The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess – Audio Edition

Posted by on Sep 12, 2017 in 2.5 stars, 2017, Audio, Book Review, Elizabeth Peters | 0 comments

The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess narrated by Barbara RosenblatThe Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess narrated by Barbara Rosenblat

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #20 in the Amelia Peabody series publication order, #14 in story chronology order
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication Date: 2017
Length: 13 hours, 18 minutes
Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Egypt, 1912. Amelia Peabody and her dashing archeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, are once again in danger as they search for a priceless stolen bust of legendary Queen Nefertiti and Amelia finds herself the target of assassins in this long-awaited, eagerly anticipated final installment of Elizabeth Peters’ best-selling, beloved mystery series.
Arriving in Cairo for another thrilling excavation season, Amelia is relaxing in a well-earned bubble bath in her elegant hotel suite in Cairo when a man with a knife protruding from his back staggers into the bath chamber and utters a single word – “murder” – before collapsing on the tiled floor, dead. Among the few possessions he carried is a sheet of paper with Amelia’s name and room number and a curious piece of pasteboard the size of a calling card bearing one word: “Judas”. Most peculiarly, the stranger was wearing a gold-rimmed monocle in his left eye. . . .

My Thoughts:
I have listened to and enjoyed all the Amelia Peabody books. Barbara Rosenblat’s narration has added to the entertainment. This will remain an audio book series that I will recommend. When Barbara Mertz (Elizabeth Peters) passed away I resigned myself to the end of the series. The good thing was that she had written the final book in the story chronology and her recent books went back and fit in the timeline between previous books. This meant that the series was left without an ending.

The Painted Queen was an unfinished manuscript that the author left when she died. Her estate asked Mertz’s friend Joan Hess to complete the book.

I knew going in that this wasn’t going to be classic Amelia Peabody but I couldn’t resist the chance for one last adventure with Amelia and her family. The book was enjoyable but it was clearly not all the original author’s work. It’s an adequate addition to the series but not a necessary one.

 

Rating
3 
<img src= 2.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters – Audio Edition

Posted by on May 27, 2016 in 2 stars, 2016, Audio, Book Review, Elizabeth Peters | 2 comments

Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters narrated by Barbara Rosenblat

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: Orginally 1973, this audio edition 1993
Length: 7 hours, 21 minutes
Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat
Source: Purchased

The Book
From the publisher:

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 German castle in the town of Rothenburg. The prize has called to art historian Vicky Bliss, drawing her and an arrogant male colleague into the forbidding citadel and its dark secrets. But the treasure hunt soon turns deadly. Here, where the blood of the long-forgotten damned stains ancient stones, Vicky must face two equally perilous possibilities. Either a powerful supernatural evil inhabits this place . . . or someone frighteningly real is willing to kill for what Vicky is determined to find.

My Thoughts
I read and adored Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series. I listened to the entire series and all but the first couple were narrated wonderfully by Barbara Rosenblat.

It’s been a while since I finished that series and after my last audiobook I wanted something light and not too long. It was time to finally give Peters’ other series a try. I knew the Vicky Bliss series was quite different from Amelia Peabody but I’ve heard from friends that it’s fun.

I wasn’t expecting a lot but it’s pretty obvious that this book is from the author’s earlier days of writing mysteries. It’s the first in this series and was written even before the first Amelia Peabody book.

It’s really not all that good. The mystery is convoluted and the characters aren’t all that likable. Even Vicky borders on annoying here and there. I was glad I had the audio edition because I have no idea how to pronounce all the German names and locations.

I generally enjoy Barbara Rosenblat’s narration but this was really just average for her too. Even the production as a whole seemed average with too much mouth noises and paper shuffling.

Knowing the author’s history and that this was such an early book I’m willing to not give up on the series. I’m willing to write this off as a misfire. I’ll give the second book in the series a try some time but if that isn’t much better I won’t listen to any more.

