I have been busy with the end of term, and the best remedy for the stress is a good, ripping yarn! So, of course, I turned to Elizabeth Peters. Peters knows how to write a funny, entertaining story, with a bit of thrills and suspense. Since it’s been a while since I’ve read one of her Vicky Bliss novels, I chose the second one in the series, Street of the Five Moons.
Vicky Bliss is not your typical romantic suspense heroine. She is tall, blond, beautiful, smart, and able to take care of herself. Well, she has to take care of herself because she’s always getting herself into jams because she doesn’t stop to think about what she is doing. Street of the Five Moons is one of my favorites because it is the book that introduces Sir John Smythe, who we later learn is really John Tregarth. In Street of the Five Moons, the story begins with a dead man who has a fake copy of the Charlemagne necklace sewn into his clothes. This is brought to the attention of Vicky’s boss, Herr Professor Anton Z. Schmidt, who is the head of the museum that houses the Charlemagne necklace. Schmidt finds out that the necklace in the museum is really the real one, but he sends Vicky off to investigate the mystery. She talks to the police and figures out for a cryptic note in the dead man’s pocket that 37 Street of the Five Moons is the source of the necklace. Of course, she realizes that this is a street in Rome. Schmidt gives her the time off to investigate, and off goes Vicky. Of course, when she breaks into the antique store at that location, Vicky finds a list of names and a hungry Doberman. Vicky, although smart, isn’t sensible, and she goes back to the store the next day. She meets Smythe, and later winds up getting kidnapped. Smythe, although one of the bad guys, rescues her and tells her to get the heck out of Rome. Does our Vicky listen? No, of course not! Instead, she has figured out where she was taken while kidnapped. And of course, she manages to finagle an invitation to meet the people she thinks are the masterminds behind the crime. What else would she want to do? Well, before you know it, Vicky and Smythe are running of their lives, and murder is on the horizon.
The story is quite entertaining, and once I started reading, I didn’t want to put the book down. Peters knows how to write repartee, and Vicky and Smythe are quite likeable. Eventually, Peters tied in Smythe’s history to the Emersons, of the Amelia Peabody Emerson line. The youngest daughter of Ramses and Nefret is Smythe’s grandmother. The whole series is fun and entertaining. Smythe is an entertaining answer to other British criminals, like Raffles. I have the next book, Silhouette in Scarlet on my TBR pile from the library. If you haven’t read a Vicky Bliss, get Street of the Five Moons now. Read it; you’ll love it!