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Crocodile on the Sandbank

(Amelia Peabody #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  61,817 ratings  ·  4,427 reviews
Amelia Peabody inherited two things from her father: a considerable fortune and an unbendable will. The first allowed her to indulge in her life's passion. Without the second, the mummy's curse would have made corpses of them all.
Paperback, 262 pages
Published 1988 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1975)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  61,817 ratings  ·  4,427 reviews

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Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
When I was younger, around 12 years old, I wanted to become an archeologist in Egypt. I read quite a few books about Ancient Egypt (and other equally old civilizations), ranging from the decipher of the hieroglyphic alphabet, to different theories regarding the creation of Pyramids, even about aliens. As such, it is not a great surprise that I enjoyed this novel. It is set in Egypt, at an archeological dig and it involves a mysterious walking mummy. Moreover, it wants to be a Victorian mystery w ...more
Oct 24, 2007 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
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 dete
May 12, 2009 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.
Cute cozy mystery set in Egypt. <-late 1800s, I think?


I love audiobooks and use them all the time, but I think the voice actress in this one just didn't fit quite right. I kept thinking that the words were better/funnier than she was doing them justice. Amelia sounds like she's about 50 and the chemistry between her and Emerson didn't really come through as well as I think it would have if I had read it.


Anyway. Ameilia is a cranky chick with a nice inheritance and no time for fortune hunters o
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
Jun 18, 2015 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
Jan 02, 2010 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)
 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
This was a fun, cosy read as long as you're not expecting much of a plot and don't mind a bit of cliche.

Independent, feisty Amelia Peabody, a Victorian feminist is just the sort of heroine you want in a cosy mystery set amongst the sand dunes of an archaeological dig in Egypt. An old maid at 29, she has decided to use her generous inheritence to travel and indulge her passion for Egyptology. The other characters are Amelia's companion - a young heiress who had her character ruined by an Italian
If Jane Eyre starred in an H. Rider Haggard novel written by Agatha Christie….you would get Crocodile on the Sandbank. First published in 1975, Peters overlays feminism over the gothic romance (which usually had mysterious goings-on too) and produces this engaging mystery. Extra points for using an Egyptian setting and getting the archaeology right. Amelia Peabody is a bit of a bossy bones, but you get enough of her history to see the why of it. (I’m probably more like her than I care to admit.) ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
99c Kindle sale, August 7, 2018. Today only. I bit!
2020 Review
Oh, I love this book.
I didn't love it as much as an audio version. Maybe I am just too familiar with the story, so someone else's emphasis on certain words just sounded foreign to me. But by the end I forgave and forgot because the story always leaves me satisfied.

2019 Review
I want to be Amelia Peabody. Also, I want a parasol. They seem quite useful for poking people out of the way.

March 31st, 2017
Even better than I remembered. Amelia Peabody is wonderful. If I rated this book today
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
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
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 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
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Exciting, imaginative, thrilling and very evocative. A light-hearted mystery, a strong-willed, open-minded woman explorer, a recreation of 19th century Egypt, a page-turner focused on characters' interactions - what's not to love?
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian, suspense

“My name is Amelia Peabody… I am a spinster of independent means, traveling for pleasure…I have been accused of being somewhat abrupt in my actions and decisions, but I never act without thought; it is simply that I think more quickly and more intelligently than most people. I am an excellent judge of character.”

I simply adored Amelia! She is my kind of heroine - intelligent, bold, courageous, and outrageous with a propensity for using her parasol as a weapon. She is opinionated and willfull
✨ Gramy ✨
I listened to this adventure through Hoopla, which I access through my local library. It is thrilling when I discover that a book I enjoy in audio as much as I did this one, by the talented and versatile narrator, Susan O'Malley.

I found the beginning of this tale quite comical, from the cast of quirky characters working together to catch a murderer, all the way to exploring this historical excavation of an ancient Egyptian tomb, filled with Egyptian antiquities. Some readers will find some of t
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
aThe Crumudgeon with an Umbrella

Amelia, a young 32-year old curmudgeon, was sleeping in her bed in Egypt when she saw a man or something standing by her bed. She picked up her umbrella, which she kept near her,, and began hitting the object; instead, she got her umbrella embedded in the mosquito net.

If you love women who carry dangerous umbrellas, then this is the book for you. If you love Egypt with its mummies, this again, is the book for you.

This book is hailed as being a hilarious, fun read
When I was younger, I really, really wanted to be an archaeologist. We have a book at home, called The Concise History Encyclopedia , and it is perhaps the most battered book in my house. I was nine when we bought it, and from then, till I was about 14 or 15, I used to read that book everyday, conscientiously. My brother and I used to play a game where he used to pretend to be my professor, who would ask me questions from the book. I used to draw diagrams from it and I basically knew every wo ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Jul 25, 2010 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
I love the start to this series. Amelia is hilarious, charming, smart, witty, and feisty. I love how it is Victorian but not dull, and has quite a bit of action in it. These books are very clean and I can't wait to read the next one.
The archaeology alone, back when you still had antiquarians roaming about was enough to hook me, but everything else was great. I loved how the Emerson party was into conservation and not plunder.
Like I said, can't wait to read the next one. It has something for ev
Apr 10, 2007 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
Oct 03, 2009 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
aPriL does feral sometimes
‘Crocodile on the Sandbank’, the first in the Amelia Peabody mystery series, is a perfectly splendid cozy mystery! I love the indomitable force of nature that is Miss Amelia Peabody!

English gentlewoman Amelia Peabody has recently inherited and she is now at loose ends. Despite the strictures which are socially imposed on Victorian women, she has decided to travel and have adventures. She sets out with a hired female companion for Italy! However, it becomes apparent the companion will not do - he
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
Jun 29, 2009 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. The A
May 25, 2016 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
Vimal Thiagarajan
Jul 17, 2015 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
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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

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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“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. ” 54 likes
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