The Amelia Peabody Mysteries, by Elizabeth Peters, is my very favorite book series of all time. I know that is quite a statement to make, particularly when there are such rivals out there like Harry Potter, but I just love them. I, along with the majority of my family, have been reading them and following the series and the author for years. I probably started reading them when I was fourteen or so and at that point there were probably eight books in the series and Ms. Peters was very good for a while at getting a new book out every Spring adding up to a total of eighteen books in the series. Until today. It has been four years and I had been very afraid that the eighteenth book would be the last as Ms. Peters isn't exactly a spring chicken these days, she has other series that she is working on as well, and the last one wasn't any kind of cliff-hanger and very well could have been left as the conclusion.
If you aren't familiar with the series, they are about British Archaeologists working in Egypt around the turn of the century. Might sound boring and historical described like that, but every Season they go out they get caught up in some exciting mystery. These books have a little of everything in them. They are murder and intrigue, romance and adventure, lovingly sculpted characters and they are hilarious to boot. Also, Ms. Peters has a PhD in Egyptology from the University of Chicago, so with all of the historical information about the locations at the time and the dates of certain discoveries, she knows what she is talking about. I was a History major, so maybe that part of it appeals to me particularly, but they really are wonderful all around.
I guess there is one more thing that I should sheepishly mention... they are the product of my biggest book crush ever. And I read a lot of books. Ramses is the name and it has really almost become a joke in my family now, "I wish you would find your Ramses"... "Have you met Ramses yet?"... What's taking Ramses so long?"... "Ramses has ruined you for real men..." Alright, so maybe nobody in my family has actually said that last one to me, but I know they are thinking it. (And it's only somewhat true- Westley from The Princess Bride is partly to blame ;) As Ramses is described in the book at one point:
He pretends to despise the gentleman's code of his class, but he is everything they claim to be and seldom are- gentle and strong and brave and honorable.
I'm not much of a swooner, but if anyone could get me to it's Ramses.
The new book, Amelia Peabody Mystery No. Nineteen, is called- A River in the Sky. It is a prequel- not of the whole series, but it comes sort of in the middle, and it is classic Amelia and I smiled through every moment of it. In my thinking, nineteen is an awfully awkward number and she might as well round out the series into a nice even twenty at this point, right? Here's hoping.