Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
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*        = Good, with reservations


****Lord of the Silent

by Elizabeth Peters

Reviewed September 30, 2002.
William Morrow, New York, 2001.  404 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (F PET).

From the start, I was delighted with this book.  I’ve always liked the more genteel form of mystery novel, such as Agatha Christie writes.  I don’t like gritty “realism.”  Yes, I can well believe that criminals and murderers are not generally nice people, but I don’t particularly want to spend my time reading about them.  That’s the main reason I stopped reading Sue Grafton’s novels after letter “D.”

The characters in Lord of the Silent are absolutely delightful.  The main sleuth and narrator is Amelia Peabody Emerson, and Egyptologist during World War I.  Her husband is an archaeologist along with her, as is her son Ramses and his wife Nefret, who takes a turn as narrator periodically.  Both couples are very much in love.  Ramses and Nefret are devoted newlyweds.  I found it tremendously satisfying to read about happy marriages for a change.  I’ve read too many novels lately where a husband traveling a lot is a sure sign that he’s having an affair.  I’m sensitive to that, since my husband travels a lot, but it’s so much nicer to read a story with married couples who love each other and work together beautifully.  There were teasing and annoyances between them, but I believed in these nice people and enjoyed spending time with them.

I haven’t said much about the story yet, but I loved the book because I liked being among these people.  The story itself was not quite as satisfying, though still good.  The Emersons’ main strategy for sleuthing seemed to be to put themselves in a situation where an unknown bad guy would attack them.  They used this strategy several times, and always seemed surprised if the attack was more difficult than they could handle.  Still it was a good adventure story.  I think I would suggest that anyone else wanting to read this book start with some of her earlier novels.  She talks a great deal about their past adventures, and I have a feeling that they gave much away.  I want to read more of her books, but I think I’d better wait a year or two until I’ve forgotten some of the details she gives away in this one.

The setting is Egyptian archaeological digs during World War I.  Various assassination attempts and tomb robberies keep things exciting.  The characters definitely make the book.  Amelia Peabody Emerson is not your typical British lady of that time, and she has an amusing reputation with her sword-parasol.  I can’t stress enough that if you read this book, you will find yourself in good, enjoyable company.

Amelia Peabody Mystery #1:  Crocodile on the Sandbank
Amelia Peabody Mystery #2:  The Curse of the Pharaohs
Amelia Peabody Mystery #3:  The Mummy Case
Amelia Peabody Mystery #4:  Lion in the Valley
Amelia Peabody Mystery #5:  The Deeds of the Disturber

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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