The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog (Amelia Peabody, #7)

By Elizabeth Peters

11,985 ratings - 4.21* vote

Alternate cover for ISBN 13: 9780446364782A brand-new Elizabeth Peters novel is one of the uncompromising pleasures in life. As Peter Theroux in the New York Times Book Review points out, "Her wonderfully witty voice and her penchant for history lessons of the Nile both ancient and modern keep [her] high adventure moving for even the highest brows." In her previous outing, Alternate cover for ISBN 13: 9780446364782A brand-new Elizabeth Peters novel is one of the uncompromising

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Book details

Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
February 1st 1994 by Grand Central Publishing

(first published 1992)

Original Title
The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog (Amelia Peabody, #7)
Edition Language

Community Reviews


You just have to love Amelia Peabody! She has such incredible belief in herself, even when she makes some amazingly awful decisions! It is a good thing Emerson loves her so much that he apparently overlooks all her flaws.

In this book though, due to an incident where he loses his memory, we see poor Amelia left without Emerson's adoration. It is an interesting situation but of course she rises to it with her usual style. The mystery is totally convoluted and even after reading the final exposition I am not quite sure what actually happened. However I know I enjoyed the ride!

Like any really good series I am now totally hooked on all the characters and there is no doubt that I will be moving to the next book very soon!


This was my first re-read of the 7th entry in the Amelia Peabody series in audio. I didn't remember a lot of the details and thoroughly enjoyed this re-read. The book opens with the Emersons in England, trying to settle Nefret into English society. When Amelia and Emerson eventually head off to Egypt, Nefret (and of course Ramses) decide to stay in England with Walter and Evelyn.

Amelia and Emerson encounter a host of troubles -- and crimes -- while in Egypt, from kidnappings, attempted kidnappings, murders, and numerous threats. All of the threats seem to relate to their last adventure and the wonders they discovered in The Last Camel Died at Noon.

While Ramses and Nefret don't rejoin the Emersons physically, we learn through a series of amusing letters from Ramses that they too are facing a number of threats.

This was absolutely delightful in audio, and I have no doubt but that I will listen to it again at some point.

NOTE: re-listen in May 2019 and I still love it.

NOTE: Re-listen June 2020. Absolutely delightful again, and Ramses' letters, so funny. "It is with rapture unalloyed that I anticipate the joy you will experience when I tell you...."


I love the Amelia Peabody mysteries. They play upon my love for strong female leads, Egyptology, romance, and a good mystery. I've had fun reading all of the books, but this one? Is probably my favorite since Crocodile on the Sandbank.

Yet another enemy is after the Peabody-Emersons, this time to discover the way to the hidden Meroitic civilization they found in book 6, The Last Camel Died At Noon. Unfortunately, Emerson is kidnapped and subsequently loses his memory, and aside from trying to discover who is attempting to harm them, Amelia must now try to jog her husband's memory, which conveniently disappeared back to the time just before they met.

While the amnesia plot device can be rather hackneyed, Peters uses it to revitalize the relationship between Amelia and Emerson. It is at the same time funny and frustrating, particularly for poor Amelia, who must put up with Emerson as he was before she... er, tamed him.

The mystery itself was a delight. I found myself jumping back and forth between suspects, and when all was revealed at the end, I gasped out loud.

Really, I can't recommend this series highly enough. It's become my mission in life to convert people to the Way of Amelia Peabody. In the last two weeks, I've converted three people. I'm building up good book karma, you see.


I rather liked this convoluted story. It took me a while to understand everything that happened at the end though. I thought the amnesia bit was amusing, but the constant brushes with death for the two Egyptologists is getting old. Parents do need a break sometimes, and it was nice to see Amelia and Emerson going off to Egypt by themselves. Previous to this book in the series, I have listened to them, so this was my first exposure to actually reading one.


I just love these books. Really, any star rating I give them is not for the mystery portion, but for the characters and their interactions


I'm in the process of re-reading the entire Amelia Peabody series again, from start to finish in one go. They are still some of my favorite books. They must be read with tongue firmly inserted in cheek. It also helps to have an interest in and some knowledge of Colonial-era exploration narratives, fiction like that of H. Rider Haggard, Orientalist studies, the competitive acquisitive zeal of western museums at the turn of the century, and the "gentlemen archaeologists" of the 19th century who brought more treasure-hunting fever than academic and historical interest to their digs. That is to say nothing of the insight into early seeds and outbreaks of unrest in the Middle East that find their way into the middle and later novels in the series. Add to this impressive list of "ingredients" a dash of early feminism, British upperclass manners, interesting plots, and especially the academically sound Egyptian history from a legitimate scholar (Elizabeth Peters had a PhD in Egyptology from the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago) and you have the very best in historical fiction, enclosed within adventurous and funny plots led by engaging and memorable characters who, though immensely more enlightened than many of their time, nonetheless remain realistic people OF their time, seeing the world through glasses tinted by their own culture and class. Though they attempt to rise above prejudice, they cannot quite entirely do so. Elizabeth Peters showed immense wisdom of the human condition in this aspect of her characterizations, reminding us all that we cannot even be aware of - much less remove - ALL of our preconceptions through which we see the world around us. Even the best of us - like Amelia - can continually peel back the layers of lenses through which we see the world.

