Devil May Care by Elizabeth Peters fulfills
the category “Book with a Book on the Cover” for the PopSugar 2020 Reading
Challenge. Both the audio book cover and the paperback/digital cover have a book present. Important because….books….(No spoiling!)
Disclaimer: I messed up the blog. This was not the
entry planned for today and not the book I presumed to use for the category. I
was all set to blog Drama by Raina Telgemeier for the Banned Book Week
entry when I realized that’s
next week, Sept 20. According to my handy schedule, I could’ve switched to A Killer Read by Erika Chase, if only I had finished it.
Yikes. Time for Plan B.
I can usually run through a short audio in three to four
days. Paper books take me forever. I can’t explain why. Anyway, my Gold Membership at Audible turned
gold this week. I realized I could get many older titles for free. I don’t know
what the entire deal was, but free Elizabeth Peters titles and some MC Beaton
too? (See entry 2). Yes, thank you. I grabbed a ton. And conveniently, the list
included novels I hadn’t read by Ms. Peters. Seven hours later, here I am penning
the blog (that should be up already but you all are sooooooooo understanding.).
Devil May Care is a cozy, stand-alone mystery
written in 1977. Yes, it’s
older, but it still has some great elements that transcend time. The story
follows a young woman house-sitting for her aunt when mysterious events begin
to happen. The aunt—eccentric to a fault—has a house perfect for a haunting.
Poor Ellie must endure a treasure trove of pets, various ghosts scaring the
life out of her, and a cute lawn-boy who’s really a medic. The dialog is wonderful,
and the characters are fun. Some stereotypes are prevalent, and a romance hides
in the story’s depths. Ms. Peters makes a few references to Agatha Christie
along the way with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I loved it.
read most of Ms. Peters’ Amelia Peabody novels. Egyptology was a fad for me in
my twenties. I loved her strong female characters she uses in all her books.
Perhaps a product of the Feminism movement of the seventies, the main female
characters are never wishy-washy waifs. Aunt Kate in this tale had a feel of
Amelia Peabody, adventurous, strong, and determined. Ellie, who was the focus
of the story, was not as strong, but she pulled through. She seemed to grow as
the story rolled over her.
A note on that: The book began oddly. Well, odd for a
what would be today’s
writing conventions. Ellie’s fiancé holds the point of view for a while (on
audio, so I didn’t notice chapters…). He’s a huge jerk—arrogant, pompous, and condescending
to Ellie. I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep reading after a fifteen minutes of
this ass telling how he would train Ellie to be the perfect wife. But I knew it
was Elizabeth Peters, so I kept going, hoping Ellie would pop him one and move
on. In the current literary market, an author could never have such a vile
character start a cozy or a romance. Readers might not stand for it, and
publishers would turn it down flat. Interesting how reading and writing have
changed over forty years.
I also loved that there wasn’t a murder! A crime book with no murder? Crazy, right? Ms.
Peters presenting a great who-dun-it without the ghastly aspect of a dead body.
(Though there were a few times I thought we were headed there…)
All in all, a nice, quick read over a Wednesday
night, and most of Thursday.
I give Devil May Care by Elizabeth Peters Four Rare
Books on Genealogy.