Rating
2 stars Rating 2/5 for the book

3 stars 3/5 for the narration

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Audiobook – Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in 2014, 4 stars, Book Review, Elizabeth Peters | 3 comments

The Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters

Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters

Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: #18 in the Amelia Peabody series publication order, #19 in story chronology order
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2006 Harper Audio
Length: 13 hours, 44 minutes
Read by: Barbara Rosenblat
Source: Purchased

The Short Version:
The discovery of King Tut’s tomb and potential danger to the members of her family keep Amelia Peabody Emerson busy.

Why I Read It:
This has been one of my favorite series in audio format and I’m sorry to reach the end of it.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Banned forever from the eastern end of the Valley of the Kings, eminent Egyptologist Radcliffe Emerson’s desperate attempt to regain digging rights backfires—and his dream of unearthing the tomb of the little-known king Tutankhamon is dashed. Now Emerson, his archaeologist wife, Amelia Peabody, and their family must watch from the sidelines as Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter “discover” the greatest Egyptian treasure of all time.

But the Emersons’ own less impressive excavations are interrupted when father and son Ramses are lured into a trap by a strange group of villains ominously demanding answers to a question neither man comprehends. And it will fall to the ever-intrepid Amelia to protect her endangered family—and perhaps her nemesis as well—from a devastating truth hidden uncomfortably close to home . . . and from a nefarious plot that threatens the peace of the entire region.

My Thoughts:
Note on series order: I read this one out of publication order because I’m reading the series in order of the story. You can find the chronology here.

Elizabeth Peters planned all along to have this series end with the discovery of the tomb of Tutenkhamon by Howard Carter working on behalf of Lord Carnarvon. Since her characters could not actually ‘discover’ the tomb without significantly altering history she manages to have them close to the events surrounding the discovery and the beginnings of the process of clearing the tomb.

As with the rest of the series it’s a mix of mystery, historical fiction, humor and real people and events. The series spans nearly 40 years of both real and fictional history. Amelia and her family and circle of friends have grown throughout the series and the multiple generations of family and friends have become well known friends to me. I will miss them.

As usual for books from this series I’m going to share a few quotes that made me giggle along the way.

“How nice,” I said, glancing at Emerson’s scowling countenance. “I will send a little note inviting them to tea this afternoon.”

“You do so against my wishes,” said Emerson, sticking out his chin.

“Yes, yes, my dear, I understand. Run along now and look for tombs.”

A cloud of pale dust rose heavenward. Ramses broke into a run. “Stay back,” he shouted.

Naturally I proceeded a tthe quickest pace I could manage.

“Not to mention the absence of motive for a murderous attack”, I said. “At least I can’t think of one.”

“Do I detect a certain note of regret?” Ramses asked gravely.

It was just one of his little jokes. “I would prefer a nice simple murder to our present state of confusion”, I replied, only half in jest.

“Sorry about this, Amelia,” said Cyrus, trying to restrain his guest. “I couldn’t stop him. He’s kind of upset.”

“So I see. Sit down and be quiet, Sir William!”

I did not shout; I employed the tone of voice I have learned to use on recalcitrant persons. Sir William of course did as I ordered. He was seriously out of breath anyhow.

I highly recommend the audio editions of this series and I also recommend listening to then in the order of the story as listed in the link above.

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the book

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the narration


SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.

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Audiobook – The Serpent on the Crown by Elizabeth Peters

Posted by on Mar 14, 2014 in 2014, 4 stars, Audio, Book Review, Elizabeth Peters | 1 comment

The Serpent on the Crown by Elizabeth Peters

The Serpent on the Crown by Elizabeth Peters

Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: #17 in the Amelia Peabody series publication order, #18 in story chronology order
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2005 Recorded Books (Book originally published 2005)
Length: 12 hours, 8 minutes
Read by: Barbara Rosenblat
Source: Purchased

The Short Version:
A “cursed” statue of unknown origin and a murder lead Amelia Peabody and her family on a search that may lead them to both danger and an important archaeological find.

Why I Read It:
This has been one of my favorite series and I’ve enjoyed binge listening to the final few books in the series

The Book:
From the publisher:

A priceless relic has been delivered to the Emerson home overlooking the Nile. But more than history surrounds this golden likeness of a forgotten king, for it is said early death will befall anyone who possesses it.

