Finished yet another in Elizabeth Peters
' Amelia Peabody, Plucky Victorian Egyptologist With Inordinately Precocious Day-Saving Offspring mysteries.
This time, it was The Snake, The Crocodile, and the Dog
and for once, the inordinately precocious offspring does not save the day, in part because amazingly, they actually went and left him behind in England this time.
There are no words to express my delight at this development. There is, however, interpretive dance:
Too bad it won't last because I'm already on the next book. But for once, Ramses' contributions to the story are actually amusing. Who knew that an ocean and half a hemisphere's separation would make the kid that much more tolerable and thus, mildly entertaining?
Anyway, this volume was a sort of callback to the very first Peabody mystery The Crocodile on the Sandbank
, with Emerson and Amelia going back to Amarna, where they first met, in part due to nostalgia and dealing with fallout from the previous book, and then for more pressing reasons as one of those improbably convenient plot devices makes them have to go through their early relationship again and thereby re-examine their feelings for one another.
A little contrived, but considering what went before, quite novel and enjoyable. Oh, and I award bonus points for the presence of "Dr. Sigismund Schadenfreude". Now there
's what the BBC likes to call "nominative determinism" in action.
Mild recommend, especially if you liked the first two books in the series, since there are a fair amount of callbacks to those adventures.
And since you could practically make a drinking game out of it:
- Redheads suspected of being nefarious masterminds: 1
- Incidents of face-slapping which demonstrate True Love: 1
- Duplicitous maybe-spy additions to the camp who are won over by their admiration of Peabody and/or Emerson: 1
- Characters making protestations of deep and affectionate non-platonic devotion to Peabody and/or Emerson (who are not themselves Peabody and/or Emerson): 1
- People who unexpectedly turn out to be other people in disguise: 1
- People who are suspected of being other people in disguise who turn out not to be those people: 1
- Shirts ruined by Emerson popping the buttons off as he removes it so that Peabody can admire his bronzed breast: at least 1
Sadly, no exorcisms this time around.
But there's a new and different demented Mary Poppins-like bloomer and parasol-wielding Amelia Peabody silhouette for the chapter headers in the library's hardcover edition. I wouldn't have thought they'd go to the trouble of designing more than one.