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Month in review

Reviews:
Affinity by J.N. Williamson
Ashenden or the British Agent by W. Somerset Maugham
At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthessen
Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis
To Bathe in Lightning by Anne Gay
The Bird Shaman's Girl by Judith Moffett
Birthday Card, Where Are You? by Harriet Ziefert
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell Bleach 4 by Tite Kubo
Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Carnival Prize by David A Adler
Chain Letter by Christopher Pike
Class President by Johanna Hurwitz
The Diamond Shadow by Fred Chappell
Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett
Fortunately by Remy Charlip
The Great Ringtail Garbage Caper by Timothy Foote
Honesty: Zach's Tall Tale by Shelagh Canning
Journey to the Orange Islands by Tracey West
Knuffle Bunny Too by Mo Willems
Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen
M is for Malice by Sue Grafton
The Mysterious Island (Secrets of Droon 3) by Tony Abbott
Mystery of the Moaning Cave by William Arden
National Velvet by Enid Bagnold
The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope
The Recreation Room by Albert E. Cowdrey
Responsibility: Annie Shows Off by Shelagh Canning
Seeing a Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters
Sock at Work by Shelagh Canning
The Star to Every Wandering Barque by James Stoddard
Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O'Connell Thundershock in Pummelo Stadium by Tracey West
Zombies of the Gene Pool by Sharyn McCrumb

Nanowrimo
Thoughts on Writing
Thoughts on Stereotypes
Finished on a Cliffhanger

Miscellaneous
Blogging Rituals
The Butt Ugly 1970s
Car Keys
Change of Plans
Harriet's Crib
The Long Drive Home
Mount Diablo and My Inner Surveyor
Reading Bones
Saturday
Spider-man 3
A Visit

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8


Comments for Seeing a Large Cat

Seeing a Large CatSeeing a Large Cat: 11/16/07

Seeing a Large Cat marks a change in the narrative style of the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. Starting with this volume the mysteries balloon from two hundred fifty pages to almost five hundred pages. The main source of these extra pages is the "manuscript H" which is apparently written by Walter "Ramses" Emerson.

Over the course of the second half of the series (where Ramses, Nefret and David are adults), the writing style of "manuscript H" improves as does the manner in which it is integrated into the over all narrative. In this first attempt, though, the "manuscript H" inserts interrupt the flow of the story and stall the start of the actual mystery until page 125.

The mystery itself is rather simplistic once all the family drama of the early days of the rivalry and romance of Ramses and Nefret and the historical background of 1903 Egypt are pared away. A woman is found in an unknown side tomb of KV-20 (called tomb 20-A in the novel). The woman is mummified but her modern dress quickly gives away the fact that she was only recently murdered. Eventually the plot progresses enough for Amelia et al to investigate, get in trouble, need rescuing and finally escape of their own accord. Unfortunately these action scenes are buried under long dull passages. There are times when Amelia Peabody needs to be gagged.

A huge hindrance to the pacing is the tedious attention to detail. Peters (Barbara Mertz) is a trained Egyptologist and probably knows the Valley of the Kings as well as I know my local neighborhood. It helps to come to these later novels with a basic knowledge of the history (both ancient and recent) and geography of Egypt.

The other problem with the novel is Peter's growing love affair with her characters. She has become so enamored with the Emersons and their kith and kin that every single character has to be lovingly followed and described. This love affair only gets worse as the series progresses.

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