The woman who implores the renowned family of archaeologists and adventurers to accept the cursed statue insists the ill-gotten treasure has already killed her husband. Further, she warns, unless it is returned to the tomb from which it was stolen, more will surely die. With the world finally at peace—and with Egypt’s ancient mysteries opened to them once more—Amelia Peabody and her loved ones are plunged into a storm of secrets, treachery, and murder by a widow’s strange story and even stranger request. Each step toward the truth reveals a new peril, suggesting this curse is no mere superstition. And the next victim of the small golden king could be any member of the close-knit clan—perhaps even Amelia herself.

My Thoughts:
Note on series order: I read this one out of publication order because I’m reading the series in order of the story. You can find the chronology here.

This is the 18th and penultimate book in the Amelia Peabody series. After listening to Barbara Rosenfelt expertly perform the audio editions of these books over several years I’m actually a bit sad to have started the final book immediately after finishing this one.

I thoroughly enjoy the mix of historical fiction interspersed with real people (Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon), and plenty of humor. Barbara Rosenblat’s narration really brings the stories to life for me.

As usual for books from this series I’m going to share a few quotes that made me giggle along the way.

“Gargery!” I exclaimed. “Why did you entrust such a delicate task to him? The old fool will go blundering around –“

“Sometimes blundering accomplishes more than tact” retorted Emerson, who was certainly in a position to know.

As I am sure I need not tell the Reader, these arrangements were my idea and Emerson had not given in easily. I did not clam the credit since I had learned that in marriage tact is not only good manners but good strategy.

Emerson was on the veranda listening (a word which is seldom applicable to Emerson) to the conversation between Ramses and Mr. Katchenovsky.

Emerson bared his large white teeth. “Off you go. And don’t try
to bribe Hassan, he is incorruptible.” Hassan glanced at his father, Daoud, who stood with arms folded. “He is,” said Daoud. “Whatever it means.”

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the book

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the narration


SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.

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Audiobook – Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters

Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in 2013, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Elizabeth Peters | 3 comments

Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters

Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters

Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: #15 in the Amelia Peabody series publication order, #17 in story chronology order
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2003 Recorded Books (Book originally published 2003)
Length: 15 hours, 10 minutes
Read by: Barbara Rosenblat
Source: Library

The Short Version:
With World War I over the extended Emerson/Peabody clan is all together for the first time in a long time but they’re still in danger.

Why I Read It:
This is one of my favorite series and I’m doing a bit of binge listening even though I know I’m going to be sad when I finish the final two books.

The Book:
From the publisher:

The Great War has ended at last. No longer must archaeologist Amelia Peabody and her husband, Emerson, the distinguished Egyptologist, fear for the life of their daring son, Ramses, now free from his dangerous wartime obligations to British Intelligence. The advent of a season of joy and peace marks a time of new beginnings in Luxor, with delightful additions to the growing Emerson family and fascinating wonders waiting to be discovered beneath the shifting Egyptian sands.

But in the aftermath of conflict, evil still casts a cold shadow over this violence-scarred land. The theft of valuable antiquities from the home of a friend causes great concern in the Emerson household. Ramses’s strange encounter with a woman costumed in the veil and gold crown of a goddess only deepens the mystery. And the brutal death of the suspected thief washes the unsettling affair in blood.

My Thoughts:
Note on series order: I read this one out of publication order because I’m reading the series in order of the story. You can find the chronology here.

I always enjoy an adventure with Amelia Peabody Emerson and her family. I’m down to the last few books in the series and I’m binge listening to them close together and having a wonderful time.

My favorite part about this one was having all the extended family in Egypt and the multiple generations all together for the first time in many books.

With the war over and Ramses done working for Military Intelligence it seems like a peaceful time is ahead for the family but it’s not to be. A kidnapping followed by multiple occurrences of obvious sabotage make it clear that someone is out to get the family and their friends.

Amelia is her usual intrepid and hilarious self and she made me laugh along the way. The way the solution to the mystery played out was both interesting and fun.

