by Elizabeth Peters
Published 1986, 1988
Amelia Peabody Emerson is back, with husband and son in tow. I have actually really been enjoying these unique mysteries. The setting is just so random – 1890’s Egypt?? – and Amelia, for the most part, makes an entertaining and intelligent narrator. Because she makes no secret of the fact that she believes her writing may be published after her death, the whole fact that she’s writing the story makes sense. (Frequently, my problem with first-person writing is the constant nagging in the back of my mind – to whom is this person talking!?!? but Amelia is actually writing to the world, and she knows it, and everything flows well because of it.
The Lion in Valley (although I forgot to take a picture of it) was an intriguing mystery, although the book as a whole was not a favorite of mine, mostly because of religion. Throughout the series, Emerson makes no secret of the fact that he thinks all religion is hogwash, which is fine. However, especially in Lion, the was a constant insistence that all religion is hooey, and, consequently, that it doesn’t matter if one is a Muslem or a Christian or whatever. I don’t believe that, and I can’t think that most Moslems do, either. Religion is, by nature, somewhat exclusionary. While I believe that you have the right to believe whatever you want to believe, I naturally think that my beliefs are the correct ones … else, they wouldn’t by my beliefs! And so, Emerson’s unnecessary lumping together and insulting of religion did begin to wear on my nerves after a while.
Deeds of the Disturber took a twist by being set in London. Home for the season, the Emersons are hoping to catch up on their writing. Unfortunately, the Museum in London is being “haunted” – by the priest of a mummy. This was probably my least favorite of all the mysteries so far. The story was quite far-fetched, the conclusion completely bizarre, and just – it was weird. And a bit confusing.
There was also a whole side story where Amelia’s nephew and niece were staying with them. Throughout the story, it was painfully obvious that Ramses was being bullied and tormented by both siblings, but Amelia and Emerson were so caught up in their mystery that they didn’t notice what was going on. While Ramses chatter has annoyed me in past books, it was more frustrating to hear him incessantly cut off by parents who assumed that they already knew what he was going to say. While everything was clear in the end and relationships restored, it was hard for me to get into the mystery when I was so distressed by Ramses’s situation.
Still, on the whole, the series is good and I have been enjoying the stories. I’m reading the next in the series, The Last Camel Died at Noon, right now, and am quite enjoying it, so hopefully I will have some more good reviews to report soon!
PS It appears that that lack of a picture has confused me for sure! I just realized that I already mention Lion in the Valley in my last post on the series. Whoops!