Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1)” as Want to Read:
Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  37,765 ratings  ·  2,556 reviews
Set in 1884, this is the first installment in what has become a beloved bestselling series. At thirty-two, strong-willed Amelia Peabody, a self-proclaimed spinster, decides to use her ample inheritance to indulge her passion, Egyptology. On her way to Egypt, Amelia encounters a young woman named Evelyn Barton-Forbes. The two become fast friends and travel on together, enco ...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published 1988 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1975)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Crocodile on the Sandbank, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Crocodile on the Sandbank

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithCrocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth PetersThe Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha ChristieChocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne FlukeA is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
Cozy Mystery Series
2nd out of 622 books — 1,720 voters
The Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Alienist by Caleb CarrThe Historian by Elizabeth KostovaThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónMistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Best Historical Mystery
8th out of 1,154 books — 3,124 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Celia Powell
What a marvellous, marvellous book. I've seen Elizabeth Peter's books around, of course, but knew nothing of what they were about, and the covers never particularly attracted me. After seeing them recommended on someone's blog, I thought I'd pick up the first of her Amelia Peabody series - and what a joy it was.

This is a nominally a mystery, but it's not really the meat of the book, nor what is so enjoyable about it. Amelia Peabody - strong-minded, independent, sarcastic Amelia, striding along
I'm sick of reading tiresome things, so I'm going to read this fun thing and the next two in the series... so there!

That was fun. Cheered me up immensely.
This book made me laugh out loud several times, but that's not the only reason I loved it! It also introduced me to Amelia Peabody, no-nonsense lady archaeologist-doctor and resident badass, whose travels through Egypt are full of interesting characters and settings. I mean, you can't not love a Victorian lady who's as practical as they come. When she needs to stay by a patient in the desert, there's only one habitation that will do:

So I directed Walter to pick out a nice tomb for us.

He was sta
Jul 19, 2014 Werner rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mystery (especially historical mystery) fans, and fans of strong, smart heroines
This book launched a prolific historical mystery series featuring Amelia Peabody, which makes use of the author's expertise in ancient Egypt and the archaeology that studies it. Peters' real name is Dr. Barbara Mertz, a well-respected Egyptologist in real life. (She also writes acclaimed "romantic suspense" under the name Barbara Michaels.) It was an absolute treat to read; I hated to put it down!

Set in 1884 (the date isn't given, but can be deduced from the few references to Gordon at Khartoum)
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
I was happy to find this on audio at the library, although I have a paper copy. It’s easier to squeeze in an audiobook sometimes, and I thought this would be an enjoyable listen. I was right. The narrator drew me right into the story. I loved the manner in which Barbara Rosenblatt endowed these characters with a distinctive voice in the audiobook. They were real to me as I listened, and I was quite vocal in my reactions to this book. In other words, I was fully engaged!

At first I thought she ma
Very enjoyable. There's no murder in this historical mystery, just a mummy terrorizing an archaeological site, and Amelia terrorizing everyone else with her parasol in a much more violent fashion than genteel or flirtatious. Feisty isn't quite a strong enough word for Amelia. I thought she was a bit too much at first, but decided I liked her once Evelyn began to have an effect on her. And Emerson - he was just right for a hot-headed archaeologist and as an opponent for Amelia, and I liked how th ...more
I came into the book prepared to like it. It had an intriguing concept, mixing mystery with Egyptology and archaeology. And the setting, colonial Egypt during the Victorian age, struck me as equally promising. I even found a video interview with the author that was charming and funny;

By the time I finished reading the book, I wondered if it was the single worst mystery I had ever come across. It's a spectacular failure at virtually everything it attempts.
Oct 15, 2009 Julianna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Cozy Mysteries or Adventure Stories in Exotic Settings
Reviewed for THC Reviews
It has been many years since I've read a mystery story, and I wasn't quite sure if I would still like them as much as I had in my youth. Either I do, or I simply chose the right book with which to renew that genre interest, because I found Crocodile on the Sandbank to be an enjoyable read. It reminded me of a cross between Indiana Jones and a younger version of Miss Marple or Jessica Fletcher (I loved Murder, She Wrote when I was a kid), or perhaps a more mature version o
If my memory serves me correct, this is the first Amelia Peabody mystery novel. I now have probably at least 15 of these books on my shelf and Elizabeth Peters keeps popping a new one out every year. Amelia is a Egyptologist at the beginning of the 20th century. Each book contains new mysteries ("every year, another body") that threaten the archeological digs in which she participates. You get to watch the characters grow over the years, deal with real historical issues (Britain's occupation of ...more
This was SO MUCH FUN.

Almost immediately, like after the very first sentence, I was quite enamored with the whole thing. The tone, the characters, the setting, the banter. Amelia is SO SASSY. She’s an example of one of my favorite character types: a person who can afford to disregard the limitations put on her because of some sort of exception or power. It’s delicious, really, watching her come into her own.

So basically Amelia Peabody is a “spinster”* in the late 1800s England. Her father has jus
I always enjoy a little Amelia Peabody. I put an * next to my favorites (since they get a bit formulaic), and I just bought those 5 to add to my library. If you do read them all I recommend skipping #11. I think she's now written more in the series, too.