Barbara Rosenblat does such a masterful job of voicing a wide variety of characters in this series. She manages to portray a large cast with varying accents and I never lose track of who is speaking.

This continues to be one of my favorite series to experience via audio but you really need to start at the beginning with Crocodile on the Sandbank.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the narration


SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.

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Audiobook – The Golden One by Elizabeth Peters

Posted by on Nov 15, 2013 in 2013, 4 stars, Audio, Book Review, Elizabeth Peters | 3 comments

The Golden One by Elizabeth Peters

The Golden One by Elizabeth Peters

Genre: Historical Mystery/Suspense
Series: #14 in the Amelia Peabody series publication order, #16 in story chronology order
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2002
Length: 17 hours, 49 minutes
Read by: Barbara Rosenblat
Source: Library

The Short Version:
In 1917 Egypt Amelia Peabody Emerson and her family deal with tomb robbers and a secret mission for the British Government.

Why I Read It:
This is one of my favorite series and I’m binge listening even though I know I’m going to be sad when I finish the last book.

The Book:
From the publisher

A new year, 1917, is dawning, and the Great War that ravages the world shows no sign of abating. Answering the siren call of Egypt once more, Amelia Peabody and her family arrive at their home in Luxor to learn of a new royal tomb ransacked by thieves. Soon, a more disturbing outrage concerns the archaeologists: the freshly and savagely slain corpse of a thief defiling the ancient burial site.

Besieged by the British and defended by formidable Turkish and German forces, the fortified seaport of Gaza guards the gateway to the Holy Land. Answering a call he cannot refuse from British military intelligence, Amelia’s son Ramses must journey to this ancient, fabled city to undertake a mission as personal as it is perilous. Death will surely be his lot if he is caught or exposed. Meanwhile, Ramses’s wife, Nefret, guards a secret of her own.

My Thoughts:
Note on series order: I read this one out of publication order because I’m reading the series in order of the story. You can find the chronology here.

I always enjoy an adventure with Amelia Peabody Emerson and her family. I’m down to the last few books in the series and I’m binge listening to them back to back and having a wonderful time.

This one is less mystery and more adventure and suspense which works just fine. My only quibble with this particular book in the series is that the two main storylines are really not interconnected at all. The story of the newly found tomb and the tomb robbers is partially wrapped up and abruptly dropped while the Emersons as a family traipse off to Gaza tagging along with the spy mission of Ramses. Only after this interlude is completed does the story return to the search for the new tomb that is the source of the artifacts that started the initial story back in Cairo. It feels like Peters had the two stories in the works and neither was enough for a book so they were blended (rather awkwardly in my opinion) into this one book.
Despite that it was still just a whole lot of fun. Plenty of adventure and danger and good (and bad on the part of Amelia’s husband) disguises.

With her trusty parasol at hand Amelia is always ready for whatever surprise comes along.

These are a few quotes that made me giggle:

Occasionally Amelia sounds like me:

“Emerson,” I said, choosing my words with care, “it is a sheer drop from the cleft down to the base of the cliff. If you are bent on breaking your arm or your leg or all three, find a place closer to home so we won’t have to carry you such a distance.”

I need a good stout parasol.

Nefret had gone at once to Emerson and was examining his arm. She let out a choked laugh. “She’s used the ribs and shaft of the parasol for a splint!”
Once again proving, if proof were needed, the all-round usefulness of a good stout parasol,” said his mother.

Amelia’s perception of men makes me laugh:

Selim managed to mend the tire, despite Emerson’s attempts at advice and assistance.

She’s just so practical.

“We need a gag, Peabody. Tear up some extraneous garment or other.”
“I do not possess any extraneous garments, Emerson. Hit him over the head

Barbara Rosenblat does such a masterful job of voicing a wide variety of characters in this series. Her talent truly stood out for me in a scene at a party where in quick succession and moving back and forth she deftly handles multiple accents
and characters who are British, Egyptian and Americans (from multiple regions) and I never lost track of who was speaking.

This continues to be one of my favorite series to experience via audio but you really need to start at the beginning with Crocodile on the Sandbank.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the narration


SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.

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