Street of the Five Moons (Vicky Bliss Series #2)

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Overview

Vicky Bliss, a brain with a body like a centerfold, often has a tough time getting people to take her seriously. But when it comes to medieval history, this blonde beauty knows her stuff—-and she's a master at solving mysteries that would turn the art world upside down.

Vicky gasped at the sight of the exquisite gold pendant her boss at Munich's National Museum held in his hand. The Charlemagne talisman replica, along with a note in ...

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Street of the Five Moons (Vicky Bliss Series #2)

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Overview

Vicky Bliss, a brain with a body like a centerfold, often has a tough time getting people to take her seriously. But when it comes to medieval history, this blonde beauty knows her stuff—-and she's a master at solving mysteries that would turn the art world upside down.

Vicky gasped at the sight of the exquisite gold pendant her boss at Munich's National Museum held in his hand. The Charlemagne talisman replica, along with a note in hieroglyphs, was found sewn into the suit pocket of an unidentified man found dead in an alley.

Vicky vows to find the master craftsman who created it. It's a daring chase that takes her all the way to Rome and through the dusty antique centers and moonlit streets of the most romantic city in the world. But soon she's trapped in a treacherous game of intrigue that could cost her life—-or her heart... Vicky Bliss, a brain with a body like a centerfold, often has a tough time getting people to take her seriously. But when it comes to medieval history, this blonde beauty knows her stuff—-and she's a master at solving mysteries that would turn the art world upside down.

Vicky gasped at the sight of the exquisite gold pendant her boss at Munich's National Museum held in his hand. The Charlemagne talisman replica, along with a note in hieroglyphs, was found sewn into the suit pocket of an unidentified man found dead in an alley.

Vicky vows to find the master craftsman who created it. It's a daring chase that takes her all the way to Rome and through the dusty antique centers and moonlit streets of the most romantic city in the world. But soon she's trapped in a treacherous game of intrigue that could cost herlife—-or her heart...

Author Biography:

Elizabeth Peters was named Grandmaster by the Mystery Writers of America in 1998. She earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. In addition to the Vicky Bliss mysteries, Elizabeth Peters is the author of the bestselling Amelia Peabody mysteries.

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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune
No one is better at juggling torches while dancing on a high wire than Elizabeth Peters.
Washington Post Book World
A writer so popular the public library needs to keep her books under lock and key.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
This author never fails to entertain.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380731213
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/2000
  • Series: Vicky Bliss Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Peters

Elizabeth Peters earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. She was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1998. In 2003, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Malice Domestic Convention. She lives in a historic farmhouse in western Maryland.

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

Street of Five Moons
A Vicky Bliss Novel of Suspense

One

I was sitting at my desk doing my nails when the door opened and the spy sneaked in. He was wearing one of those trench coats that have pockets and flaps and shoulder straps all over them. The collar was turned up so that it practically met the brim of the hat he had pulled down over his eyebrows. His right hand was in the coat pocket. The pocket bulged.

"Guten Morgen, Herr Professor," I said. "Wie geht's?"

Wie geht's is not elegant German. It has become an Americanism, like chop suey. I speak excellent German, but Herr Professor Doktor Schmidt was amused when I resorted to slang. He has a kooky sense of humor anyhow. Schmidt is my boss at the National Museum, and when he's in his right mind he is one of the foremost medieval historians in the world. Occasionally he isn't in what most people would call his right mind. He's a frustrated romantic. What he really wants to be is a musketeer, wearing boots and a sword as long as he is; or a pirate; or, as in this case, a spy.

He swept his hat off with a flourish and leered at me. It breaks me up to watch Schmidt leer. His face isn't designed for any expression except a broad Father Christmas grin. He keeps trying to raise one eyebrow, but he can't control the muscles, so they both go up, and his blue eyes twinkle, and his mouth puckers up like a cherub's.

