If you want to read a cosy mystery series set in Egypt, you’ll end up reading the Amelia Peabody series due to its extreme popularity. Elizabeth Peters created a twenty book series set mostly in Egypt with excellent characters and amusing stories. And I’m here to read and review them all!
I’ve read Christian Jacq’s Ramses series when I was fifteen years old, and since then, I’m in love with Egyptology. (And, yes, with Ramses as well!) So when I discovered Amelia Peabody, I knew I’d enjoy it a lot. There is a lot to love in this beautiful series; wonderful characters, magical settings, a powerful feminist detective (Amelia Peabody herself), wonderful enemies, most charismatic cats (well, they are all charismatic creatures, aren’t they?) and a lot more!
Elizabeth Peters was an Egyptologist, and she wrote this series mixing facts with fiction. There are real archaeologists and real sites in the stories. So this makes the series an excellent choice for the ones who are interested in Ancient Egypt. Isn’t it amazing learning while reading wonderful books? I have to mention that the mysteries themselves are all exciting and Amelia Peabody is always lovely to read about. So read for the joy and stay for Ancient Egypt and Amelia Peabody!
Amelia Peabody Series
- Crocodile on the Sandbank
- The Curse of the Pharaohs
- The Mummy Case
- Lion in the Valley
- The Deeds of the Disturber
- The Last Camel Died at Noon
- The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog
- The Hippopotamus Pool
- Seeing a Large Cat
- The Ape Who Guards the Balance
- The Falcon at the Portal
- He Shall Thunder in the Sky
- Lord of the Silent
- The Golden One
- Children of the Storm
- Guardian of the Horizon
- The Serpent on the Crown
- Tomb of the Golden Bird
- A River in the Sky
- The Painted Queen
Elizabeth Peters / Barbara Mertz
Barbara Louise Mertz was an American author who wrote under her own name as well as under the pseudonyms Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels. In 1952, she received a PhD in Egyptology from the University of Chicago. While she was best known for her mystery and suspense novels, in the 1960s she authored two books on ancient Egypt, both of which have remained in print ever since.
Barbara Gross was born on September 29, 1927, in Canton, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in 1947, a master’s degree in 1950, and a PhD in Egyptology in 1952, having studied with John A. Wilson. She authored two books on ancient Egypt (both of which have been continuously in print since first publication) but primarily wrote mystery and suspense novels.
She became a published writer in 1964. She was married to Richard Mertz for 19 years (1950-1969) which ended in divorce. They had two children, Peter and Elizabeth Mertz. Under the name Barbara Michaels, she wrote primarily gothic and supernatural thrillers. Her publisher chose that pseudonym since Mertz had already published one non-fiction book on ancient Egypt, and the publisher did not want Mertz’s novels to be confused with her academic work. Under the pseudonym Elizabeth Peters, Mertz published mysteries, including her Amelia Peabody historical mystery series, using a nom de plume drawn from the names of her two children.
She was a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of KMT, (“A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt”), Egypt Exploration Society, and the James Henry Breasted Circle of the University of Chicago Oriental Institute. Mertz was also a feminist, a topic that frequently arose in her fiction, and in her professional life. Mertz founded “Malice Domestic”, a Washington-based organization for women mystery writers, “because she thought men were getting all the prizes. She also started a scholarship for women writers at Hood College. Mertz died at her home in Maryland on August 8, 2013.
Mertz received a number of award wins and nominations from the mystery community. Her first recognition came when Trojan Gold was nominated for the 1988 Anthony Award in the “Best Novel” category; the following year, Naked Once More won the 1989 Agatha Award in the same category. Following this Mertz earned a series of Agatha Award “Best Novel” nominations, including The Last Camel Died at Noon in 1991; The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog in 1992; Night Train to Memphis in 1994; Seeing a Large Cat in 1997; The Ape Who Guards the Balance in 1998; and He Shall Thunder in the Sky in 2000 which also received an Anthony Award “Best Novel” nomination in 2001.
Mertz received a final Agatha Award nomination for “Best Novel” in 2002 for The Golden One and won the “Best Non-fiction Work” the following year for Amelia Peabody’s Egypt: A Compendium, which also received an Edgar Award nomination in 2004 in the “Best Critical / Biographical Work” category. Mertz was also the recipient of a number of grandmaster and lifetime achievement awards, including being named Grandmaster at the Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grandmaster by the Mystery Writers of America in 1998; in 2003, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Malice Domestic Convention. In 2012 she was honoured with the first Amelia Peabody Award at the Malice Domestic Convention; the award was named after the leading character in her long-running series.
Did you read this series or hear about the books before? If you’d like to join me in reading this series, comment below, and we can share the joy! It is always exciting to share bookish thoughts with bookish friends, especially if the setting is Ancient Egypt. Enjoy!