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A River in the Sky - Elizabeth Peters
Genre: Mystery

Having been a fan of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody mysteries for many years, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw she had written a new addition to the series.

Peters has set A River in the Sky in 1910, for fans of the series this means it comes between Guardian of the Horizon and A Falcon at the Portal.
At this time things are heating up politically in the Ottoman Empire and events are in motion that will lead toward the Ottoman-German Alliance in 1914. The Emersons end up smack in the middle of the political turmoil (as is their wont) which this year ends up being Jerusalem rather than Luxor.

Peters has always made her love for history evident in her books, and it has been something I particularly appreciate about this series. However I feel that in this particuar novel she got a bit carried away with wanting the setting to involve pre-WWI politics and the plot consequently became less focused.
I think that in trying to include English secret agents, German spies, underground resistance groups, Turkish militants and corrupt religious leaders too much explanation was necessary before the plot could move forward.
Unlike most other Amelia Peabody books there was not one main mystery which moved the plot along; instead there were mini mysteries that were more like intrigues and unexpected happenings and less like mysteries. The only mystery that continued through until the end was the identity of a particular person and the explanation ended up being very anti-climactic. A lot of the questions that were brought up by the plot either resolved themselves into some ordinary explanation or were explained away quickly at the end of the book.
The main reason I have come to love these books is the characters. One can't help but feel that Peters is writing a bit of herself into Amelia and the fact that she is willing to show when Amelia is being overconfident or ridiculous has always been endearing to me. The books are primarily written in first person (except for the bits from Rameses' journal) and Peters does a brilliant job of conveying a realistically flawed character - who is aware of her flaws - without allowing her to admit it explicitly. Unlike the plot, this aspect of Peters' writing was as good as ever.

Though I still love Peters' writing, I found this book to be mediocre and very very thin on plot.

That said, I still look forward excitedly to see what Elizabeth Peters will write next.

Currently reading:
The Secret Garden - Francis Hodgson Burnett
Unseen Academicals - Terry Pratchett
The Man Who Knew Too Much - G.K. Chesterton


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