All these philosophical, aesthetic, academic, and historical reasons for loving the series are thus topped off with depth of characterization, imaginative storytelling, fast-paced plotting, excellent word-crafting, and an overall affectionate humor about the human condition - the whole coming together even better than the sum of its parts to make it one of my favorite series of all time. I might add that it's a series that I've read and re-read multiple times, something that I almost never do.

To be fair, my one criticism about the series is that the non-chronological nature of the last few books gets a big confusing even to me, someone who's read them multiple times. They're still very enjoyable, but holding the timeline and chronology of events in my head is not always easy. I plan to tackle the compendium "Amelia Peabody's Egypt" soon to see how that clears things up. Nonetheless, I'm waiting with bated breath for the book Elizabeth Peters was finishing at the time of her death to be published. I think it would be a great tribute to her career to publish it posthumously.

I have been really surprised when friends I've recommended the series to haven't been as enthusiastic as I am about Amelia Peabody. I think I can attribute that to the fact that my first go-round of the series was on audiobook and Barbara Rosenblat and Grace Conlin did such a marvelous job of giving the series the proper amount of irony and tongue-in-cheek humor and updated H. Rider Haggard-style adventure, that even today when I read the series I hear it in their voices in my head. If you are having trouble connecting, then, I recommend listening to at least the first several books on audiobook. It wouldn't hurt to do some quick Wikipedia research on Colonialism, Egyptology, Howard Carter, Wallace Budge, Orientalism, H. Rider Haggard, museum-sponsored archaeology of the latre 19th & early 20th centuries (especially the competitiveness between the British Museum & the Metropolitan Museum of Art(, WWI, pre-WWII espionage, dismantling of the Ottoman Empire... anything relating to history of the 19th century to early 20th century. All will add to your enjoyment of the novels as well as your appreciation for how deftly Elizabeth Peters wove history and real people throughout her fiction.

Jamie Collins

A really amusing Amelia Peabody adventure. It's worth reading just for Peabody's reaction to the letters from Ramses, who has been left behind in England for once, and not to Peabody's dismay. ("One may be determined to embrace martyrdom gracefully, but a day of reprieve is not to be sneezed at.") When danger threatens at home and abroad, Ramses threatens to rejoin his parents as soon as he has enough money for his fare, reciting an ominous running tally of his savings.

If these books were a little more serious then I could be annoyed over Emerson's amnesia and Peabody's reaction when she finds out exactly when he regained his memory, but these are clearly meant to be a bit silly (Emerson is psychoanalyzed by a Dr. Schadenfreude) and they're quite fun to read.


While I have read this novel before, I have to admit that it isn’t one of the ones that I have read multiple times, so I didn’t remember a good deal of the plot (as i just realized I said in my last review of this novel). This is always exciting for me because I love the series and there is something fun about reading a book you love for the first time again, as in it doesn’t happen often. The Snake, The Crocodile, and The Dog is an enjoyable ride and is a good segue between what I consider the first half of the series and the second.

Amelia and Emerson are once again in their beloved land of Egypt, though this time without their precious son Ramses and their ward Nefret. Both children had stayed with Emerson’s brother Walter and his wife Evelyn along with their multiple children in England. While I know that Ramses’s will become one of my favorite characters, I have to say that I enjoy it being just Amelia and Emerson again, unrestrained by the worry of keeping their child safe. They are my favorite fictional couple and having the story devoted purely to them, their marriage, and their love is something that the romantic in me enjoys immensely.

This same romantic part also lives for a good amnesia storyline. Sure, we know that actual amnesia from a blow to the head is rare and that it is an overused trope in television, especially soap operas, but I just love the drama. I think Peter’s rides the line between melodrama, romance, and comedy well in this novel. Amelia is also seen as fallible in this novel more than any of the others, which just makes me love her more. As rational and level-headed that she claims to be, she loves passionately and sometimes that love blinds her.

Now, while I didn’t remember a lot of the plot, of course the one thing I did have a vague recollection of was the major twist in the book. Still, that didn’t mar my enjoyment of the story and at times I found myself wondering if I had remembered correctly or not. While there is less of a mystery in this novel and more of a cat and mouse game, the suspense is wonderfully built and it keeps the reader flipping the pages.

**First Review**
I feel like every time I finish a book in this series I say that it is my favorite, but this novel might edge out The Last Camel Died at Noon for the honor. I had read this novel before, but I had forgotten the ending and for the first time in a long time I was surprised at the ending of a mystery novel, though not because of who the culprit was. I don't want to ruin it for anyone else, but it was truly a wonderful twist. The dynamic between Emerson and Amelia in this novel is also played with and heightened in such a way that it makes me love them both even more. The letters from Ramses were both entertaining and helped develop his character though he was not in Egypt with his parents.

I think all of my favorite secondary characters were present in this novel which only heightened to my enjoyment. I hadn't noticed how much I missed Evelyn and Walter until they took a more prominent place in this novel. Cyrus Vandergelt was another character I hadn't noticed I missed until he reappeared and Kevin O'Connell will always be my favorite secondary character.

Overall it was a wonderfully written narrative, mystery, and characters as always. I can not wait to read the next book in the series and see just what the Emerson are going to be up to next.