Friday, August 1, 2008
Title: Night Train to Memphis
Author: Elizabeth Peters
Publishing Date: September 1994
Night Train to Memphis is the fifth Vicky Bliss mystery. This is NOT a good place to start if you haven’t read any previous Vicky Bliss books. A few characters and relationships have already been established in previous books and this book will be enjoyed more if you are already aware of these characters, more specifically Schmidt and Sir John Smythe.
Vicky Bliss is an assistant curator at the National Museum in Munich and has been asked by the police to assist them on a certain case. She accepts and will be a presenter on a very exclusive cruise on the Nile River in Egypt. At least one other person on this cruise is supposed to be a criminal that Vicky can identify, which is why the police have asked for her help. On the cruise, Vicky gets a very nasty shock from her former lover Sir John Smythe and she is off and running onto another adventure.
This story was a lot of fun. Vicky as a narrator is full of dry wit, constantly telling it like it is. She is a down-to-earth person that everyone can relate to easily. Her boss, Schmidt is hysterical. I don’t think I have encountered a character quite like him before. In between outsmarting the bad guys there are some funny moments. The thing about them is that they are not “in your face” laugh out loud moments, but much more subtle. It is hard for me to describe, but Peters has a writing a style that I thoroughly enjoy. There are nuances to her humor where you almost have to be an “insider” to get it. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.
The mystery is fully developed with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing as to “who done it”. This book has an Agatha Christie feel to it. When Vicki is on the cruise, all the suspects are stagnant; everyone on the cruise is suspect. In a way it reminded me of a movie I once watched staring Mia Farrow called. It was Death on the Nile. This first part is all mystery. Sometimes it dragged in places where I was waiting for the action to catch up. About halfway through it did and the story moved along at a brisk pace. All the romance was on this end of the story. It wraps up nicely with Vicky getting her “Happy ever after”. I believe that this story was to be the conclusion to this series. Recently, however, Ms. Peters has written one more Vicky Bliss novel Laughter of Dead Kings to be released August 2008.
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