Lion in the Valley is the fourth installment in the Amelia Peabody series. It is another literary triumph for Elizabeth Peters. This book is heavy with irony and hints, most of which escape Amelia Peabody. The reader and the author become implicit companions as each ironic and delightful instance is discovered. There are lots of them, all due to Elizabeth Peter’s sense of timing and sense of humor.
The 1895-96 archaeological season finds the three Emersons back in Egypt and ready to tackle the pyramids of Dahshoor. The perils of the last season are not forgotten, however, especially when Ramses is abducted off the top of one of the pyramids in Giza. It sets off a series of events that lead the Emersons straight to the Master Criminal, as Amelia persists in naming him.
Amid all the murders, disguises, and general mayhem that constantly accompanies Ramses, Amelia is pursuing her prey with a detecting fervor that drives Emerson crazy. She is an intelligent woman for the most part, but Amelia has her weaknesses. One of them is that she thinks her opinions are always right, and another is her firm dislike of Ramses appearing to be smarter than her. These two things get her in more trouble than she ever bargained for, and it will be up to Emerson (and Ramses) to save her.
Because of Amelia’s meddling they are saddled with yet another pair of young lovers. Of course she feels it is her duty to make sure they come to the right understanding. Her methods are quite funny. Just the fact that she takes herself so seriously is quite amusing. Since the books are written from her point of view and based on her “journals” readers get a highly colorized version of somethings, which are humorous because the reader can see the “truth” as Amelia is giving her version.
Despite Amelia and Emerson’s devotion in the bedroom, Elizabeth Peters draws an appropriate veil over the action so there are no explicit scenes. There are a few mild words.