another companion, or resign myself to solitary travel? I must make my decision soon, and I was musing about it as I went for a final visit to the desolate Cow Pasture which was the seat of the ancient Forum of Rome.

It was a brisk December afternoon; the sun was intermittently obscured by clouds. Piero looked like a cold dog, despite the warm jacket I had purchased for him. I do not feel the cold. The breezy day, with its alternating shadow and sunshine, was quite appropriate to the scene. Broken columns and fallen stones were obscured by tumbled masses of weeds, now brown and brittle. There were other visitors rambling about. I avoided them. After reading a few of the broken inscriptions, and identifying, to my satisfaction, the spots where Caesar fell and where the senators awaited the arrival of the Goths, I seated myself on a fallen column.

Piero huddled at my feet with his knees drawn up and his arms wrapped around the basket he had been carrying. I found the hard, cold seat comfortable enough; there is something to be said for a bustle, in fact. It was compassion for Piero that made me order him to open the basket the hotel kitchen had provided. However, he refused my offer of hot tea with a pitiful look. I presume he would have accepted brandy.

I was drinking my tea when I noticed that there was a cluster of people some distance away, who seemed to be gathered around an object that was concealed from me by their bodies. I sent Piero to see what it was, and went on drinking my tea.

After an interval he came bounding back with his black eyes gleaming. Nothing delights these gentry quite so much as misfortune; I was therefore not surprised when he reported that the "turisti" were gathered around a young English lady who had fallen down dead upon the ground.

"How do you know that she is English?" I inquired.

Piero did not reply in words; he went through an extraordinary series of grimaces to indicate a certainty so profound it requires no evidence. His eyes rolled, his hands flew about, his shoulders rose and fell. What else should the lady be but English.

English or not, I doubted that the lady was dead. That was only Piero's Latin love of the dramatic. But so far as I could see, no one in the crowd was doing anything except stare. I rose to my feet, therefore, and after brushing off my bustle, I approached the group. My parasol proved useful in passing through it; I had to apply the ferrule quite sharply to the backs of several gentlemen before they would move. Eventually I penetrated to the center of the circle. As I had surmised, no one was behaving with sense or compassion. Indeed, several of the ladies were pulling their escorts away, with comments about infection and criticism of the fallen lady's probable character.

She was so pitiful as she lay there on the cold, damp ground that only a heart of stone could have been unmoved. There are many hearts of that composition, however.

I sat down upon the ground and lifted the girl's head onto my knee. I regretted very much that I had not worn a cloak or mantle. However, that was easily remedied.

"Your coat, sir," I said to the nearest gentleman.

He was a stout, red-faced person whose extra layers of flesh should have been enough to keep him warm, without the fur-lined greatcoat he wore. He carried a handsome gold-headed stick, which he had been using to poke at the fallen girl as a lecturer in a waxworks indicates the exhibits. When I addressed him, he turned from his companion, to whom he had been speaking in an undertone, and stared at me.

"What—what?" he snorted.

"Your coat," I said impatiently. "Give it to me at once." Then, as he continued to stare, his face getting redder and redder, I raised my voice. "Sir—your coat, at once!"

I put the coat over the girl. Having assured myself that she was only in a faint, I was at leisure to look at her more closely. I was not a whit distracted by the whalelike sputterings of the red-faced gentleman whose coat I had appropriated.

I have said that I am a plain woman. For this reason I have a quite disinterested love of beauty in all its forms. I could therefore disinterestedly admire the girl who lay unconscious before me.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters. Copyright © 2013 Elizabeth Peters. Excerpted by permission of Grand Central Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 222 )
Rating Distribution

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(135)

4 Star

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(17)

2 Star

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(10)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 223 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Don't waste your money

    This novel is very badly written. The voice the author has given to the narrator, Miss Amelia Peabody, is incredibly irritating. Not only is she condescending and conceited, but incredibly BORING! I have read many other Victorian period books, and none were this obnoxious. Sorry, Ms Peters, but your main character is not likeable, and therefore readers are not vested in the story. Uggh. If you want a mystery set in the middle east, read Agatha Christie. If you want a good Victorian period piece, read Anne Perry. If you want a fun, witty, Victorian woman who is also a feminist, read Gail Carriger.