1. Crocodile On The Sandbank*
2. The Curse Of The Pharaohs
3. The Mummy Case
4. Lion In The Valley*
5. Deeds Of The Disturber
6. The Last Camel Died At Noon*
7. The Snake, The Crocodile & The Dog
8. The Hippopotamus Pool
9. Seeing a Large Cat
10. Th
May 17, 2008 rabbitprincess rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: historical mystery fans, Egypt aficionados
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: Top 100 list
I can definitely see why this book was added to one of my Top 100 Crime Novels list -- it is brilliant.

The story begins in Rome, where Amelia Peabody, an irrepressible, resolute woman, rescues an unfortunate young lady from death in the streets. The young lady, Evelyn, was disinherited by her wealthy grandfather after she was seduced by a cad named Alberto. Alberto, of course, was after her fortune, and when she no longer had access to it, he left her behind. Amelia takes Evelyn under her wing,
This book is a complete winner in its genre! It offers warm friendships, engaging characters, sweet clean romance, mystery, humor, atmosphere, plenty of interesting and technical historical details, impeccable writing. Loved the quirky narration in which the main character addresses the reader. I totally felt that Amelia was real while reading this. Ok, I may be a bit of a pushover but still. I was completely impressed with the way the author drew a visual picture to accompany dialogue. She desc ...more
Victoria Evangelina Belyavskaya


Egypt is in my heart: they say if you once drank from the Nile, the return to its banks will haunt you forever. I spent a couple of extremely short years in Egypt, mostly in Cairo, with weekend trips out to deserts and sea banks, with numerous 10-15 day long travels all over this land of the mysteries and a thousand cats...

I had a wonderful company and all the possible comforts to endure into such travels, including, oh my, that was a TOTAL luxury! - a sho
Amelia Peabody had always had good intentions. Some people thought of her as abrasive, opinionated and straight-forward. She was.

At 32 years of age she was plain in appearance. And possibly a bit too tall with a "nose that was too large, a mouth too wide and the shape of a chin that was positively masculine." Her attitude? If others had a problem...well...too bad.

The truth? Amelia had a kind heart which leaned toward the underdog and an embracing curiosity with life.

Unexpectedly inheriting a
Review of audiobook version narrated by Barbara Rosenblat.

The mystery in this book wasn't very good - how could it be when the villain was a Mummy? - but it had delightful characters and such a funny turn of phrase - when the mummy was described as Evelyn's "necromantic admirer", I almost died laughing.

Amelia Peabody is now my postergirl for what a strong woman in a historical book should be. She's a natural leader, very strong, smart, sensible, confident, kind, opinionated but doesn't come out
**edited 12/12/13

I've never really understood why people try to decide what books they would bring if they were trapped on a desert island, because (1) it's a little unlikely in our current issues with overpopulation, (2) even if it occurred, I suspect you wouldn't be able to plan ahead, and (3) I'll bet you'd just end up stuck with trashy beach reads. So let's just say that when the zombie apocalypse comes, I'm definitely going to make sure I have some Elizabeth Peters books in my basement or b
This was a really fun, light read! I fell in love with Amelia and her witty personality. There was so much humor laced throughout the story, and I think I had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading it. I guessed the "mystery" part of the story fairly early on, but I still enjoyed seeing how it all played out.
Crocodile on the Sandbank
4 Stars

Following the death of her scholarly father, Amelia Peabody inherits a fortune and decides to fulfill her lifelong dream of traveling to Egypt and seeing, in person, the archeological sites that she has only read about. Before she knows it, Amelia is embroiled in a mysterious adventure involving a young English woman with a troubling past, an abrasive archeologist with no patience for women and a disturbing Mummy with a suspicious agenda.

Note on the audiobook:The
My rating: 3.5

What fun!

This enjoyable light read offers a playful romp through Egypt with a bit of mystery (albeit, predictable), romance, intrigue and humour thrown in for good measure. I'm looking forward to delving head-long into the rest of Peters' series - she writes with wit and a deft turn of phrase, but also bestows a certain amount depth to her characters.

Narrator and unlikely 'heroine', Amelia Peabody, is matter-of-fact, unflappable and very believable. I took to her in an instant. Wh
Mike (the Paladin)
My wife loved all these books (and a great many other things Elizabeth Peters, Barbara Michaels, Barbara Mertz wrote). I'm giving it 3 stars as I recognize that this/these are very well written books. They are well constructed, the characters are fully fleshed out and if you follow the series they will remain fairly true to themselves. So, why only 3 stars? First, I like very few mysteries. While these are well crafted mysteries it's not a genre I find a "go-to" for myself...that's one reason. T ...more
Tim Hicks
I hope this is a parody, because if it isn't, it's a dreadful book. I'm going to assume that it is.

So ... the 1880s viewed from a mid-70s author's perspective.

Amelia and Emerson are great characters. The rest are, predictably, cardboard. Buffoons, cads, mysterious Arabs, etc.

