Author Elizabeth Peters takes her readers back in time to Egypt in the period surrounding World War I in her mystery series featuring the intrepid Amelia Peabody. Amelia is a free-spirited Victorian woman whose passion for archeology is matched only by that of her husband, Radcliffe Emerson. While raising a family that includes their son, Ramses, his closest friend, David Todros, and their adopted daughter, Nefret Forth, Amelia and Emerson confront a variety of villains who range from droll to deadly.
About Elizabeth Peters
Elizabeth Peters is one of the pseudonyms of author Barbara Mertz. Raised in Illinois, she received her d her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago. As Elizabeth Peters, she has authored the Amelia Peabody series, the Jacqueline Kirby series and the Vicky Bliss series. Under the pseudonym Barbara Michaels, she has written several Gothic thrillers. In 1998 The Mystery Writers of America recognized Elizabeth Peters’ contribution to mystery fiction by selecting her as its Grand Master.
Overview of the Amelia Peabody series
The Amelia Peabody series takes its protagonist from 1884 through 1922, during which time Amelia Peabody meets her future husband, the irascible archaeologist Radcliffe Emerson; marries him; has a son, Walter, whom she calls Ramses; adopts a daughter, the heiress Nefret Forth, whom she discovers in the Egyptian desert; takes guardianship of David Todros, the grandson of Abdullah, her beloved Egyptian foreman; sees David married to her niece, Lia; experiences the political upheaval of World War I; witnesses Nefret making a disastrous first marriage before finally finding happiness with Ramses; and welcomes the birth of her first grandchildren. In between these events, Amelia finds time to travel with Emerson to Egypt, where they unearth numerous bodies in Egyptian tombs – some that belong there and others that don’t.
Titles in the Amelia Peabody series
- Crocodile on the Sandbank (Book 1: 1975) On her first trip to Egypt in 1884, wealthy 34-year-old spinster Amelia Peabody finds romance with the cantankerous archaeologist, Radcliffe Emerson.
- The Curse of the Pharaohs (Book 2: 1981) Amelia and Emerson, now married, return to Egypt in 1892 to discover if Sir Henry Baskerville’s death was the result of a cursed tomb or of a very human murderer.
- The Mummy Case (Book 3: 1985) Amelia and Emerson take their young son Ramses to Egypt with them in 1894 where they first encounter a Master Criminal who deals in illegal antiquities.
- Lion in the Valley (Book 4: 1986) While Amelia and Emerson are on a dig at the Black Pyramid in Dahshoor in 1895, 8-year-old Ramses is abducted. Amelia immediately suspects the Master Criminal.
- The Deeds of the Disturber (Book 5: 1988) Amelia remains in England during the summer of 1896 to solve the murder of a night watchman who dies in front of a “cursed” mummy case at the British Museum.
- The Last Camel Died at Noon (Book 6: 1991) During an 1897 mission into the Egyptian desert to find a lost English aristocrat, Amelia and Emerson locate instead his young daughter, Nefret Forth, whom they adopt.
- The Snake, The Crocodile and the Dog (Book 7: 1992) Amelia and Emerson return to Amarna in 1898 where the Master Criminal arranges for Emerson’s kidnapping. Amelia rescues Emerson, only to discover that he has lost his memory.
- The Hippopotamus Pool (Book 8: 1996) Amelia, Emerson, Ramses and Nefret journey to Thebes in 1900 on the trail of a masked stranger who has offered to lead them to an Egyptian queen’s lost tomb.
- Seeing a Large Cat (Book 9: 1997) In Cairo to dig at the Valley of the Kings in 1903, Amelia and Emerson are warned to “Stay away from tomb Twenty-A!”
- The Ape Who Guards The Balance (Book 10: 1998) In pursuit of Sethos, the Master Criminal, Amelia and her family head for Egypt in 1907. Once there, they locate a papyrus of the Book of the Dead and solve the murder of a young woman whose body was pulled from the Nile.
- The Falcon at the Portal (Book 11: 1999) In 1911 Ramses’ best friend David Todros, newly married to Lia, Ramses’ cousin, is accused of dealing in stolen artifacts. The Emersons unite to clear his name.
- He Shall Thunder in the Sky (Book 12: 2000) The beginning of World War I in 1914 finds the Emersons in Cairo, where residents fear an imminent attack on the Suez Canal by the Ottoman Empire. Ramses becomes involved in undercover work, and his very complicated love affair with Nefret is finally resolved.
- Lord of the Silent (Book 14: 2001) Amelia and Emerson brave wartime dangers again to return to Cairo in 1915 where they once again discover the body of a murder victim in the tomb they are excavating. This time Amelia cannot blame Sethos, the Master Criminal, who died at the conclusion of He Shall Thunder in the Sky. Or did he?
- The Golden One (Book 14: 2002) 1917 finds Amelia and Emerson back in Egypt, and Ramses again recruited by British military intelligence for a dangerous assignment in Gaza.
- Children of the Storm (Book 15: 2003) 1919, one year after the war’s end, finds Amelia relishing her new status as grandmother to Ramses and Nefret’s’ twins. She continues to involve herself in crime-solving, though, this time investigating an archaeologist who disappeared along with jewelry from a dig.
- Guardian of the Horizon (Book 16: 2003) In the form of a newly discovered manuscript from Amelia Peabody, this book takes the reader back in time to 1907, when Amelia and Emerson are recruited to help Prince Tarek of the Lost Oasis keep his throne
- The Serpent on the Crown (Book 17: 2005)., Amelia and Emerson returning to the Valley of the Kings in 1922 after meeting novelist Magda Petherick, who wants them to dispose of a supposedly cursed statue she thinks caused her husband’s death. Instead, Emerson decides to track down the tomb the statue came from.
- Tomb of the Golden Bird (Book 18: 2006) Amelia and Emerson are on hand in Egypt in 1922 when Howard Carter and Lord Carnavon unearth King Tut’s Tomb. Emerson’s half-brother, Sethos, soon arrives on the scene, carrying an important military document.
- A River in the Sky (Book 19: 2010) Peters again moves the Emersons back in time, to Palestine in 1910, where they seek Major George Morley, an amateur archaeologist who plans to unearth the legendary Ark of the Covenant. Meanwhile, young Ramses encounters a German archaeologist and her companion, who kidnap him to prevent his revealing secret information.
Slideshow of the Amelia Peabody series titles
The accompanying slideshow provides cover illustrations and commentary on each of the titles in the Amelia Peabody series.
For more info:
Elizabeth Peters’ new Amelia Peabody novel ‘A River in the Sky’ among April 2010 releases
Mystery Series 101: Fact Sheet on Deborah Crombie’s Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James mystery series
Mystery Series 101: Fact sheet on Carole Nelson Douglas’s Irene Adler series
Mystery Series 101: Fact sheet on Erin Hart’s Nora Gavin / Cormac Maguire series