    9 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2001

    *~*One of my all time favs!!!*~*

    This is my third time reading this book that is how much I love it. I haven't read the whole Amelia Peabody series yet but that's why I'm reading this book again, so I can read it in cronological order. Like Publishers Weekly's review says 'If Indiana Jones were female,a wife and a mother who lived in Victorian times, he would be Amelia Peabody Emerson!'

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2010

    Amelia Peabody is the Queen of Egypt

    I have enjoyed the Amelia Peabody series for years (my sister has lent me her collection), although I have never owned a copy till today. That has been gladly remedied. To my sister's joy, I am on a mission to purchase the entire series for my own enjoyment. I urge everyone to read this series because one you've read the first book you will be hooked.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2004

    The Best Book to Begin with

    Once you read this book you will never be able to stop reading the Amelia Peabody series, the greatest female detective ever. This is what started my addiction.... I read and re-read this book. I can't wait for the next one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2004

    Where it all began . . .

    I picked up 'He shall thunder in the sky' (another of Ms. Peters Peabody books) on vacation last summer and fell desperately in love. I read that book twice more before finally returning home to purchase the entire series. I must say that Ms. Peters books only got better. I barely ate, slept, or really do anything until I'd finished all of the fifteen that I'd bought. The books are charming, clever, enthralling, and beautifully written. So far, I haven't found anyone who hasn't fallen in love with this wonderful series, so why wait to pick up one of the books?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2003

    Elizabeth Peters is EXCELLENT

    I had read one Amelia Peabody book and I really wanted to find out how she and Emerson met, so I picked up 'Crocodile on the Sandbank.' Little did I know that this book was to hold me hostage until I finished the last page. I enjoy it that much. I love the mystery itself, but I love how Emerson and Peabody fell in love. I always go back to my favorite parts and reread them over and over. I highly recommend this book! Ms. Peters certainly has a talent for writing literature.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    A good old-fashioned adventure

    In today's world of angsty vampires, lovesick werewolves, and teen wizards, it's refreshing to discover the Ameilia Peabody series. These books feature a good old fashioned adventure - dastardly deeds, villains, and a plucky heroine. Some readers will find them to be a bit slow compared to today's teen lit, but keep reading - they offer plenty of excitement and even some romance. They are well-written with just enough of a challenging vocabulary to actually teach you a few new words as you go. Overall, a good choice for teens and adults looking for something different.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    Really good!

    I listened to this on audiobook and was pleasently surprised. I had never heard of this work or author before. I chuckled to myself in many places and love the aserbic wit of the heroine. My only complaint was the length it took the charecters to solve the mystery, it was painful. I felt the heroine was much smarter than she was allowed to be.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2012

    Entertaining

    I have read this book before and I always find it entertaining. It's and easy read and Elizabeth Peters describes everything so that it makes you feel like you are right there. I have read all of the Amelia Peabody Series and am looking forward to reading them again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2011

    My favorite book ever

    I read this book when first printed. Rejoiced when she finally continued the series. Then talked my daughter into reading. We are both great fans. Please keep them coming.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Really, really good book!

    Ms. Peters never fails to give us a fantastically good read. Amelia Peabody makes all of us want to be married to Emerson and live in Egypt while exploring the Pyramids. Ramses is the brightest kid ever and his exploits alone can give any parent gray hair! Nefret and her beauty keeps everyone hopping. On their new dig at the tomb of Queen Tetisheri Amelia, Emerson, Ramses, Nefret and Emerson' brother and sister-in-law, plus the new governess Miss Marmaduke (who is not what she seems) all find themselves knee deep in murder, mayhem, grave robbers and ancient Egyptian curses.