Alberto? Eyebrow raise. The only thing he didn't do was talk-a like-a thees. In fact he came across more like Tonto in 1950s novels.

Plot? Don't fuss yourself with that. It's weak and predictable, and this story isn't abo
Quickie review: I really enjoyed this book. It was a very fast read, and kept me on my toes the entire time. Amelia's character is wonderful. She's headstrong, independent, opinionated and pushy. I loved her.

I also loved Emerson's character, and really love men like him. Big, hulking, loud beasts who have hearts in the right place. There's no map though. And you have to dig once you've reached the X... Emerson's sense of propriety and right and wrong are really commendable, but unfortunately, t
This was an enjoyable read for sure, so much that I just could not put it down until I finished it. The story set in the midst of Egypt, had quite a good amount of mystery, adventure and humor to it. And of course all the characters were equally well matched and entertaining. Especially the two main protagonists Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe Emerson! Usually I love strong female characters but Amelia was not only strong but also egg-headed, quirky, sarcastic, charming and fun to spend time with. ...more
This has a fairly generic setting, a rather boring mystery, some entirely unconvincing romances (I had to assume everyone in the book was gay and in denial about it. I maintain it makes much more sense that way) and more than a touch of racism. Unfortunately (or fortunately, I suppose) it starts rather strong and moves along at a nice pace with a good bit of what looks like the aforementioned Sapphic undercurrents and a seemingly nicely unreliable narration, and it take until rather past the hal ...more
Brandy Painter
4.5 stars

I really liked this! As far as mysteries go, it wasn't spectacular. It was incredibly easy to discern who the culprit was and exactly what motive was behind their actions. BUT. I don't care. Because I loved Amelia's voice. She is intelligent, capable, independent, and adventurous. I enjoyed the irony in her narration as well. The reader knows far more than Amelia does and it adds a lot of humor to the book. I also really liked the romance. It is my favorite type: hate to love and full
Richard Ward
A gentle mix of mystery, romance, and historical fiction, set in Victorian Egypt. The late author had a PhD in Egyptology and a great admiration for her female professional forerunners. So she she gave us a Victorian female Egyptologist to be our hero. Amelia Peabody is a confirmed spinster, suffragist, and scholar. In England in 1884, she inherits a fortune from her father and leaves England to see the world, with the side benefit of escaping various suitors and family members who were neither ...more
I would like to be like Amelia Peabody. That is all.
RATING: 3.5 I really enjoyed Amelia's decidedly anti-Victorian views, and her snark was, of course, exactly like I like my protagonists. I liked the play between her and Emerson, as well as between her and Evelyn. While the outcome was predictable for both the mystery and Amelia herself, the ride was still enjoyable. I would not mind reading the next books in the series.
Amelia Peabody is a force of nature--a Victorian spinster armed with a more than sufficient independent income to complement her unshakable self-confidence and independent nature. Her late father (from whence comes the income) was a scholar and antiquarian who sparked an interest in Egypt in his only daughter and companion of his waning years. Amelia's brothers pretty much abandoned them, so it was only natural for Father Peabody to leave his surprisingly large estate to her. After suffering foo ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Silent on the Moor (Lady Julia, #3)
  • O Jerusalem (Mary Russell, #5)
  • A Fatal Waltz (Lady Emily, #3)
  • The Cater Street Hangman (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #1)
  • The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax  (Mrs. Pollifax #1)
  • Ammie, Come Home (Georgetown, #1)
  • A Royal Pain (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #2)
  • Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple, #1)
  • Busman's Honeymoon (Lord Peter Wimsey, #13)
Elizabeth Peters is a pen name of Barbara Mertz. She also writes as Barbara Michaels as well as her own name. Born and brought up in Illinois, she earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago. Mertz was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America at the Edgar Awards in 1998. She lived in a historic farmhouse in Fred ...more
More about Elizabeth Peters...

Other Books in the Series

Amelia Peabody (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • The Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody, #2)
  • The Mummy Case (Amelia Peabody, #3)
  • Lion in the Valley  (Amelia Peabody, #4)
  • The Deeds of the Disturber (Amelia Peabody, #5)
  • The Last Camel Died at Noon (Amelia Peabody, #6)
  • The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog (Amelia Peabody, #7)
  • The Hippopotamus Pool (Amelia Peabody, #8)
  • Seeing a Large Cat (Amelia Peabody, #9)
  • The Ape Who Guards the Balance (Amelia Peabody, #10)
  • The Falcon at the Portal( Amelia Peabody, #11)

Share This Book

“I disapprove of matrimony as a matter of principle.... Why should any independent, intelligent female choose to subject herself to the whims and tyrannies of a husband? I assure you, I have yet to meet a man as sensible as myself! (Amelia Peabody)” 125 likes
“Peculiar or not, it is my idea of pleasure. Why, why else do you lead this life you don't enjoy it? Don't talk of duty to me; you men always have some high-sounding excuse for indulging yourselves. You go gallivanting over the earth, climbing mountains, looking for the sources of the Nile; and expect women to sit dully at home embroidering. I embroider very badly. I think I would excavate rather well. ” 39 likes
More quotes…