You guys know I’m a crazy reader, right? Like a stay-up-until-4-am-because-I-can’t-put-it-down kinda girl? And that I have more crushes on book characters than on celebrities? Yep, that’s me!
Well, I have a few tried and true books I always recommend when people are looking for a new read. No matter what you want in your next book, I can nearly guarantee the Amelia Peabody books will deliver. They truly do defy fitting into any one genre, though the author did win several awards from the Mystery Writers of America. This series has elements of historical fiction, mystery, humor, and romance all rolled into a thoroughly engaging storyline.
Set in the late 1800’s through World War I, the story follows the life and sometimes hilarious shenanigans of the series’ namesake, Amelia. I’m going to try very hard not to provide any spoilers because as a mystery, it kind of relies on its plot twists. Amelia, a “spinster” in her mid-twenties, has recently buried her father and much to the dismay of her brother, she inherited the rather substantial estate. She decides to take a grand journey throughout Europe and into Egypt, where British colonialism has fostered a rather rapidly growing branch of archaeology, namely Egyptology.
Her bold and no-nonsense manner both wins her friends and makes some terrible enemies as she explores sites along the Nile. But she’s really in trouble when she and her traveling companion, Evelyn, encounter a sick archaeologist named Emerson and his brother Walter. Add in visits from a mummy, plus an ill-fated kidnapping and you’ve got yourself a mystery – but certainly NOT one Amelia can’t solve!
The books are written from Amelia’s point of view as entries in her travel/dig journal from each season she spends in Egypt digging up treasures from the past and battling criminals – both Master and petty. Her sharp wit and tongue-in-cheek sense of humor will have you laughing out loud and shaking your head. And you will fall in love with these characters just as I did.
While the first books were published decades ago, the last one The Painted Queen, was just released in Aug 2017 post-humously from a “lost journal” of Amelia’s (Elizabeth Peters passed several years ago and left her last manuscript unpublished). Given the span of years Ms. Peters took to write the complete series, it’s not much of a surprise that the books were published out of chronological order. I greatly prefer to read books according to the internal timeline of the story and will always choose that order over publication dates. I’ve provided that order for you here because it takes a bit of digging to figure it out, as well as links below to each and every wonderful book.
So what about you? I’m always on the hunt for a new favorite author… Let me know your own no-fail recommendations in the comments below!
- Crocodile on the Sandbank (1884-1885)
- The Curse of the Pharaohs (1892-1893)
- The Mummy Case (1894-1895)
- Lion in the Valley (1895-1896)
- The Deeds of the Disturber (1896)
- The Last Camel Died at Noon (1897-1898)
- The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog (1898-1899)
- The Hippopotamus Pool (1899-1900)
- Seeing a Large Cat (1903-1904)
- The Ape Who Guards the Balance (1906-1907)
- Guardian of the Horizon (1907-1908)
- A River in the Sky (1910)
- The Falcon at the Portal (1911-1912)
- The Painted Queen (1912-1913)
- He Shall Thunder in the Sky (1914-1915)
- Lord of the Silent (1915-1916)
- The Golden One (1916-1917)
- Children of the Storm (1919-1920)
- Serpent on the Crown (1921-1922)
- Tomb of the Golden Bird (1922-1923)