    A very fun romp through the dunes and Pyramids of Egypt in a time of great exploration. A book and series to enjoy over and over.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2002

    Amelia Peabody is a stitch!

    I have only read four Peabody books so far, and all of them are great. Each book begs you to read another. But CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK is, indeed, a great book. It is funny, somewhat romantic--not really, but somewhat--and full of adventure and suspense. It is the first Peabody book and it is well worth a read. Even if you are not a great mystery reader--I, myself, am not--you are still to love Peabody. And since this is the first book in a long line of wonderful storeis, I recomend it (especially if you want to learn about how Emerson and Peabody meet).

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2002

    READ THIS BOOK

    The Amelia Peabody books are my all-time favorite series, and this is the first. This book has it all - murder, mayhem, Victorian humor, and a little romance for good measure. It's best to read these books in order, even though there are a lot (14 in April), because there are some threads throughout the series. Elizabeth Peters is a master storyteller. Her characters are wonderfully and realistically developed, and they get better with every book. You'll be hooked after the first chapter!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2000

    It was GREAT!!!

    I loved this book!! My good friend Kyrstina, who shares my interest in egyptology, and world history, recommended this book to me. She told me it had everything in it, action, humor, romance, and best of all EGYPT!! I hope others read this book and all the rest that Elizabeth Peters has written! Don't miss out on a wonderful story!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 3, 2014

    Amelia Peabody is a woman who can stand on her own two feet. She

    Amelia Peabody is a woman who can stand on her own two feet. She is smart, witty, a bit snappish, sometimes tart, always ready to tackle the situation, and knows exactly what she's about. Amelia Peabody is my new best parasol-wielding friend.

    I immediately fell in love with the way the author describes everything vividly and with the perfect personality of Amelia Peabody, spinster, lover of history and artifacts, archeologist in training. Amelia has the curiosity of a cat, the logic of Sherlock Holmes, and the delightful tact of Mary Poppins. The knowledge that the author has of Egypt (or the rest of the world, for that matter) is wonderful for the reader, because the scenes jump right out of the book in clarity. Her vocabulary is also one to speak of, and she also picks just the right word choice to give a sentence a special feeling.

    "Crocodile on the Sandbank" was so thrilling and went beyond my expectations. I can't imagine there is a whole series just like it, waiting for me to read.

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  • Posted September 23, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Slow start, thrilling mystery

    This book went off to a bit of a slow start, but it was a nice introduction to Amelia and how she came to be. I enjoy her character, she stands out in Victorian society, she’s strong willed and fiercely independent. Evelyn comes along later in the plot and she’s the complete opposite. Yet the two are fast friends and compliment each other. When the Emerson brothers are introduced, one can already come to conclusions as to who goes out with who. They make cute couples, although Amelia and her love interest was the best of the two couples (love their bantering)

    The plot itself is a really nice mixture of historical fiction and mystery. There’s elements of thriller/horror in the plot itself so as it progresses. The mystery doesn’t really start until at least a third way into the story. There is a supernatural element into the story as well, but of course, being a historical mystery, there’s a logical explanation to it all.

    The only few criticisms I have of this story is the slow pace of it, character development is fine and fills the plot in between, but it’s not until you read further into the book does the mystery intensify and become more thrilling.

    Still, it’s worth a read. Historical mystery lovers will enjoy the start of what looks like a great series. I’ll be looking for the second one to read as well.

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  • Posted June 6, 2014

    If you've always wondered how Peabody met Emerson, the answer is here!

    While I've read many of Elizabeth Peters novels following the lives of Peabody and her family over the years, I had never read the first book in the series. Now my questions have been answered in the story about how it all began. Lots of good excitement along the way to accompany the story as well! If you've read the rest, take the journey back in time with this easy read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2013

    Lovely story

    A completely believable love story filled with mummies, pyramids and sand. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2013

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    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2013

    Interesting plot and characters.

    I would read other books by this author.

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