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Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  44,841 Ratings  ·  3,006 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)
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Celia
Oct 24, 2007 Celia rated it it was amazing
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
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
“Men are frail creatures, of course; one does not expect them to exhibit the steadfastness of women.”

Barbara Mertz was one creative gal - she hooked me with her gothic mysteries under the Barbara Michaels penname, but I never indulged as much in her straight mystery stories under the name Elizabeth Peters. I finally took the plunge and tried the first book in her long-running series set around Egyptian adventures.

Amelia Peabody is quite a character - feminist for her times, tough and determined
...more
Hayes
May 12, 2009 Hayes rated it really liked it
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.
Emily
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
...more
Phrynne
Jun 18, 2015 Phrynne rated it really liked it
What a pleasant, well written and entertaining book! I guess I have found myself another series and I believe this is a pretty long one!
Amelia Peabody is a wonderful character, sometimes verging on becoming a caricature but the author writes subtly enough to prevent this happening. The same applies to Emerson who despite all his apparent failings of temperament is still someone the reader can like enormously. I can see a great future for the pair of them!
I enjoyed the mystery, the historical set
...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
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
Werner
Jan 02, 2010 Werner rated it it was amazing
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
Ashley
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
...more
Allison
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
Katie
Apr 10, 2007 Katie rated it it was amazing
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
Julianna
Oct 03, 2009 Julianna rated it really liked it
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
MomToKippy
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
Marcy
Jun 29, 2009 Marcy rated it it was amazing
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
Vimal Thiagarajan
Jul 17, 2015 Vimal Thiagarajan rated it it was amazing
I got into this book due to the all too apparent Egyptian lure and the lure of archaeological fiction, and though I wasn't let down on both counts, the thing that stumped me the most was an entirely unanticipated facet of this book - the raging maelstrom of unbridled antagonism between a Victorian feminist-Amelia Peabody and an eternal misogynist-Radcliffe Emerson, which is at the center of this entertaining Haggardian adventure set in the enterprising archaeological milieu of Egypt in the Victo ...more
Linda
Amelia Peabody 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 larg
...more
rabbitprincess
Apr 17, 2008 rabbitprincess rated it it was amazing
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
Lori
Mar 01, 2017 Lori rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Victoria Evangelina Belyavskaya

~I HAVE DISCOVERED MISS AMELIA PEABODY!~

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
Holly
May 15, 2016 Holly rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
*4.5 stars
D.G.
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
...more
Tim Hicks
May 01, 2013 Tim Hicks rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
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
Jaksen
May 25, 2016 Jaksen rated it it was ok
Yikes, so predictable, and an MC who is totally unlikeable. Meh.

Set in the 1850's, written in the 1970's, with an uber-feminist MC who'd prefer to wear pants to dresses and wants to be more than just somebody's wife. Guess what and spoiler alert! She ends up being somebody's wife.

I am a woman of the 70's, btw, thoroughly modern, raised by parents who decided - for me - that I'd go to college, get a job or have a career and be beholden/dependent on no man. So it wasn't the 1850's feminist vibe th
...more
Lanie
May 14, 2016 Lanie rated it really liked it
England, 1880s.
Miss Amelia Peabody is on the shelf at 32. On the death of her father she has nothing to recommend her, but her intelligence and her fortune. Rather than remain in England to be prey to fortune hunters, she arms herself with a parasol and sets out to travel the world and indulge her passion for history.

In Rome she acquires a companion, Evelyn (a fallen woman), who faints at the drop of a hat.

In Egypt they find danger, archeology, adventure and love.

Great fun. The characters are
...more
Carly
Dec 12, 2011 Carly rated it it was amazing
**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
Lindsay
Jan 16, 2017 Lindsay rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

I was fully expecting to enjoy this book, and I wasn't in the least disappointed. Always a fan of independent, strong-willed female MCs, adventure stories, and Egyptology, this really did bring together all the elements to guarantee a win for me. Amelia Peabody is the quintessential character that I think many others have been modeled after- she is smart, steadfast, resourceful, witty, self-reliant, and a feminist ahead of her time. She is concerned with societal proprieties to a point
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Jul 25, 2010 Mike (the Paladin) rated it liked it
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
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 Althea Ann rated it it was ok
An Amelia Peabody Mystery'

Apparently, this book was the first of a long series featuring the character of Amelia Peabody. I was interested because it took place in Egypt!
I enjoyed reading the book because the character is really very appealing - Amelia, in Victorian times, is an 'old maid' at 29, but is also a feminist, independent, and smart, but with an obvious, if hidden-from-herself romantic streak.
In this story, she rescues a young 'fallen' woman and then proceeds to stick by her when, at a
...more
Versha
May 01, 2014 Versha rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-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
Tamara
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
Heather
Jan 22, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it
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.
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Elizabeth Peters is a pen name of Barbara Mertz. She also wrote 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 Frede ...more
More about Elizabeth Peters...

Other Books in the Series

Amelia Peabody (1 - 10 of 20 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)

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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)” 140 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. ” 43 likes
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