Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

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RATING: 4/5

SYNOPSIS: Amelia Peabody recently inherited a large sum of money and decided to go on a tour of Egypt with it. While stopping briefly in Rome she meets Evelyn Barton-Forbes who agrees to accompany Amelia to Egypt. There they meet the Emerson brothers, Walter and Radcliffe and end up joining them at their archaeological sight where they find a mummy in one of the tombs and possibly unleash a curse on the dig.

 

This mystery is different from most mysteries that I read because there is no murder whatsoever. It’s like a Scooby Doo mystery where people are like “There’s a mummy on the loose!” and Velma’s like “There’s no such thing as mummies.” and then they discover that the mummy was Dr. Najib the whole time. Which is a long way to say that I enjoyed this book. I loved the dynamic between Amelia and Evelyn. I liked how Amelia could tell when Evelyn was holding her own and when she really needed help because Evelyn is a traditionally feminine character and it really made my heart happy to have a non-traditionally feminine character point out how Evelyn was using her femininity in a strong way. I feel like that isn’t something that you see often in a female dynamic such as this one and this book was written in the 1970s! Although there were times when Amelia had this whole “I’m not like other girls” attitude, I did like that she didn’t find Evelyn to be stupid because she was more traditional. I also loved Walter, but that’s probably because he’s your traditional quiet, smart, romantic male lead to Evelyn’s sweet, kind, intelligent female lead. Once you meet Walter and his older brother, Radcliffe (who is referred to solely by his surname, Emerson) it’s pretty easy to tell which man is going to fall in love with which woman. Emerson and Amelia’s banter is terrific and I love that even though they only saw eye-to-eye once or twice, Emerson always respected Amelia’s opinion deep down and occasionally Amelia begrudgingly respected his. The main quartet really balanced each other out in a nice way and it allowed for action to move forward as well as not getting too out of hand. This book is set in the early years of archaeological research of Egypt, so it was interesting to see how crazy and piratical it was way back then. There is one scene where Amelia and Evelyn visit a museum in Cairo and the curator lets them take some of the jewelry found at a dig! I feel like I learned a thing or two about archaeology, especially how they try to preserve the artifacts found. Since it is set in the past there are some moments where they talk about the native Egyptians as uncivilized and other words of that nature which can be a little uncomfortable, but luckily they are few and far between. Overall the characters were fun and the mystery was predictable, but I love the writing style and can’t wait to read the other books!

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