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Borrower of the Night (Vicky Bliss #1)

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  4,762 Ratings  ·  311 Reviews
A missing masterwork in wood, the last creation of a master carver who died in the violent tumult of the sixteenth century, may be hidden in a medieval German castle in the town of Rothenburg. The prize has called to art historian Vicky Bliss, drawing her and an arrogant male colleague into the forbidding citadel and its dark secrets. But the treasure hunt soon turns deadl ...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published July 29th 2008 by Harper (first published 1973)
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Aug 24, 2012 Algernon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
After three Amelia Peabody Egyptian mysteries, I decided to branch out and try something else by the author. Enters Fraulein Bliss, a contemporary (cca. 1973) American art historian, feminist alter ego of Indiana Jones, hunting for lost treasures among the tombs of the past. Borrower of the Night takes her to Bavaria and a 16 Century castle turned into a hotel, where a priceless wood sculpture from the time of the Reformation may be hidden.

There are some parallels that can be drawn betwe
Jacob Proffitt
Jun 26, 2014 Jacob Proffitt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I had a really hard time with this novel. The story took forever to go anywhere and all of the characters were kind of jerks most of the time. Indeed, I very nearly quit about halfway through as I just didn't care about anything—not the characters, not the setting, certainly not the "mystery".

And I never did figure Vicky out, much. She's oddly detached most of the time, but with nearly constant hints that undermine that detachment. She vacillates between coldly logical and strangely sentimental
Aug 18, 2013 Nikki rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I hope this isn't representative of Elizabeth Peters' work, 'cause I was looking forward to reading her stuff, but I felt kinda like I was reading a novelised Scooby Doo episode. I suppose it's not that far from Mary Stewart's work, in a way, but the narration just made it feel cartoonish, more than anything else. And I don't think Mary Stewart ever set anything in a gothic sort of castle with ~mysteriously moving~ suits of armour.

Not to mention her protagonists are usually a lot more likeable a
Jun 27, 2014 Hallie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, that was .... a book. Really, I'm having a hard time finding enough in the way of feelings about it to say much more - it did pass the time*, and, I guess, allow me to read the other books knowing I haven't missed anything by starting mid-series. I was warned that this is neither necessary nor a good place to start, though, so the positive is outweighed by the negatives.
*(Though come to think of it, that isn't exactly a plus either, with a to-read shelf containing several years' worth of
Ana T.
I've heard so much about this Vicky Bliss series that when I finally had the chance to pick it up I was almost afraid that my expectations would be too high and I would be disappointed. I'm happy to say that I wasn't. It was a fun, cosy, gothic read, just the kind you pick up when you need a comfort read. The book has very funny quotes as it is written in the first person and Vicky has the kind of self deprecating humour that appeals to me.

Vicky Bliss is an Art Historian; when the story opens sh
Oct 23, 2008 Angie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I've been hearing about Elizabeth Peters' Vicky Bliss and Amelia Peabody books for quite awhile now and for some reason just haven't found my way to reading any of them until now. I noticed these re-issues of the Vicky Bliss series and decided to pick up the first one and see.

Vicky is an art historian with a delightful sense of humor and a certain dry acceptance of her statuesque stature and tendency to intimidate those around her. When we first meet Vicky, she is teaching at a college in the M
Laura Floyd
Jan 31, 2013 Laura Floyd rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
So many things about this book bugged me. In fact, I'm struggling to think of what I DID like about this book. I guess the ambiance was nice. Set in an old castle in Germany, all the crawling about in the ruins and discussion of history. I liked that. But...

The characters were not engaging. Our heroine and narrator, Vicky, was a smart, independent woman of un-delicate proportions (her self-description as being a "bouncing Brunhilda" was pretty funny) and competitive spirit. She has declared that
Kristen Jones
I loved the Amelia Peabody series, so I tried this one. I do not like Vicky Bliss! Aside from her constant "I'm not being vain, but I'm ridiculously hot" comments, I was SICK TO DEATH with her women's lib rhetoric. I know this was written in the 70's and that was more topical, but really, a women that fixated on what men are, can, or should be doing for her, is not liberated.
Ashley Abate
Really enjoyable story and good characters, except for the lead who was just sooooo annoying. Wouldn't stop going on about what an independent, smart woman she was. I like Amelia Peabody much better.
Jul 30, 2008 Felicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I enjoyed this series immensely.
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
Here it is, finally my first Vicki Bliss mystery. The story is a good one, even if not terribly interesting. Based on other works from Michaels and Peters, this is just an average effort. It could be because she was finding her grounding with new characters, but something about it didn't hook me as much as it should have. I can't help but feel that Peters couldn't think of enough story to write this one, not sure where she wanted to go, mainly drawn to characters she wished to invent. I'm sure t ...more
Nov 09, 2013 C. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 1
I’ve enjoyed my first encounter with Elizabeth Peters. The funny thing is, I collected a great deal of it a long time ago. I sifted through my collection only recently, determining which series belonged together and other works. It is worth the wait and I am eager to delve into her works much more. It took thinking to decide whether or not I’d dole 4 stars. There are two matters that resulted in 3 stars, with high praise.

‘Dr. Vicky Bliss’ self-deprecates being tall and robust but is confident in
Dec 04, 2013 Mdh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*This is a review of the audiobook version. The book itself is 4 stars, but the audio narration bumps it up to 5.*

I liked this book a lot. I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed it as much reading it as I did listening, because the narrator is fantastic. I love the tone in Elizabeth Peters's books, and Barbara Rosenblat really delivers. Her voice is extremely flexible, and she did a great job with accents and the range of characters.

