Amelia Peabody

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Amelia Peabody

Post by newcastle » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:42 am

Looking for post Christmas reading, I took up the suggestion of a friend and started to read the Amelia Peabody series - with some misgivings I have to say. But I thought a crime/mystery series based in Egypt was worth a try.....and I'm glad I did as now, on the 8th (of 20) novels, I'm engrossed.

I imagine the series is familiar to many on here.

The Amelia Peabody series is a series of twenty historical mystery novels written by Elizabeth Peters. The series is centered on the adventures of the unconventional female Egyptologist Amelia Peabody Emerson, for whom the series is named, and an ever-increasing number of family, friends, allies, and characters both fictional and based on historical figures. The novels blend mystery and romance with a wryly comic tone.

The fact that Elizabeth Peters is the pen name of renowned Egyptologist Barbara Mertz (she died in 2013 - her "Black Land, Red Land" is an excellent book on the lives of the ancient Egyptians) explains why the egyptology/history content is more or less faultless in its accuracy. None of the gross errors that litter many novels with a similar theme.

The first person narrative style of Amelia takes a little getting used too! Apart from being verbose to the point of the reader wanting to slap her, she has a sense of self-worth and superiority which I can only compare to the main character, Taita, in the Wilbur Smith Warlock series.

I suspect Amelia is a character one loves ....or loathes!

The books span a thirty-nine-year period from 1884 to 1923, which coincides with the period of the British administration of Egypt after the Anglo-Egyptian War. In earlier novels, Sir Evelyn Baring, Lord Cromer, the British consul general to Cairo and de facto ruler of the country at the time, makes occasional cameo appearances. The uneasy relationship between the Egyptians and their European administrators is a running theme throughout the series, especially with regards to foreign oversight of the Egyptian Service d'Antiquities and its allowance of foreign organizations to export artifacts out of Egypt to Europe and the United States rather than keeping them in Egypt.

The series incorporates a number of prominent historical figures from the field of Egyptology as characters, including Howard Carter, William Flinders Petrie, Gaston Maspero, and E. A. Wallis Budge, whom Amelia's husband Radcliffe Emerson (renowned, if fictional, Egyptologist - "greatest of his, or any, age" as Amelia modestly asserts) considers an arch-rival (even if the feelings are not mutual). Another recurring character is that of Cyrus Vandergelt, an American entrepreneur who finances a number of archaeological expeditions in the Valley of the Kings (with little success) and becomes a close friend and confidant of the Emerson clan. The Vandergelt character is at least partly based on Theodore Davis.

Amelia herself was partly inspired by Amelia Edwards, a Victorian novelist, travel writer, and Egyptologist, whose best-selling 1873 book, "A Thousand Miles up the Nile" is similar in both tone and content to Amelia Emerson's narration. The character was also semi-autobiographical: pressures on Amelia to marry and abandon her Egyptological career in the first book were based on Peters's own experience in academia.



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Re: Amelia Peabody

Post by Cyprus100 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:08 pm

I started reading them a number of years ago..... both me and my husband were hooked on them.

Ended up buying all of the paperback series which my husband has read them all but I found by the time I got to (I think it was) the 5th book I was becoming fed up of that tiresome child and my interest dwindled. Then, I found Kindle and I haven't picked up a paperback book since. I do have all the Kindle versions but I've still not got back to the series. However, now we have another Nile cruise booked, who knows - I may just dip my toe in the water again. It's at least 6yrs since I last picked up an Amelia Peabody.
Michele,
Previously living in Limassol, Cyprus but now back in UK since 2016 :-(
Egypt is now so far away....

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Re: Amelia Peabody

Post by newcastle » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:48 pm

Cyprus100 wrote:I started reading them a number of years ago..... both me and my husband were hooked on them.

Ended up buying all of the paperback series which my husband has read them all but I found by the time I got to (I think it was) the 5th book I was becoming fed up of that tiresome child and my interest dwindled. Then, I found Kindle and I haven't picked up a paperback book since. I do have all the Kindle versions but I've still not got back to the series. However, now we have another Nile cruise booked, who knows - I may just dip my toe in the water again. It's at least 6yrs since I last picked up an Amelia Peabody.
I recommend you persist. A Nile cruise seems the ideal venue!

Ramses (the precocious son) does seem to mature with time. He's almost normal by Book 8 :lol:

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Re: Amelia Peabody

Post by carrie » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:39 am

Ramses never becomes "normal" and the hubby, well! I do enjoy the books though.

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Re: Amelia Peabody

Post by newcastle » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:56 am

Strange as it may seem, I find it easy to relate to characters who can fill a paragraph with dialogue when two words might suffice ;)

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Re: Amelia Peabody

Post by Cyprus100 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 4:23 pm

We somehow lost the first paperback book in the series, only recently discovered after my husband suddenly decided he would like to read it again whilst we're floating down the Nile from Luxor towards Aswan in a few days time.

Luckily, I managed to obtain a "used" copy from Amazon so his series of 20 books is still complete.
Meanwhile, I think I've worked out I'm up to book 6 "The Last Camel Died At Noon" so it's queued up on my Kindle, just in case I decide to follow suit....

Roll on that wall to wall sunshine! We can't wait to return to Egypt :-)
We've had some very nice weather here in the UK over the last 7 - 10 days or so but now it's turned cooler and cloudy again, back to normal. I actually managed to don a pair of shorts on 2 occasions and sit sunbathing in the back garden.

Even the people at the ferry jetty at the top of our street were pondering on the apparition of blue skies over the recent bank holiday weekend:
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Michele,
Previously living in Limassol, Cyprus but now back in UK since 2016 :-(
Egypt is now so far away....

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Re: Amelia Peabody

Post by Winged Isis » Sun Jun 03, 2018 2:11 am

I couldn't get into them after a few. Found them a bit silly because of the characters, despite being an avid murder mystery fan.

If you like historical mystery series, try the Didius Marco Falco series by Lindsey Davis. Not Egyptian but Roman, after the 'Year of the Four Emperors' (Vespasian's rule). The first one or two were bit pedantic about the historic details, but they lighten up after that. Some are set in England.
Carpe diem! :le:

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Re: Amelia Peabody

Post by Winged Isis » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:27 am

Sorry, that should be Marcus.
Carpe diem! :le: