Monday, March 14, 2011

The Hippopotamus Pool

The title: The Hippopotamus Pool
The author: Elizabeth Peters
Publication: Warner, 1996
Got it from: Vancouver, 2001

"Another year, another dead body" is a favorite expression of the Emersons, but for me it's another year, another Amelia Peabody mystery. After last year's thrilling plotline, Amelia's husband Emerson has regained his memory and their archnemesis Sethos is dead - or is he? (Emerson: "I wouldn't put it past him to survive solely in order to annoy ME.") It's a new digging season, and a mysterious messenger seeks out the Emersons to tell them of the discovered tomb of Queen Tetisheri. This time, their children Ramses and Nefret are along for the ride and bickering only the way two non-related siblings who are destined to love each other can. Also along is their laughably inept new governess, Miss Marmaduke, and David, the grandson of their foreman Abdullah, who has a talent for forgeries. As the Emersons work on uncovering Tetisheri's tomb, it becomes clear that there are at least two sets of robbers also out for the tomb's treasures.

After The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog, which focused so much more on the adventure and the relationships, I felt that The Hippopotamus Pool fared poorly in comparison. This is not to say it wasn't enjoyable, but I felt like it was an ordinary Amelia Peabody episode that followed similar plotlines to previous works in the series. A mysterious man shows up and is soon murdered - check. Unknown adversaries threatening their digs - check. Somebody in the family is kidnapped - check. Emerson tries to protect Amelia, she wants to go, they fight and then have sex a lot, she goes into danger anyway - check. It's predictable, but it's good, and I learned some more about archaeology in this one than I have in the other ones. A visit with old friends is still pleasant, even if the cake isn't as delicious this time around.

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