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Editorial Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Barbara Rosenblat's expert performance as Egyptologist Amelia Peabody is imaginative, witty, and great fun. Rosenblat has tremendous vocal range, capturing many characters of different genders and ethnicities. This rich and lively story is the first in Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series, and I can't wait to listen to the rest of them. — Diana Dapito

Publisher's Summary

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.
Don't miss the rest of the Amelia Peabody series. You can also check out more of our Most Addictive Series.

What members say

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  • Carrie
  • Plainfield, IL, USA
  • 12-18-04

Nice break from the usual-

I am a hardcore mystery fan, usually attracted to the detective or forensic genre. But having read a review of this book (non-audio version) on an e-list, I thought I would check it out.

Amelia Peabody has a wry, dry sense of humor and a sarcastic nature that made me wish she was a next-door neighbor I could call and have a chat. The reader, Barbara Rosenblat I believe, did an outstanding job reading this book and with her range of character voices she uses, she really did make the entire thing come alive. I found myself looking for excuses to make car trips, simply so I could listen to more of this book, and I have to say, I was disappointed when it ended. I will be looking for the other titles in the series.

What amazed me the most was that thought I am a fan of a much more hardcore mystery, I really did enjoy this. There was a lot of historical "Egyptology" information that I found fascinating. There was also a romantic element I enjoyed. Yet had the book been described to me as a romantic/historical mystery, I probably never would have chosen it. What initially got me interested was that it was described as a "humorous mystery" and it is that as well.

If you are looking to expand your horizons a bit or just to break out of a rut, I can highly recommend this book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

144 of 145 people found this review helpful

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  • Joanna
  • SCOTTSDALE, AZ, United States
  • 10-08-08

Great Fun!

I thought it best to start the Amelia Peabody series with Perkin's first book, and I'm happy that I did. It gives great background into this fabulous woman, who will knock the socks off of anyone who loves a strong female protagonist. For someone who does not know what to expect from this book, take a female Indiana Jones in the time frame of pre-1900, and plop her in the middle of a mystery in Egypt, surrounded by an archaeological dig complete with mummies, tombs, and curses. Amelia herself is a hoot. She's audacious, bold, single-minded, a flawless planner, extraordinarily intelligent, and very intuitive. She throws out one-liners that make the reader laugh out loud, while all the while Amelia is being completely serious. She's full of sarcasm yet sage advice. She will see to it that she gets whatever she wants, but at the same time shows compassion and tenderness when called for. Just to give a head's up, she speaks with the vernacular of a late 19th century proper English "lady" so if listening to that type of speech bothers you, skip it. But while I started somewhat skeptical that I could listen to Amelia for the entire length of the book, I quickly found her quick wit, and highly entertaining narrative style, very easy to listen to. Also, the narrator does an outstanding job with the other characters, keeping them in character throughout the book. In retrospect, considering how much dialogue there is in the book, and considering how the inflections of the narrator add so greatly to the entertainment factor, I believe that this is one of those books that actually lends itself more for listening than reading. The book is full of dry humor, a mystery, interesting information about archaeology, and even romance. In short, it has all the ingredients for a lighthearted book that is just plain fun, and I couldn't stop listening until I was finished! I can't wait to download my next Elizabeth Peters' tale with Amelia Peabody.

55 of 55 people found this review helpful

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  • Robin
  • Douglaston, NY, United States
  • 02-27-08

Amelia & Barbara are Wonderful

I listened to this entire series a year ago and just listened to all 18 books again. The charecters are eccentric and endearing. The setting in Egypt is interesting and the mysteries are fun. If you enjoy mysteries, romance and continuing charecters, some of whom develop as the story unfolds you will enjoy these stories.
Read them in order beginning with this book.
Barbara Rosenblat is an absolutely amazing narrator. She does a magnificant job capturing a variety of voices; male and female from child to senior as well as Egyptian, British and American accents. Hope you enjoy Amelia and her family as much as I did.

29 of 29 people found this review helpful

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My #1 favorite series for many years

I’ve noticed lately that I seem to be writing more negative reviews than positive ones, and I decided to begin writing reviews of some of my favorite books. The Amelia Peabody series was for many years my very favorite series in any genre. It was only demoted after I discovered the Mary Russell series and the Vorkosigan series. I can’t tell you how many times I have listened to the entire series. For a while there I know I was listening to it two or three times a year.

I won’t go into the reasons why Amelia Peabody is so great because other reviewers have already done a good job with this. I totally endorse the reviews by Carrie from Plainfield, IL and Joanna from Scottsdale, AZ.

