Review: Crocodile on the Sandbank

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wholly original idea: a modern-written Victorian mystery with a woman at its center. Crocodile on a Sandbank took me a few pages to get into, but once I settled into the Victorian-esque prose (and spellings! and cultural norms!), it felt as cozy as a carriage ride. And the mystery totally fooled me!

Amelia Peabody is a self-possessed woman of means out to see the world. She’s Jane Eyre with money and a backbone. She finds herself a traveling companion (whose own backstory is too juicy to spoil) who more accurately reflects the damsel trope but who herself is also more than she seems. Together, they explore first Rome, then Egypt, following the real-world trend of Victorians gaining an interest in antiquities. They discover not only a pair of archeologists working on a newly-found tomb, but also a devilish mystery!

The book is charming, and very fun. It’s escapism that is happily nestled in reality, and while Amelia Peabody is fictional, the real history packed around the story is obviously well-researched and considered. It’s a thoughtful book that will make you thirst for adventure, carefully balancing modern culture with Victorian concepts. I look forward to reading more!

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