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Devil May Care

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  2,043 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
Ellie is young, rich, engaged and in love. These are the carefree days before marriage and new responsibility, and anything goes -- including house-sitting at eccentric Aunt Kate's palatial estate in Burton, Virginia. Ellie feels right at home here with the nearly invisible housekeepers and the plethora of pets, but she soon realizes that there are disturbing secrets about ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 4th 2001 by Avon (first published 1977)
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May 10, 2016 Phrynne rated it liked it
This was my first book by this author and although it was okay it has not made me want to rush out immediately and get another one. Sadly I took an instant dislike to Kate who was one of the main characters and who was supposed to be delightfully quirky and yet totally charming. She came across to me as a self centered, unthinking bully. That kind of ruined things for me:)
The story also had trouble making up its mind what it was - a serious mystery? a cute cosy? paranormal? It tried a bit of ev
Oct 01, 2009 Hannah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spookies, 2010-reads
I take an Advil when I have a headache...

I eat mashed potatoes and coffee ice cream (not together, mind you) when I'm stressed, or bored, or both...

I watch the Jeremy Brett movie version of The Hound of the Baskervilles to drift off to sleep...

...and I seek out an Elizabeth Peters (aka Barbara Michaels) when I want my literary pacifier.

You know what you're getting when you pick up one of her books. Some, of course, are better then others. None are great works of literature. But I don't require o
May 18, 2016 Sheila rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
3 biased stars--I liked the book despite its utterly ridiculous plot. But I have a soft spot for Peters, and this story has a lot of things to love (a possibly haunted manor house, a rich but eccentric aunt, dozens of cats and dogs, a snarky romantic interest, etc.). The book is dated and definitely not one of her best, but I still had fun.
Aug 25, 2015 Teri-k rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Heyer's Footsteps in the Dark
I thought I'd read all of Peter's non-Amelia Peabody books years ago. (And I'm almost done with those now.) So I was surprised when this one showed up on OverDrive. I loved the way it began, with Ellie and her fiance travelling to visit her eccentric Aunt Kate. Fiance Henry is an ingratiating, self-absorbed man whose posing made me smile. The Aunt's old house is filled with dogs, cats and strange servants. (Peters gets the St. Bernard right.) Is it any surprise that I started expecting a humorou ...more
This was such a fun story to read! An eccentric rich aunt with lots of cats and dogs in an old house, filled with historical artefacts and modern-day technologies, who wanted to play matchmaker for her favorite niece. Lots of colorful characters with their own dirty little secrets. Ghosts and burglars and masterful performances. And stolen kisses. Well, at least one stolen kiss :) The only thing I didn't get was (view spoiler) ...more
Apr 08, 2011 Samantha rated it really liked it
Shelves: gothic-mystery
This was one of the best plots I’ve seen Peters put out yet. Usually, when she does the paranormal mystery plot it starts to become a little Scooby-dooish. You know, the ghost is captured then unmasked as actually being old man Ford the gardener. Anyway, Ellie is house sitting for her eccentric aunt Kate who’s out romping around the country. During the first night, Ellie stumbles upon a ghost that looks remarkably like Kate’s yard boy. Ellie is level-headed though and believes that there’s a log ...more
Lisa Greer
Jan 12, 2009 Lisa Greer rated it really liked it
I am finally reading this one. It's one of the last of hers that I have not read (other than the Peabody series which I hate). I love it so far. I only wish I could find another cozy/gothic author of her caliber...

Definitely worth reading... not the best, but far from the worst. I didn't care for the lack of strength surrounding the lead female protagonist. She was sort of just a girl who was there, engaged, then not, but we are never told her profession or anything about her. That is unlike Mic
I feel like this book was the polar opposite of Intuition. This book was not technically amazing nor written with a high level of skill or finesse, but WOW was it a fun read. I love Elizabeth Peters and I am sure I read this one at some point. A standalone tale, this book revolves around strange happenings while Ellie is housesitting for her charmingly eccentric aunt. There are so many crazy characters here and the main plot revolves around 100+ year old secrets that folks who take themselves WA ...more
Amanda Marshall
Oct 22, 2010 Amanda Marshall rated it it was ok
I love this author's 'Amelia Peabody' series, that said this book was a bit disappointing. I liked that she still had a strong, quirky female character, the aunt, but her other characters lacked interest. The story itself was rather bland & the ending anti-climatic. Perhaps if I had read this before her fabulous Amelia series then the proverbial 'bar' wouldn't be quite so high.
❂ Jennifer
3.5 stars. A lot of fun, but not a deep book by any stretch. A touch of gothic, but not enough to actually call this gothic. A touch of mystery, but not enough to all it a mystery. Excellent dialogue and setting, though, and a book I'd happily re-read when I want to be entertained.