However, I do want to talk about the narrator, Barbara Rosenblat. She does an incredible job with this series. As others have noted there is much humor and sarcasm in this series and she delivers it perfectly. I only attempted to “read” rather than listen to one book in the series, and it was so much less without Barbara’s inspired acting, that I never tried it again. There is one character in the series who is first seen as a baby, then a child, young teenager, older teen, young adult and ultimately as a man in his thirties. Barbara Rosenblat manages to change his voice to be appropriate to each age and yet make it still recognizably the same person over the course of this long series. It totally blows my mind.

Audible has most books of the series, but not all of them. I know they are (or were) all available as read by Ms. Rosenblat because I had them all at one time on cassettes or CDs. Now, for some totally incomprehensible reason, Audible is acquiring the series again but read by a different person. I haven’t heard any of the books as read by the other person, but the reviews I’ve read say she is very second rate. I can’t imagine what Audible thinks they are doing with this move.

So I highly recommend that you read this series (which actually gets better as it goes along), and that you make sure to get only those recordings in which Barbara Rosenblat is the narrator.

27 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Victorian Adventure, 100 Years Later

Elizabeth Peters draws together a variety of influences to produce a somewhat Victorian, somewhat adventure-y caper novel that owes to Jane Austen, Arthur Conan Doyle, and pulp romantic adventure writers all at the same time. And it takes its flavor from its unflinching portrayal of the experience a strong-willed woman of means as she wanders through a cultural milieu whose customs are misogynistic in creepy, persuasive, and insidious ways.

The protagonist's poor regard for men has been the grounds for some criticism of Peters' Ameilia Peabody series in the past, but just speaking as one male listener I found the whole book amusing and entertaining, if not quite as fast-paced in plot as an adventure piece not imbricated with so many other novelistic strands. In the end, I kind of like Amelia, though I know she would despise me because I can wear pants whenever I want.

In fact, I probably like her well enough to join her for the _Curse of the Pharoahs_, the next book in the series. Given that it's read by Barbara Rosenblatt, it seems that you can count on an enjoyable number of hours sprinkled in with acerbic comments about men and gender roles and frequently entertaining dialog.

I was more entertained by the first book than I would have predicted, given that it's 30 years old and is rather demeaning to those of us with y-chromosomes. Perhaps I have a high tolerance for that sort of thing, but I think Rosenblatt's channelling of Amelia can be awfully entertaining. I'll be curious to see if the next book has a tighter plot and even more of the enjoyable chemistry between the principal characters.

31 of 32 people found this review helpful

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What a find!

If you enjoy the high-brow comedy and wit of movies like "Philadelphia Story", then you will love this great romantic adventure story. When I say it made me laugh out loud, I mean that literally. Amelia Peabody is a quite a character, in the best sense of the word. Barbara Rosenblat is an outstanding narrator.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Abigail
  • arlington, VA, United States
  • 06-22-09

A Fun, Light Read (or Listen)

This book is charming and at times deliberately silly. A tongue in cheek version of an Agatha Cristie, this lighthearted yarn is also quite competently written. I found this book perfect vacation or road trip reading. However, the true star is the narrator who captures perfectly the ridiculous and lovable (all you want in a mystery hero) main character Amelia, a young yet stuffy, no-nonsense British heroine and brings her vibrantly to life. The narrator deftly switches voices for the various characters with equal skill. Indeed, my boyfriend did not at first believe it was only one person. I do not tend to like female narration but I will look for more by the talented Rosenblat. The story is classic mystery with the classic *almost* predictable surprise ending. Some men may get a little bored by the joking characterization of Amelia's sidekick Evelyn, who is the more traditional heroine, delicate but with a will of steel and who brings it a romantic feel at times. Together we meet these seemingly unmarriable females as they meet each other and then meet a pair of charming and infuriating brothers in the midst of an archaeological dig. Here Jane Austine meets a classic film Egyptian mummy mystery and the combined genre create a lovely little story that is too wise to take itself seriously. I feel those who wrote badly of this book just didn't get the joke. Thats ok, this isn't Oscar Wilde but I think those who are familiar with the genre will find this a fun little gem of mystery junk food. I also was not offended by any glaring historical mistakes, something that tends to irrationally irk me in all too many books.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Kate
  • Apex, NC, USA
  • 01-23-05

I've always loved Amelia

I am familiar with both readers of these stories. And I really like
Barbara Rosenblatt for almost any book.

As for Amelia, it may seem that she bashes men, (one of the complaints in the other version) but she is highly intelligent in an era when women were expected to be stupid. When men treat her like an idiot, she tends to reciprocate in kind. When she is in the company of men who don't patronize her, she meets them as equals... which doesn't mean she doesn't argue with them, just that the arguements aren't one sided.

