Mystery Annotation - Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters


Miss Amelia Peabody is a spirited single woman of a certain age in possession of keen intellect and disposable income. Her curiosity and upbringing lead her to an interest in Egypt, and as the country is under British protection, she undertakes a journey, picking up a companion in Evelyn Barton-Forbes--the destitute, scandalized granddaughter of an earl, who has been abandoned by a lover in Italy. The two soon meet the Emerson brothers, who are excavating a site at Amarna. Not long after the ladies' arrival, a mummy appears and begins to antagonize then! Amelia can't imagine that the apparition is truly the dead revived, but how can they prove such a fact when all clues point to the supernatural?

Characteristics of mysteries:
  • Solving of a crime drives the plot: While no explicit crime has been committed by the mummy at the outset, it attempts multiple times to commit crimes and succeeds, including trapping characters in a tomb.
  • Story focuses on the investigator: The story rests solely on Amelia, as it is written from memory by Amelia two years after the events of the book. There is no bit of the story where she is not involved.
  • The frame plays a crucial role in its appeal: Egypt and the exploration of its secrets are important to the characters and their motives. The author has a Ph.D. in Egyptology, so the details are numerous and immersive.
  • As an amateur detective story, the tone is gentler: Partially because of the setting, the 1880s, there aren't explicit mentions of sex, and very little in the way of violence. Murder is talked of, but little in the way of details, and sex is mentioned, but in the most delicate and roundabout ways possible.
  • Pacing is compelling: Even as the pace isn't the fastest, it is written in a compelling manner, with cliffhangers and just enough information being fed to keep you wanting to read the next chapter. 

Shadows on the Nile by Kate Furnivall
The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif
The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders
Death at Bishop's Keep by Robin Paige
The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries by Emily Brightwell


  1. This books sounds fun, did you enjoy it? Also, I see this author a lot, is it part of a series? Full points!


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