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Borrower of the Night

(Vicky Bliss #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  6,292 ratings  ·  457 reviews
Meet art historian Vicky Bliss, She is as beautiful as she is brainy--with unassailable courage, insatiable curiosity, and an expertise in lost museum treasures that often leads her into the most dangerous of situations.

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 Ger
Mass Market Paperback, 310 pages
Published September 5th 2000 by Avon (first published 1973)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  6,292 ratings  ·  457 reviews

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Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tongue-in-cheek mystery. Lots of fun with a heroine who has an insatiable curiosity tucked into the body of an amazon beauty. She is slightly cynical, extremely smart and has a high self esteem. Unusual in a heroine but Vicky Bliss is not your usual heroine.

Her kinda boyfriend makes a bet with her that if he can prove he is intellectually superior to her she will marry him. Pshaw!
The two set out to uncover a mystery and find an archeological artifact lost for centuries. Who will find it firs
Lois Bujold
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: readers fond of romantic suspense with more suspense and less romance (so far)
Recommended to Lois by: reread
3-plus, really, since it was certainly rereadable. I seem to be on an Elizabeth Peters mini-binge this week. I had lost track of the difference between heroines Vicky Bliss and Jacqueline Kirby, and decided to refresh my memory, since my library has both short series in e-book now. Since I first read this one years back, I'd had time to forget the details, so it was almost like a whole new read. There has also been time for it to gently age from contemporary to historical fiction, urp. This kick ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
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 rated it liked it
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
Nov 09, 2013 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 her books a long time ago. I sifted through my shelf only recently, determining which series belonged together and other works. It is worth the wait and I am eager to delve into her novels much more. It took thinking to decide whether or not I’d dole out 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 confi
Jul 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I enjoyed this series immensely.
Aug 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
I loved the first chapter of this book. Vicky's introduction, Tony's proposal, the is good fun and left me chuckling. And I love the end. The conclusion to the bet I didn't see coming because series like this tend to follow a pattern and it didn't occur to me the pattern would deviate.
The mystery itself only gets about 3 stars from me. It was clever and plays off the reader's assumptions nicely, but it was mostly Vicky and Tony stumbling around and then presenting brilliant hypotheses
I had forgotten just how amusing Elizabeth Peters' writing could be. I think I had a smile on my face for nearly the whole listen. Vicky and Tony's acrimonious and often witty comebacks while in a challenge to be the first to locate a priceless art treasure in a hauntingly old German schloss had me highly entertained from cover to cover. Getting Barbara Rosenblat's smoky voice and excellent handling of the story and characters was just the bonus.

Borrower of the Night is the first of the Vicky B
Jun 27, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Dec 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
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
Mar 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
The "first" Vicky Bliss but I generally skip this one in favor of Street of the Five Moons which is better written with more romantic tension even if it lacks castles with secret passages. Peters in her witchcraft cult research phase and more identifiably 70s than usual. Worth reading if you want to see Vicky's first meeting with Schmidt, perambulating armor, and a little background for Trojan Gold. I reread it in print for the first time in a long time and I think audio (read by Barbara Rosenbl ...more
Kristen Jones
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
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
Laura Floyd
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, historical
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
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Kara ✨
May 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Art historians spending their summer in search of lost, medieval masterpieces?
Count me in.

The idea of history professors in a relationship and choosing to explore Europe for the summer definitely appeals to my romantic, history-loving heart.

References and allusions to historical figures and places inspired me.
*currently planning a trip to Rothenburg, Germany*

After finishing:



The setup was excellent, but the execution, characters, and plot were too cozy in place of dynamic. The
Rachel Joy
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a lovely little mystery book!!

I don't know if Peters was a feminist or not, but her character, Vicky Bliss, is definitely a woman who knows what she wants, isn't the slightest bit afraid to go out and get it, and doesn't let the men in her life tell her what to do or when to do it. I like Vicky!

I've already ordered the next book in the series, so my recommendation goes without saying ;).
Peters was a writer ahead of her times. This was published in the early 70s, and Vicky Bliss, art historian, is certainly a 21st century woman. Smart, sassy, up to every challenge. All the more interesting as this was written when Phyllis Whitney and other wrote more traditional Romantic Suspense, with the women waiting to be rescued. Not Peters. Excellent frame--Rothenburg, artist and woodcarver Tilman Riemenschneider and a lost altarpiece he created. All the Gothic elements--a castle, ghostly ...more
Diane Lynn
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good start to the series, I will read more. If I find the time, that is!
There's a veneer of a mystery here but really it's the travelogue, (art)history lessons and wry musings of Vicky Bliss, in all her 1970's liberated gal glory that are of primary interest. It does a decent job establishing Vicky's comically jaded views about relationships though it lacks romance—the men here aren't quite on her level—a more worthy foil shows up in the next, considerably better book Street of the Five Moons.
Beth made me read this!

I REALLY enjoyed this. The writing style just clicked with me and Vicky seems like a lot of fun! (I do wish she hadn't been quite so dismissive of Irma at times.)

(view spoiler)

Re-read December 2018
Sarah Sammis
Oct 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pc, read-in-2001
My favorite series by this author.
Ashley Abate
Oct 20, 2016 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Jun 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Almost 3.5 stars. The mystery-suspense plot is a lot of fun—because who doesn't love German castles, hidden treasure, medieval legends, family ghosts, and roving suits of armor? I had a lot less patience for the battle-of-the-sexes theme the author tries to develop through the story, though. It doesn't really work to have Tony be a generally decent and nice guy and then suddenly flip a switch and have him act condescending and arrogant every time the author wants to have Vicky get miffed at some ...more
Mary Ann
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-e-books, audio
Dr. Vicky Bliss is a strong, intelligent woman, who learned very young that because she was smarter than the boys in her class they felt threatened by her. When she blossomed into womanhood, it just got worse for her. "She collected degrees like other women collected engagement rings." was the quote that I remembered the best. When she is hired to be a teacher at an exclusive school in the mid-west, she meets Tony, another teacher who is not threatened by her looks or intelligence. He proposes t ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This cover is the worst! Seriously, what were they thinking?

Buuuuut, I still really like this book, and this series. This is definitely not the best one, but it introduces Vicky and Tony and the loveable (sad and sorry) Schmidt, and has such a great ending! Another reviewer mentioned that the narration makes everything seem cartoonish, but really that's just Peters's style--these are definitely not serious thrillers, but instead sort of romantic comedy adventures, this one extremely light on the
It took some time before the book actually picked up, so I DID enjoy parts of it. But for the most part, it was a bit boring, dragged a little, and I had some trouble really relating with the characters; although Vicky was pretty fun at some points. The men were all jerks.

So this book was just a so-so, though I had fun when things finally got interesting in the middle.

Possible review to come.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it
A solid start to this series. Not sure I loved our heroine as much as Ms Peters other characters but like the way the narrator brought this one to life.
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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

Vicky Bliss (7 books)
  • The Camelot Caper  (Vicky Bliss, #0.5)
  • 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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