Name: Crocodile on the Sandbank
Author: Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Mertz)
Genre: Historical, Suspense, Romance
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In Crocodile on the Sandbank, we’re introduced to 30-something Amelia Peabody, a woman living in Victorian-era England. With her late father’s inheritance sitting unused in the bank, the fiercely independent Amelia decides to travel the world. As she will proudly tell just about everyone she meets on her journey, Amelia is not a member of the ‘helpless womankind’, but an intelligent and capable woman with a hatred of conventional dress.
As you might have guessed, Amelia and her dainty companion, Evelyn Barton-Forbes (a well-raised young lady with a stubborn-streak almost as bad as Amelia’s), eventually wind up in Egypt. There, they meet the Emerson brothers, who live and breathe everything Ancient Egypt. Soon after they arrive and make camp, the four are harassed by a supposedly supernatural creature that looks remarkably like a mummy.
The shape was amorphous. It was the height and breadth of a man, but it more resembled a white stone pillar than a human form, split at the bottom to present an imitation of a man’s lower limbs. Stiff, stubby appendages like arms protruded at shoulder height, but they were not arms; humans arms were never so rigid.
I personally love Amelia Peabody for her unfailing strength and hidden softer side. One minute she’s fighting off some peril or another with her parasol and the next minute she’s comforting a very child-like Evelyn. She takes in stride that her ‘vacation’ has been ruined and instead devotes herself to finding out the identity of this strange creature that stalks them while they sleep.
As the creature continued to haunt the tombs and things mysteriously go missing, the locals quickly turn tail and run. Elizabeth Peters expertly portrayed their fear to the point that I could almost feel it through the page. Unfortunately, she (her real name is Barbara Mertz) died in 2013 of cancer. She left behind a wonderful series that I seriously recommend you read if you’re a fan of mystery and Egyptology.
Overall, a great book.