October 29, 2006


If you're looking for a good series of mystery novels with excellent characterization, you could do a lot worse than Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody books. A family of archaeologists excavating in Egypt at the end of the 19th century through the early 1920s so far (eighteen books) has adventures with tomb robbers, Great War espionage, lost oases, and more.

As I once was enthralled with anthropology and archaeology, these stories have plenty of verisimilitude for my taste, along with characters I really like. In eighteen books there's a lot of room for fleshing out the people, and Peters does it well. The first one was published in 1975; the latest in 2006.

One caution, though: read them in order. It's no fun learning that something went terribly wrong in the eleventh book when you're reading the thirteenth and you discover it was resolved in book twelve.

Posted by Linkmeister at October 29, 2006 01:09 PM | TrackBack

I have never read anything by her except the Cadfael mysteries. Which is really silly, considering how much I love them. One would assume that I would be that much more keen on reading more of her work.

I think it is some itrrational idea that reading other books by an author that writes a favorite series, somehow betrays the series that you love. I have the same problem getting into the "Flynn" novels by Gregory Macdonald. I love the "Fletch" novels and even picked up a couple "Skylar" novels, but still fear to tread in "Flynn." I think it also is a matter of not believeing that they could do another charector or series that is close to as good as the one you love. I get curious sometimes if this is a common problem or, if it's just another expression of my OCD. . .

However, since you read Terry Pratchett, I shall give this series a try. I am finaly getting through the last of Roger Zelazny's "Amber" novels - on the last one now, in fact. When I am done I will at last pick up more Peters.

Curious, do you get into much scifi, fantasy?

Posted by: DuWayne at October 30, 2006 07:12 AM

I have read a lot of sci-fi and own a bunch (see library catalog). I get on streaks where I find a specific author and devour everything he or she has written, which is what happened here.

DuWayne, you're thinking of Ellis Peters' "Brother Cadfael" stories. Those are right next to Elizabeth Peters' books on the shelves, but they're different authors (both women, however). I've never gotten into those, but I haven't tried very hard; on your recommendation, I'll try again.

I dunno about it being irrational to worry that other non-series books might not meet the standard, but you can miss a lot that way. I thought John D. MacDonald's "Travis McGee" books were excellent, but his non-McGee stories were sometimes even better, because they didn't have to fit the story around McGee's ethos.

Posted by: Linkmeister at October 30, 2006 07:50 AM

Thanks for the tip. I'm off to my local library site to see if there are any of her books available. I love a good mystery!

Posted by: cassie-b at October 31, 2006 04:38 AM