Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

I am finding myself more interested in mysteries lately. I am mostly interested in mysteries based in Middle Ages England. However, I just finished reading the first book in a series by Elizabeth Peters entitled Crocodile on the Sandbank based in Victorian times in Egypt. It’s worth a look.

The book is based on an English woman, Amelia Peabody, who turns out to be an amateur archaeologist and detective. She winds up in Egypt with her traveling companion Evelyn Barton-Forbes in the middle of an archaeological dig. Amelia and Evelyn team up with Egyptologist Radcliff Emerson and his brother Walter to solve a mystery involving a mummy and its attempts to disrupt the dig.

Although the book begins a bit too slowly for my tastes, it is generally a good read. The development of the characters is solid. Amelia is portrayed as a liberated woman who is intent upon doing what she wants, not what Society thinks she should do. She and Radcliff bump heads from the beginning because of their strong personalities and beliefs.

The plot has plenty of twists and turns keeping you guessing on who is behind the mummy attacks. I particularly like how Peters brings in historical artifacts in solving the mystery.

I enjoy the comic relief in regards to Amelia’s stubbornness and arrogance. She tries to control everything even in times when events are out of control. Although her character is annoying at times, by the end of the book, I found myself liking her more than I expected.

I don’t know if the other books in the series follow the same format, but I like how there was violence, but it was not explained in a gratuitous manner. I don’t think it is necessary to explain the effects of a stabbing on the human body with all of its gory details – thankfully Peters avoids this.

I would recommend this book and will keep you informed of what I think of the others in the series.


  1. My family got hooked on Peabody books years ago and I see my daughters re-re-reading them. The books go on forever but they are fun and the details are correct because Peters does have a Ph.D. in Egyptology. With each book the timeline is advancing towards Carter’s discover of Tut’s tomb.

  2. The other books follow pretty much the same format. The characters age. The kids grow up. In the more recent books Amelia is a grandmother. A good light reading family saga franchise.

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