Vicky Bliss, an extremely tall and buxom historian, finds what sh
Simon Mcleish
May 01, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in June 1999.

One of Elizabeth Peters' earliest novels (the first of the Vicky Bliss series), Borrower of the Night does not quite have as well developed a sense of satire as many of her later books. It is more like the romances of a writer like Victoria Holt than a spoof of the genre.

Some elements of the romance genre are made fun of. The character of Vicky Bliss is made deliberately too good to be true: not only does she fit into an accepted notion of femini
Feb 15, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vicky Bliss decided at a young age that she would not ever get married. Her tall height and high IQ was what kept boys away when she was ten years old. However, now men seem to be determined to change her mind. Vicky must battle with her coworker Tony who is determined to prove himself her intellectual superior in order to dominate over her and make her his wife. They compete to find the long lost Riemenschneider shrine in Rothenburg, Germany. Vicky soon discovers that she has more people to com ...more
I hear the library keeps Elizabeth Peters' books under lock and key so I had to read one to see what the fuss was all about. I'm not head over heals in love with sleuth, Vicky Bliss, certainly not comparable to the girl crush I had on Nancy Drew and Linda Craig (she had a palomino horse I soooo coveted) when I was in my formative years, but nonetheless I might just be at the infatuation stage, and could possibly move into an "in a relationship" facebook status with this art historian, brainiac f ...more
Oct 13, 2013 Natalie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This series is covered in praise and high recommendations. After reading the first book, I really can't see why. The introduction was messy, the pacing was slow, the reasoning for searching for the treasure flimsy and the main character was not someone that anyone could identify with. I actually wanted to give up about 100 pages in, but decided to push through just to see if Vicky and Co. could actually find the ancient treasure. Vicky is narcissistic, pushy, cowardly, and egotistical. Tony, her ...more
Trudy Pomerantz
Oct 27, 2012 Trudy Pomerantz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Another one of those meh books. This is the second Elizabeth Peters' book that I have read and I can't say that I particularly like either of them primarily because I do not like the protagonist - in this case I found her boring, self-centred and histrionic - and most amazing of all she ended up with both of the heroes liking her. This simply strained my credulity beyond what it was able to bear. Oh well, at least I am borrowing the audiobooks from the library and did not waste time reading them ...more
Jan 10, 2009 Trin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, american-lit
This was a fairly unremarkable mystery/thriller with supernatural trappings. I found Vicky's assertions of toughness and her triumph over the (not just shown to be, but frequently referred to as) male chauvinists fighting with and against her to find an ancient Germanic treasure to be rather self-conscious; the tone of the whole book, actually, is like that. I'm told the series gets much better with the next book, so I will give it a shot, but this volume really didn't do much for me.
This was a re-read and I had the hardest time getting into it. If this had been my first Elizabeth Peters book, I'm not sure I would've read anything else by her. It was just really slow to get started. While it was a bit dated (it was written in 1973) it was still an enjoyable read, just not my favorite book by her.

I rarely say this, but I don't recommend starting this series with the first book. The later books are much better.
I've enjoyed other books by this author. This one was even more fun because it takes place in Rothenberg, Germany which I am familiar with. The mystery and suspense was good and the banter was fun. On top of that the castle offered mysterious rooms and passageways with near fatal scrapes for Vicky the historian.
Jan 02, 2016 Kat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really good and fun mystery, engagingly written.
Aug 30, 2007 Trude rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just plain fun. And you'll actually learn a lot (as you always do with her novels) about history - this time it's German/medieval. :)
Jun 20, 2008 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Shannon by: Michelle Rock
It was hard for me to get into this at first but as soon as I did I couldn't put it down. Apparently it is a series so here I go. I am going to have to keep reading:)
Jane Chizmar
Mar 17, 2014 Jane Chizmar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great read ...a lot of twists and turns to keep you guessing. Love her sleuth, Vicki almost as much as Amelia Peabody in her other series.
Oct 01, 2009 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Revisiting the Vicky Bliss series, of which this is the first.

Although I tend to despise sarcastic heroines, Vicky is the exception - absolutely love her!
Mistress   ~ ♠ Mistral's Kiss ♠ ~ (Mist)
Had it's moments, but all in all not my cuppa. I hear the series gets more interesting with the intro of a reoccurring art thief character, but I don't see my self hunting it down
Amber P
Oct 27, 2016 Amber P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dec 05, 2016 Annie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was dramatic, spooky, and exciting, and kept me guessing all through the story. At times it reminded me of Barbara Michael's "Ammie, Come Home." But then why not, they are both the same author (Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters), after all. Great mystery, with some great history thrown in for fun. Loved it and can't wait to read the next in the series.
Shayna Ross
Jan 05, 2017 Shayna Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know I read some of this series a long time ago, and I know I really quite enjoyed it. I might have to revisit some old favorites here.
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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

Vicky Bliss (7 books)
  • The Camelot Caper  (Vicky Bliss, #.5)
  • Street of the Five Moons (Vicky Bliss, #2)
  • Silhouette in Scarlet (Vicky Bliss, #3)
  • Trojan Gold (Vicky Bliss, #4)
  • Night Train to Memphis (Vicky Bliss, #5)
  • The Laughter of Dead Kings (Vicky Bliss, #6)

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“Everything has happened before - not once, but over and over again. We may not be able to solve our problems through what are pompously called "the lessons of history," but at least we should be able to recognize the issues and perhaps avoid some of the solutions that have failed in the past. And we can take heart in our own dilemma by realizing that other people in other times have survived worse.” 12 likes
“love has a very dulling effect on the brain” 7 likes
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