***Lion in the Valley
by Elizabeth Peters
Reviewed October 2, 2003.
Avon Books, New York,1999. Originally published in 1986.
Available for $7.50 in paperback on Amazon.com
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:
#6, Mystery and Adventure
The last fiction book I read, The Namesake
was very serious
and rather sad. So I was perfectly in the mood for an Amelia Peabody
mystery by Elizabeth Peters. I picked up this one, the fourth in
the series, and got exactly what I was looking for—A light-hearted, funny
and clever mystery set in the fascinating background of an 1896 archeological
expedition in Egypt. Okay, the story was a bit melodramatic in spots,
but it was a whole lot of fun.
The stories about Amelia Peabody Emerson are so wonderful because
of her character and the characters of her husband Emerson and their precocious
son Ramses. Could such a strong-minded independent woman really
have lived and worked in 1896 Egypt? I don’t know, but it certainly
is fun to watch Elizabeth Peters’ creations in action. Amelia Peabody
makes a wonderful narrator, with added humor in her absolute conviction
that her view of events and people is the correct one. Her husband
Emerson is equally strong and their interaction is hilarious. As for
their amazing son Ramses, who always gets into trouble, he’s exactly the
sort of child two such people deserve!
In Lion in the Valley,
someone attempts to kidnap Ramses,
and the next morning a dead body is found in the Emersons’ hotel.
Amelia is quick to see the hand of the Master Criminal, whom they met
in the last book, in both of these events. (Alas! Since the
first book I read was number thirteen in the series, I know the identity
of the Master Criminal. I still couldn’t penetrate all of his many
disguises, though.) Further events involve two young men both in
love with a damsel in distress and further dead bodies and excavations.
This book was precisely what I was in the mood for. I knew
what to expect from having read the earlier three books, and that was
exactly what I got. The plot was more melodramatic than some of
the others, but in all I enjoyed it thoroughly.
If you’re looking for a rollicking but cozy mystery, heavier on action
than deduction, with a fascinating background and a touch of old-fashioned
romance, the Amelia Peabody mysteries will fill the bill perfectly.
Other books by Elizabeth Peters:
Amelia Peabody Mystery #1: Crocodile on the Sandbank
Amelia Peabody Mystery #2: The
Curse of the Pharaohs
Amelia Peabody Mystery #3: The
Amelia Peabody Mystery #5: The Deeds of the Disturber
Amelia Peabody Mystery #13: Lord of the Silent
Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.