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The Dead Sea Cipher

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,797 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
A vacationing tourist gets more than she bargains for when she visits old Jerusalem.
Audio CD, 7 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1970)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,495)
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Spare me from the idiocy of virginal goody-goody heroines. Because Elizabeth Peters has written some very good books with strong female characters, I am going to say that these books are more of a reflection of the culture at the time (1970s) than anything else. I read this book many years ago and I'm sure I loved it then. I noticed it wasn't on my Goodreads shelf so I decided to read it again. Ugh. Cannot do it. It's intensely stupid and another example the types of books Peters seemed to excel ...more
This story moved slower than molasses in January, and oh so boring. I tried to pick out things which kept my interest but alas found nothing worthwhile. Some of the places described the author were awesome but all in all this was a 'did not finish' for me.

Should I be inclined someday that I want to try again, I do have this paperback on my keeper shelf at home. But for now, this audio is going back to the library.
Oct 05, 2015 Kate rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well, the title is good, but this is the least Elizabeth Peters-y EP book ever. Excessively traditional and my loathing for Dinah was complete when she was sorry to have to go to her fabulous job because she would be separated from her Love. Ghastly. The farce at the end was this book's only saving grace. Took me a month to read on audio. The only bad EP I have ever read.
ETA: ok one other good point: Dinah's father can't travel because he is in a wheelchair, but that wouldn't be true today - I w
Jun 18, 2015 Teri-k rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is one of Peter's early books, and it shows. Still, if you can enjoy old-fashioned romantic-suspense, Peter's ability to create interesting minor characters makes this one worth reading. The dialogue is a little stiff and the ending definitely isn't believable, but again Peter's makes it fun.

Some reviewers have complained about the stupid mistakes Dinah makes in the story, but the truth is she's not the only one who does some careless things.

You can see some similarities between this and
Lisa Greer
Apr 05, 2008 Lisa Greer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I began this one while it was storming outside last night. :) It is okay so far, not too gripping, though, from the outset.

This one is getting more interesting, and the setting is a bit different as is the main character and her background. Her father is a minister with an archaeology interest. So, that's pretty neat and different for one of Peters' novels.

***I'm over halfway done with this one. It is good, but more of a historical trip for the reader than anything. The Holy Land is covered p
Jane Chizmar
Jul 20, 2015 Jane Chizmar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great suspense and action. Very heavy into Bible of which I am not but still held my interest and looking for more from Elizabeth Peters.
Paula Howard
May 10, 2015 Paula Howard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Dead Sea Cipher, Dinah is going on a trip to the Holy Land for and in place of her father. While there she becomes entangled with Tony, a U.S. government official and Jeff a Biblical Scholar. Both are looking for recently found scrolls. Who on the trip can be trusted? Is anyone whom they say they are?

The Dead Sea Cipher wasn't quite what I had expected it to be. While it had the making of the type of book I would typically read.... it was a little too fluff for me. With that being said it
Aug 02, 2011 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Peters is one of my favorite authors! So I was excited to see a book of hers I hadn't read yet. While this book is similar to her "peabody series" it has some of its own adorable quirks. The main character is an opera singer with an ear for languages. After hearing some strange things from the room next door. It starts her on the path to collide with very interesting characters. While at times some of the conclusions the people in the book jump to seem a bit far fetched it is delivered ...more
Oct 04, 2011 Linda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
These older books by Elizabeth Peters are so frustrating to read, and this one was no exception! The basic plot is a good one, along the lines of an Agatha Christie, but her characters act in such an unrealistic and contradictory manner that the story just doesn't work. Her characters all seem like adults as envisioned by a twelve-year-old. There are gaps in the story where actions and situations aren't explained, sort of like a badly-edited movie. Her writing definitely improved with time, but ...more
Lis Carey
Jun 25, 2014 Lis Carey rated it really liked it
Dinah van der Lyn travels to the Holy Land and stumbles into an international intrigue tied to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

She's a young professional opera singer, and the daughter of a Pennsylvania clergyman who has an interest in Biblical archaeology. The tour she has signed up for hasn't even left Beirut yet when Dinah overhears a loud and violent argument in the hotel room next to hers. It ends in murder. Since the argument was in Arabic, Dinah has no idea what was said, but not everyone believes t
Kate McLachlan
Oct 21, 2010 Kate McLachlan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My second favorite Elizabeth Peters book, right after Crocodile on the Sandbank. This book is a stand-alone, which is as it should be. If you're interested in biblical archaeology, mixed with adventure and romance, you will love this book. Elizabeth Peters' characters are realistic (in a larger than life kind of way -- it works), but they're having so much fun you just want to be on the adventure with them, and you feel as if you are.
Mar 13, 2016 C. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Dead Sea Cipher” has been trampled by one-star feedback that lacked any open-minded explanations. Boredom was spouted and that this novel “doesn’t go the way a mystery usually does”. I should think not. It entails the most coveted of archaeological sojourns, with the benefit of being penned by a graduate of that profession! Historical facts pertinent to the places we traverse: Beirut, Jordan, and Bethlehem itself; are a gift to the sponges that readers are supposed to be! They are imparted ...more
Sep 04, 2015 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I have to respect such a beloved author, I did not like this book. It was reasonably entertaining at times, but it took be forever to finish because I simply couldn't get into the characters. I wish there would have been more of the mystery/action/adventure aspect of the novel and less of the romance - and I'm not a romance hater... it just totally didn't work in this book. I'll give you an example:

She stumbled over the words, a little dazed at the state of her own feelings. Her job, her c
Dec 16, 2014 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 02, 2009 Deanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe this is the one of the first of the "non-series" books written by Barbara Michaels aka Elizabeth Peters. The setting is the 1970's, and some of the characters are listening to the Beatles on transistor radios, annoying the rest of the tour group, computers and cell phones are non-existent (people make expensive "trans-Atlantic" phone calls), boys are wearing their hair long, and psychedelic clothes are "in." But other than these anachronisms, I found the novel delightful. I have read a ...more
Dec 11, 2013 Shelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are patterns I expect from an Elizabeth Peters (or Barbara Michaels) novel: the respectable young lady with more intelligence and humor than is strictly "proper," the handsome hero who immediately rouses her temper, sparring between hero and heroine, a mystery tied in some way to antiquities, adventures in interesting climates, and supporting characters who are not what they seem to be. This book delivered them all. The fact that there is a formula to it made it no less enjoyable. In fact, ...more
Apr 15, 2011 Samantha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Dinah travels to Jerusalem, because it was one of her father’s greatest hopes to travel there, but with him ending up in a wheel chair that hope is crushed. So being the marvelous daughter she is decides to let him vicariously live out his dream journey through a bunch of postcards and her travel journal. Everything goes along smoothly until one night in the hotel she’s staying at Dinah overhears a heated conversation in Arabic and a cry for help shouted in English. Even though she doesn’t know ...more
May 10, 2010 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminds me of Agatha Christie's They Came to Baghdad in almost every way. This is okay with me, as They Came to Baghdad is one of my top three Christie favorites.

Like Peter's other novel I read, this one seems curiously out of time. It was published in 1970, but I kept imagining it in the late 20's or the 1930s. Possibly because it reminded me so much of the Christie novel. It is definately meant to be in the time period which it was published, as some fairly spectacular 1960-ish style
Sep 27, 2015 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can see why the Amelia Peabody series is the most popular of Peters' works--at least judging by their ordering in the Goodreads listing--but I thoroughly enjoyed this more contemporary romp. I think the protagonist was perhaps a little too glib in why she decided to trust one ambiguous faction over another, finally putting it down to a feel about his kisses or some such, but I found it a quite delightful--and much shorter--book.
When Dinah Van der Lyn travels to the Holy Land she finds herself thrust into the middle of an international plot involving the possible discovery of an ancient scroll that, if brought to light, would likely turn the Christian world on end. Danger and intrigue follow her through the Middle East, as do two handsome young men. Which, if either, should she trust?

I think I could describe this fairly accurately and simply as a dated Da Vinci Code light, (yes, it is possible to find a lighter work tha
Published in 1970 and reflects the time. This does not fly for modern audiences. Not just the woman but all the characters were so stupid I can hardly stand it. So I don't understand why they bother to make it into an audiobook. It was the only one I had with me so I had to finish it but I was not happy. Don't waste your time on this one but she's got others that are great.
This is very early Elizabeth Peters and hasn't worn as well as some of her other books. What really irks me, however, is the reader of this book, who mispronounced at least one word on every page. When will publishers learn that a mellifluous speaking voice is just not enough for an audiobook reader and assign an editor to get mispronunciations corrected?
Although I like most of the late Elisabeth Peters' (Barbara Michaels) books, this one dragged a bit in the beginning, towards the end it did pick up the pace and of course the bit of romance that she throws in along the way... I think that, for me at least, it would have been good read for a night when you can't sleep....
Jul 13, 2015 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While on holiday in the Middle East the protagonist gets embroiled in a plot regarding some Dead Sea scrolls. Lots of adventure and action amounts spies and archeologists lead her and her new boyfriend to a cave high in the Kumeran hills. An excellent read.
Aug 01, 2009 Genie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It began as a tour of the holy land with scheduled visits to various places of importance in biblical history. The tour turns into more of an adventure than she was prepared for when Dinah van der Lyn hears angry voices through the wall of her hotel room in Beirut. A crash and a brief cry for help (in English)is the beginning of a journey filled with spies and counter spies. Dinah finds herself dragged into a situation she knows nothing about but is unable to convince the main players involved o ...more
Mar 17, 2015 Tabatha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audiobook
Not one of my favourites but still lots of fun and a nice romp through the Middle East. I do appreciate the bits of history that are woven in the tale.
Jan 08, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I still like her stories... definitely keep my interest and an easy fun read.
I think I like the Amelia Peabody series better but this was good too.

Mar 11, 2014 Susie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like reading the best of Mary Stewart. Perfect mix of a strong heroine, good mystery in an interesting exotic locale, and a little romance
Pat Beard
May 22, 2015 Pat Beard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This 1970 title from Elizabeth Peters is a great read. Fun characters, nice plot, twist at the end - can't wait to start the next one.
Early & not as good nor witty as the Amelia Peabody's
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  • The Dark on the Other Side
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
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