Full review:
Oct 03, 2014 Gill rated it really liked it
This was a nice easy read, peculiar with a good splashing of cats :-)
My first Elizabeth Peters, and I really enjoyed it.

At first I thought DMC must be set in the early 20th century because of the attitude (well, thoughts) of Henry towards his fiance, Ellie. So you can imagine my surprise when I realized that this was a contemporary (at the time of print) novel. Henry's avarice towards her aunt's estate, his plans to 'correct' Ellie's flaws after their marriage, and his overall snobbish, elitist attitude was most infuriating - and I was kind of hoping he'd met a
Feb 13, 2017 Catherine rated it it was ok
A lesser Elizabeth Peters, with some high points, but ultimately a plot that doesn't really come together. Supernatural mystery elements, romance elements, all the things that make Peters fun to read, just not so much this particular novel. Start with one of her others (Amelia Peabody series rules).
Jan 31, 2017 Karen rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Every author is entitled to a dud. Especially an author as prolific as Michaels/Peters/Mertz. This is one of her duds.
Jan 08, 2017 faeriemyst rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

What a fun and ridiculous mad-cap tale this was! Easy on the ol' noggin, it was a silly way to pass the time.
Sep 05, 2016 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Well, the good news is that this book was much better than I originally thought it would be! In my history of reading, never have I met a more obnoxious windbag than Henry Willoughby. Luckily, he turned out not to be the main protagonist of this story, otherwise I'm pretty sure I would have given on up on this. As soon as the point of view shifted solely to Ellie, I was much happier. Her upbeat attitude, and devil may care way of handling things, really pulled me in. Ellie was fun to follow, and ...more
Oct 24, 2009 BookNerdette rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 01, 2012 Kristen rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Peters never disappoints! Fun, smart characters, a highly entertaining plot with lots of excitement and mystery, and the wonderful humour typical of Peters books that makes the story sparkle!

Ellie agrees to house-sit for eccentric Aunt Kate while she takes a vacation. Since Aunt Kate lives in a stunning Virginia mansion filled with cats, dogs and various other animals, Ellie assumes it will just be a peaceful getaway as she plans for her wedding to her high-powered lawyer fiance, Henry
Jul 29, 2013 C. rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Peters is one of my all time favorite authors, and I love stumbling upon her one-shot titles (titles not part of any series). This one, published in 1977, was a gem of a story, from which I could see echoes of Amelia Peabody is matriarchal Aunt Kate and echoes of Ramses and Nefret in Donald and Ellie, but it was its own story and the characters were diverse enough to drive the story forward.

The plot was not overly layered, but it was a fun romp through a bizarre series of events with
Frankie Carter
Jul 08, 2011 Frankie Carter rated it really liked it
This novel was recommended to me by a friend, who had previously lent me several of her Amelia Peabody series. I had high expectations after reading the first two Victorian-era archaeological adventure stories, and I was not disappointed. I was initially surprised that the novel takes place in relatively current times. Another pleasant surprise came when I realized that the novel did not include an excess of violence or horror sequences. The characters in this novel were developed well, which re ...more
East Bay J
Apr 07, 2016 East Bay J rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
Within the first few pages of Devil May Care, I got the feeling I wasn’t going to like the journey I was undertaking. The conversation between protagonist, Ellie and her fiancé, Henry, was painful. Turns out, it’s supposed to be.

