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Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1)
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Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  31,284 ratings  ·  2,156 reviews
Amelia Peabody, indomitable Victorian, embarks for Egypt armed with confidence, journal, and umbrella. Enroute to Cairo, she rescues dainty Evelyn, abandoned by her lover. They sail up the Nile to the archeological dig of the Emerson brothers - irascible but dashing Radcliffe and amiable Walter. A lively mummy, visitations, accidents, kidnap attempt - evil is afoot.
Paperback, 262 pages
Published 1988 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1975)
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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 983 books — 2,402 voters
One for the Money by Janet EvanovichThe No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithCrocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth PetersChocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne FlukeThe Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun
Cozy Mystery Series
3rd out of 425 books — 1,300 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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...more
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.
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...more
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 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
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
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...more
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)...more
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,...more
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...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....more
**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...more
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.
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...more
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
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...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
Lisa Kay
I love Amelia Peabody! I want to be Amelia Peabody when I grow up. What a great read. Love the characters, setting, dialogues, and plot. I hope the rest of the series holds up.
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Probably about 3.5 stars.

Great romp of fun, especially if you know something of the history of archaeology in Egypt.
May 15, 2014 Varsha rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
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
Amelia inherits a large sum of money and decides to use this to go traveling in Egypt. During her travels she meets a young woman, Evelyn, who was abandoned by her lover under *very* scandalous circumstances. Amelia invites her to be her traveling companion and protects her from her former lover, and a most persistent cousin. While they are working on an archaeological dig, they discover a mummy, which then seemingly comes to life and begins harassing them. Amelia makes it her business to find o...more
Feisty Victorian spinster Amelia Peabody goes off to explore Egypt, in spite of political disruptions - including the besieging of Gordon in Khartoum. She’s not a woman to let herself be put off by piffling politics. En route, she picks up the beautiful and distressed Evelyn Forbes, recovering from a shameful love affair, who happily takes up the post of companion to our gritty heroine. Together they sail forth to Egypt.....the land of pink sunsets and starry nights.... and on up the Nile.

On on...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...more
I really enjoyed this mystery! Amelia Peabody is a great character and I had many laugh out loud moments. While this was lighthearted and fun, it also had interesting subject matter and history thrown in. Radcliffe was another great character and I look forward to reading more of their adventures. This was an audio for me and the narrator was great too. I came across this series on GR and this has been on my TBR for awhile, so I'm glad I finally got to it!
Why read: I've never read a mystery with Egyptian archeology and found the idea intriguing.

What impressed me: I love that this book is historical in two ways - its setting being more than a century ago and its primary subject matter dealing with ancient Egypt. I loved the dual look at Egypt in both times. I really enjoyed the relationship between Evelyn and Amelia - as they are polar opposites, yet manage to bond and bring something much needed into each others lives. And I loved all the potenti...more
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...more
Oh we’ve come a long way baby!
Some of the sexist things that came out of Emerson’s mouth:
A woman with an inquiring mind is there such a thing!
Think, Peabody; if you have ever used your brain now is the time.”
“Speak, then. That is the trouble with women, even the best of them.” Emerson added. “They will indulge in vain cries of ‘if only’ and ‘had I known.’

Even though Emerson is at times an arrogant prig I couldn’t help giggling at some of the things he said and Amelia’s reaction to them. Also som...more
Book Concierge
Audiobook performed by Susan O’Malley

Amelia Peabody does not suffer fools gladly. Independently wealthy and feeling constrained by the rules of Victorian society, she decides to hire a companion and travel to Egypt. Her companion falls ill in Rome and has to return to England, but Amelia comes across a destitute, beautiful young English girl. Evelyn’s past is aristocratic, but tarnished by an impetuous love affair. Still, Amelia recognizes some sterling qualities in the young woman and takes her...more
Rebecca Huston
A long time ago, I tried to read this book, and gave up after the first chapter. I am guessing that I really wasn't ready for this series as I took this one on, and discovered that I had a great time with it. In this one we are introduced to the formidable Amelia Peabody, and her friend Evelyn Forbes-Barton, and the equally intriguing Emerson brothers, Radcliffe and Walter. The story does come together as the quartet explore Tell el-Amarna, the long deserted city of Akhetaten. There's a touch of...more
Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe Emerson are two of THE most delightful, intelligent and funny characters I have come across in a very long time! Two Brits who meet up in Egypt and instantly dislike one another intensely (or so we are led to believe!), they are nevertheless forced to spend time together as they become embroiled in a mystery involving his younger brother Walter, her younger travelling companion Evelyn, and Evelyn's suitor/cousin Lucas. Not to mention any number of Egyptian locals.

I first heard about this book years ago, but finally decided to read it for myself. I nearly gave up in the first ten pages because Amelia was so completely EXASPERATING to me, with all her superiority talk ("...I never act without thought; it is simply that I think more quickly and more intelligently than most people."). Luckily she got over that, and I started to enjoy it. By the end she had grown on me a little, but I don't feel compelled to read further in the series, for now at least. Emers...more
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If they made a movie of this, who would you cast as the main characters? 11 140 Mar 31, 2014 04:45PM  
Inspiration for the Mummy? 24 265 Mar 24, 2014 02:43AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Fixes on the Sandbank 3 33 Jul 25, 2012 12:49PM  
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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...
The Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody, #2) The Last Camel Died at Noon (Amelia Peabody, #6) Lion in the Valley  (Amelia Peabody, #4) The Mummy Case (Amelia Peabody, #3) The Deeds of the Disturber (Amelia Peabody, #5)

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“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)” 86 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. ” 35 likes
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