Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book review - Crocodile in the Sunbank by Elizabeth Peters - Book 1 in Amelia Peabody series

I was looking for some humorous audio-books for my commute, and had just finished a Terry Pratchett novel (Thud).
On doing a net search, I came across recommendations for Amelia Peabody series. Hence started my journey in the life & times of Egypt in the late 19th century. I was expecting a half baked 'exotic' mummy mystery - being a bit biased against Egyptian mysteries, with a woman doing the job of a man ....
Boy, was I surprised !
Amelia Peabody is definitely a woman character, no doubt about it ! She is head strong, funny and the book is a delight to read. Her thoughts are very well captured in the 'journal' that is the source of the stories.
Her clear concise ideas about herself and how things ought to be, are sometimes so splendidly off target, and she retains the self deprecating humor to acknowledge her errors, though always a bit begrudgingly.
Fascinating interplay between her and Emerson, their chemistry is simply delightful. The huge gender divide in the late 19th century European society and the silliness of it all (in Amelia's views at least) is also very well evident.
Where the writer fails to some extent is in the mystery. Anyone with some experience of reading thrillers/ mystery would clearly be able to figure out a large plot of the plot, far before the very intelligent and perceptive Amelia is able to figure out. Hence the last few pages turn out to be a bit frustrating, in my opinion. But since this is just a part of the novel, and not the main purpose, it remains a delightful read, and a welcome addition to my collection.
PS: The audiobook is very well read & adds loads to the character as well.

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