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The Dead Sea Cipher

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  1,546 ratings  ·  60 reviews
It was the start of a grand adventure in a land of antiquity, a rare opportunity to visit biblical places shrouded in mystery. But in a Jerusalem hotel room a world away from everything she knows, Dinah van der Lyn hears angry voices through the wall, followed by a crash and a brief cry in English...for help!

The brutal shattering of an evening's stillness becomes a prelud
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published (first published 1970)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,093)
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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.
Lisa Greer
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
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
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
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
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.
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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
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
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
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
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
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....
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
Like reading the best of Mary Stewart. Perfect mix of a strong heroine, good mystery in an interesting exotic locale, and a little romance
The characters were not well developed. Someone said in another review the characters came across as adults through the eyes of a twelve year old. They hit the mark with that comment. The "love story" was ill placed and not plausible. The protagonist was a ditzy know it all. She did foolish things no one would do at the same time she is supposed to be a well educated young woman from a respectable family. Knowing people were after her, she would go exploring on her own at every turn. I found her ...more
Livia Komosa
Only ok.... Just couldn't get into the characters and the story was choppy. The heroine drove me nuts. Not one of Peters' better ones
This was a decent enough story. I read it as a suspense/espionage story instead of a straight-forward mystery. Unlike others I didn't find Dinah to be an annoying character. Perhaps I wasn't reading her the right way. I found the book written well enough to keep me guessing who the second spy was, and the secondary romance story was okay, not a distraction to me. Heck it was cute enough. Not sure if Peters wrote another book using the same heroine but I would probably read her again.
One of my (if not my absolute) favourite works by Elizabeth Peters.

It's much the same as all her others in terms of language and plot, so I'm not quite sure why this one stands out so much for me. Perhaps content or subject matter. It's far-fetched, a trademark of Peters, but it lacks the absurdity found in most of her others works, which I appreciated very much in this.

The blurb is wrong. She doesn't hear the cry for help in Jerusalem but in Beirut, where the story starts.
phaedra lewis
I really enjoyed the old fashioned spy story and the references to academic communities which still ring true.
Mary Hoag
Cute story, quick read.
One of Peters' fiction books. Dinah van der Lyn is on a trip in Jerusalem (on her way to singing in the Opera in German) when she hears an argument in the room next door. This sends her off on an incredible adventures through ruins and deserts. There are spies and treasure and a new set of Dead Sea scrolls. Definitely not my favorite Peters romance but a good story.
Oct 19, 2008 Emilie[-MLE-] rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a lot of time on their hands
Shelves: own, elizabeth-peters
A bit slow at first. okay, VERY slow. for the first half of the book. after a while, it picks up pace nicely, but the looming "who should she trust?" decision the main character, Dinah van der Lyn, has to make (between the annoying Jeff Smith and the mysterious, dark, Gorgeous Mr.Cartwright) is solved too quickly. a nice ending, though.
Young English woman tours middle east and inadvertently becomes involves in a murder. Humorous, handsome love interests. Great details of the area. A treacherous climb into the hills looking for lost artifact. Many "interested" parties, leading to narrow escapes and deception. Great read.
Not as good as the Peabody series. That said, it was a fun read, a romantic mystery with some intrigue. I like that Peters adds so many archaelogical details, it makes it more believable. But the mystery/intrigue in this one isn't handled as well as it is in her other books.
Nov 18, 2007 Melissa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like light hearted mysteries
It's like a mad game of Clue, with criminals popping out at every corner, except the one person who you are absolutely sure is a criminal. It's a bit dated, but only through the accessories of the characters. The characters and personalities could be found everywhere.
Reading this I felt like I was reading the rough draft for Amelia Peabody (even though it was written after the first of that series) set in a more contemporary time period. It was a good story and if you enjoy the Peabody series, you'll like this one.
The detail in research is impeccable, as I've come to expect from Elizabeth Peters. This one is definitely showing its age (published in 1970 as a then-present day novel), but the late 60's references don't really detract from a good story.
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  • The Sea King's Daughter
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...
Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1) 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)

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