Amelia Peabody – An Egyptian fiction by Elizabeth Peters

And in today’s breaking news – my Carola Dunn marathon has paused (after 4 and a half books…Phew!) because I think it’s a bit of overload, it’s not her, it’s me…

That doesn’t mean I have permanently abandoned my attempt to read all her “Daisy” series; I just picked up one of my old copies of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody books and yes, gentle reader, I was hooked.

I last read about 18 of these books beginning in 2004 and continuing until I had finished all those available. Another paperback episode appeared last year, but I did not quite get round to it. I then found the first one in the series Crocodile on the Sandbank and was soon plunged back into the late Victorian world of mystery (not necessarily murder, but close) solved by the redoubtable Amelia, a lady who can deploy a parasol to great effect.

When her scholar father dies, the firm minded lady is left wealthy and with a determination to visit Egypt. There she makes lifelong friends and solves the evil doing planned by a mysterious mummy. She also meets the awesome Emmerson in whom she may well have finally met her match in all senses.

Warning. This is a book set back when the British Empire was still trying to take over the world, and some of the attitudes to native Egyptians are really dated. Read these books in the spirit of the original Sherlock tales, but with a lot more humour and female determination, rather than a modern politically correct picture of Egypt and archaeology.

There are something like 18 books in this series, but I actually then jumped to number three, The Mummy Case (they are carefully listed in order in each book which is really helpful) and encountered the delightful child, Rameses. He is not always in danger, but everyone else is when he is around. Through the books the family grows, mysteries are solved and many archaeological discoveries are made. They are very funny books, as the leading characters argue, get into scrapes and generally develop into as near to real characters as you could wish for in a non literary set of books.  They are not great literature, but a form a great antidote to the heavy historical stuff I’m plodding through

( or should be).

Start with the Crocodile because that sets up the characters, and general setting of most of the books. Like any series, there are those stories which are not as good, especially later in the run, but these books are easily accessible (from all good libraries and book shops) and a good lightweight, if politically incorrect, read.