I greatly enjoyed the Egyptology involved in the books, the more so since Peters has a degree (can't remember if it's masters or doctoral) in Egyptology. She is also Barbara Michaels, many of who's books are also available here, if you prefer a contemporary setting.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Nancy
  • Grand Rapids, MI, USA
  • 08-24-09

The Beginning of a Very Fun Series

This is the beginning of a very enjoyable series. Elizabeth Peters has written a delightful set of books that take the reader to not so Ancient Egypt (before the great wars). A time when tombs were being discovered by Northern Europeans and they were sharing their finds with the world. We get glimpses of England and its class system along with some well deserved women's lib. These stories were enjoyed by our whole family. We found them to be a witty, mysterious and enlightening romp. The characters of Amelia Peabody, Radcliff Emerson, Rames, and Nefret all come alive in these pages.

But let us not forget the addition of the narration by Barbara Rosenblatt. She has so many voices and adds them so well, that the enjoyment of the book as an Audible Selection cannot be beat. I now read the new Elizabeth Peter's stories and hear Ms. Rosenblatt's voices speak in my head. I also look for books that Ms Roseblatt has narrated and purchase them.

We have enjoyed this whole series and you can understand why, as you are introduced to Cairo, the Souk, Amana, and the areas up and down the Nile. Each place is described in colorful detail.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen
  • Martinsville, IN, USA
  • 11-27-04

Great fun

The Amelia Peabody series of books are witty, intelligent, fun, and tongue-in-cheek. Barbara Rosenblat makes them even more engaging with her wide range of voices and marvelous performance. This is a must-hear.

35 of 38 people found this review helpful

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  • Helen
  • 04-18-10

Lively, fun mystery

Ok, the mystery might not be that much of a mystery, but there are ancient ruins, wandering mummies, beautiful damsels, adventurous heroes and a bossy but likeable heroine. This series of books are written with a wry sense of humour and a sense of the ridiculous and the narration on this audio book excellently conveys that.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Janet
  • 09-18-11


I love the Elizabeth Peters "Amelia Peabody" books. The dry wit of her writing is unsurpassed. For fans of the books any of the audio books read by Barbara Rosenblat is a joy. She "does" different voices for all of the characters and brings them to life just as I imagined them to be when reading the book. Her Amelia is correct, dry and slightly supercilious,while her Emmerson is gruff and brusque. A joy to listen to. She understands the tongue in cheek humour of the books and will have you chuckling along in no time.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Penelope
  • 08-05-13

Crocodile on the Sandbank

The character of Amelia was much to my taste and Barbara Rosenblat brought all the characters to life, I was hooked.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • cristina
  • 01-23-12

Funny and enjoyable.

It was a very pleasant experience to listening to this book. Ms Rosenblat voice caught all Amelia's personality as well as the other characters's. I am looking forward to listening to the second book of the series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Caroline
  • 04-08-13

Good Gad!

Such is the cry of Amelia Peabody Emerson in yet another rip roaring adventure. Elizabeth Peters never fails to deliver a terrific tale of adventure and daring do led by the indomitable 'Peabody'. Great stuff

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Madgey
  • 03-13-12

Laughed out loud...

This is light and easy reading. The mystery is secondary to the story; as other reviews have pointed out, it’s all quite predictable. The character of Amelia Peabody is simply hilarious & the dry wit brilliant. Manged to capture the atmosphere of the upper classes and and the remnants of the British Empire in Egypt. The narration was excellent. This is not my usual genre, but will most definitely be back for more, I fully intend to work my way through the series. I recommend you to give it go…

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Ginger
  • 11-02-17


Light and amusing. Elizabeth Peters writes evocative and beautiful descriptions of Egypt, i loved her domineering heroine and her irascible hero.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-22-17

Peabody to the rescue!

The story is well crafted, entertaining filled with historical snippets. The narrator lifts it fantastic heights

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-09-17


Brilliant narrator. Just as I imagined Amelia. I have loved this series for years but only recently found the spoken version. Thank you to all concerned.

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  • Terry Champion
  • 08-08-17

Peabody lives!

Excellently read and sounding just like I imagined all the characters would sound if alive.

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  • Robyn Allan
  • 01-05-17

3rd time around for the whole series

....I must love it. Would I love it so much if strong women explorers around the turn of the century, egypt, ancient Egypt, archaeology weren't my thing? Chuck in the adorable gruff exterior with the soft interior characters like Emerson in and what's not to love. Peabody is my all time favourite fictional heroine. Barbara rosenblatts narration is exceptional

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nette
  • 06-22-15

Great story

The story line is excellent. I was sorry when this story ended. I would loved to hear more of their explorations around Cairo.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • IsaB
  • 08-29-17

Marvelous witty exhilarating!

Such a delightful story!
Hilarious and witty and full of adventure and suspense.
Superbly narrated to capture each character wonderfully!