"How goes it, babe?" he inquired, in an accent as thick as Goethe's would have been if he had spoken English—which he may have done, for all I know. That's not my field. My field is medieval Europe, with a minor in art history. I'm good at it, too. At thispoint it is safe to admit that I got my job at the museum in Munich through a certain amount of—well, call it polite pressure. Professor Schmidt and I had met while he was under the influence of one of his secondary personalities—a worldly, sophisticated crook, like Arsene Lupin. We had both been looking for a missing art object, and some of the good doctor's activities toward this end might not have struck his scholarly colleagues as precisely proper. No, it was not blackmail—not exactly—and anyway, now that I had been on the job for almost a year, Schmidt was the first to admit that I earned my keep. He didn't even mind my working on my novel during office hours, so long as I took care of pressing business first. And let's face it—there are few life-and-death issues in medieval history.

Professor Schmidt's eyes fell on the pile of typescript at my right elbow. "How goes the book?" he inquired. "Did you get the heroine out of the brothel?" "She isn't in a brothel," I explained, for the fifth or sixth time. Schmidt is mildly obsessed by brothels—the literary kind, I mean. "She's in a harem. A Turkish harem, in the Alhambra."

Professor Schmidt's eyes took on the familiar academic gleam.

"The Alhambra was not—"

"I know, I know. But the reader won't. You are too concerned with accuracy, Herr Professor. That's why you can't write a popular dirty book, like me. I'm stuck for the moment, though. There have been too many popular books about Turks and harems. I'm trying to think of an original example of lust. It isn't easy."

Professor Schmidt pondered the question. I didn't really want to hear his idea of what constituted original lust, so I said quickly, "But I distract you, sir. What did you want to see me about?"

"Ah." Schmidt leered again. He took his hand out of his pocket.

It didn't hold a gun, of course. I had not expected a gun. I had expected an apple or a fistful of candy; Schmidt's potbelly is the result of day-long munching. But at the sight of what emerged, clasped tenderly in his pudgy fingers, I gasped.

Don't be misled by the gasp. This is not going to be one of those books in which the heroine keeps shrieking and fainting and catching her breath. I'm not the fainting type, and not much surprises me. I'm not that old (still on the right side of thirty), but my unfortunate physical characteristics have exposed me to many educational experiences.

Let me make it perfectly clear that I am not kidding when I refer to my figure as unfortunate. I'm too tall, almost six feet; I inherited a healthy, rounded body, from my Scandinavian ancestors, along with dark-blue eyes and lots of blond hair; I don't gain weight, so the said body is slender in what are supposed to be the right places. As far as I'm concerned, they are the wrong places. All you Ugly Ducklings out there, take heart; you are better off than you realize. When people love you, they love the important things about you, the things that endure after wrinkles and middle-aged spread have set in—your brains and your personality and your sense of humor. When people look at me, all they see is a blown-up centerfold. Nobody takes me seriously. When I was younger, I wanted to be little and cuddly and cute. Now I'd settle for being flat-chested and myopic. It would save a lot of wear and tear on my nerves.

Sorry about the tirade. But it isn't easy to convince people that you've got a brain when all they can see are curves and flowing blond hair. Nor is it easy for a woman like me to get a job. Intellectual women mistrust me on sight. Intellectual men are just like all other men, they hire me—but for the wrong reasons. That was why meeting Professor Schmidt was such a break. Bless his heart, he's as innocent as he looks. He really thinks I am brilliant. If he were six feet four and thirty years younger, I'd marry him.

He beamed at me as he stood there in his spy costume, with his hand outstretched; and the object on his palm glowed and shimmered, almost as if it were smiling too.

Street of Five Moons
A Vicky Bliss Novel of Suspense
. Copyright © by Elizabeth Peters. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A keeper

    This is one of my all time favorite books. It is the 2nd book in the Vicky Bliss series, but really starts the series to me. This book has everything! It is fun to read. It is light and fun without insulting your intelligence. I consider it a mystery romance. And the series only gets better from here.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    Excellent read

    Ms. Petes' books are well crafted and excelent reading. They are a little dated, but they reflect a well-remembered part of my lifetime, so that's OK.

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