I was surprised to find a pretty enjoyable mystery novel. These are not generally my cup of tea but one does find oneself with nothing to read other than what is at hand and I’d rather read Elizabeth Peters than dozens of her fellow mystery writers. Devil May Care is act
Meh. Incoherent and confusing mystery with an unsatisfying ending. I was sure I was going to love Ellie, but I am mostly ambivalent - she was a giant bore. Her love/hate relationship with Donald was entirely predictable. She is saddled with a pompous, self-important fiance (who is so awful, it's hard to understand why she is with him in the first place) but has no direction herself and is vociferously critical of Donald for being a grown man who mows lawns for a living - she mentions multiple ti ...more
Bethany Harvey
Mar 02, 2012 Bethany Harvey rated it liked it
Shelves: brain-candy, mystery
Elizabeth Peters' characters always seem to be these larger-than-life, eccentric, borderline caricatures you'd want to stay far, far away from in real life, but who are great fun to read about.

I was occasionally thrown by the way the characters barely seemed to notice each other's eccentricities, though. Like the crazy librarian -- I found it hard to believe anyone would actually go to a library with her in it. Or vote for the school-board candidate. Or approach within a hundred yards of Kate's
Judy Hall
Apr 04, 2013 Judy Hall rated it it was ok
While house-sitting for her eccentric aunt, Ellie starts to experience some strange phenoma. She also meets Kate's handsome next door neighbor, who becomes interested in the problem and starts to help her.

This book features several unpleasant people who are all possible villains. That part is good. The good guys are all good, but it's written in the 70's so it's proto-feminist. Kate will never marry and will always do as she wants, but her niece is going to marry someone who respects her intell
Peters, Elizabeth - Standalone

Ellie is young, rich, engaged and in love. These are the carefree days before marriage and new responsibility, and anything goes -- including house-sitting at eccentric Aunt Kate's palatial estate in Burton, Virginia. Ellie feels right at home here with the nearly invisible housekeepers and the plethora of pets, but she soon realizes that there are disturbing secrets about the local aristocracy buried in a dusty old book she has carried into the mans
Aug 15, 2009 Ruth rated it liked it
good. wittty fast paced. Ellie is young, rich, engaged and in love. These are the carefree days before marriage and new responsibility, and anything goes -- including house-sitting at eccentric Aunt Kate's palatial estate in Burton, Virginia. Ellie feels right at home here with the nearly invisible housekeepers and the plethora of pets, but she soon realizes that there are disturbing secrets about the local aristocracy buried in a dusty old book she has carried into the mansion. And her sudden i ...more
Feb 13, 2013 Susan rated it it was ok
(orig. published in 1977) Ellie and Henry are young, and engaged. When Ellie’s eccentric Aunt Kate asks her to house-sit at housein Burton, Virginia, Ellie is happy to oblige. She feels right at home there with the nearly invisible housekeepers and the plethora of pets, but conventional Henry finds Aunt Kate and her lifestyle a little hard to take. After he leaves, Ellie realizes that there are disturbing secrets about the local aristocracy buried in a dusty old book she has carried into the man ...more
I love the cover description of this book. Accurate but misleading... in the best possible way. Not unlike Elizabeth Peters. Who created a fun book. Not necessarily haute literature but definitely worth a read nevertheless.
Ellie is on her way up to house sit for her rich, eccentric aunt. Also in the car, her asshat fiance, Henry. The vivid description of Henry's thoughts perfectly describe his character. And the same is true of all of the characters that appear. Of the six prominent families in
Mary Stenvall
May 11, 2016 Mary Stenvall rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Peters, who was also Barbara Michaels, was one of the first, and best, writers to bring the standard Gothic tale into current time frames. She added a lighter touch and a little taste of the paranormal to her cozy mysteries. Devil May Care is one of these, a light, fun-filled romp with enjoyable characters.

Well known for the Amelia Peabody archaeology series, this one has slipped between the cracks. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, the characters, especially the animals, and the ending.
May 06, 2011 Vonette rated it it was ok
I've loved other Elizabeth Peters books, so I was surprised to find this one such a disappointment. I felt that many of the characters were caricatures. There was a not at all subtle assumption throughout the book that anyone who was "religious" must be judgmental and unpleasant. Political conservatives fared no better. On the other hand, characters who were supposed to be loveable and loving (the main character at least seemed to think so) did things that I could not imagine doing to anyone I l ...more
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  • Vanish with the Rose
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
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