The Last Camel Died at Noon (Amelia Peabody, #6)

By Elizabeth Peters

15,055 ratings - 4.21* vote

Bestselling author Peters brings back 19th-century Egyptologist Amelia Peabody and her entourage in a delicious caper that digs up mystery in the shadow of the pyramids.

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Book details

Paperback, 448 pages
2002 by London : Robinson

(first published 1991)

Original Title
The Last Camel Died at Noon (Amelia Peabody, #6)
1841193879 (ISBN13: 9781841193878)
Edition Language

Community Reviews


Elizabeth Peters takes a slightly different direction in her sixth book and pays homage to Sir Henry Rider Haggard. Thus The Last Camel Died at Noon (you have to love that title!) is a romantic adventure in the style of King Solomon's Mines. It is great!

Of course we are still treated to Amelia's personal opinions of her actions which I always feel are very much her own view and maybe not based in reality! The relationship between the Emersons is as delightful as ever as is their constantly entertaining repartee. Ramses is an absolute gem. And now it appears he might be gaining a sister.

As usual I am already looking forward to the next book.


Let me tell you a bit about that 19th Century fictional feminist Amelia Peabody. “…I always try to become friendly with the women, in hope of instructing them in the rights and privileges to which their sex is morally entitled.” She spins her recollections in the first person with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Egyptology and archeology.

And let Peabody tell you about her brilliant and pretentious husband. "Professor Radcliffe Emerson, F.R.S., F.B.A., LL.D. (Edinburgh), D.C.L. (Oxford), Member of the American Philosophical Society, et cetera, preeminent Egyptologist of this or any other era, was frequently to be encountered in unusual, not to say peculiar, surroundings. Will I ever forget that magical moment when I entered a tomb in the desolate cliffs bordering the Nile and found him delirious with fever, in desperate need of attentions he was helpless to resist? The bond forged between us by my expert nursing was strengthened by the dangers we subsequently shared; and in due course, Reader, I married him. Since that momentous day we had excavated in every major site in Egypt and written extensively on our discoveries. Modesty prevents me from claiming too large a share of the scholarly reputation we had earned, but Emerson would have been the first to proclaim that we were a partnership, in archaeology as in marriage."

Emerson, also known as “The Father of Curses,” their son, Ramses, and a new cast of characters are off up the Nile to Nubia. The plot involves both an old acquaintance who was last heard from fourteen years previously, and the opportunity to look at some ancient sites. Treasure was not the objective as Ramses explains: “The goal of proper excavation…is not treasure but knowledge. Any scrap of material, no matter how insignificant, may supply an essential clue to our understanding of the past. Our primary purpose here is to establish the original plan, and, if possible, the relative chronology…”

Barbara Mertz got her degree in Egyptology from the University of Chicago about the time I was born. She seems to have had a fascination for mysteries and crime and her books (20) about Amelia Peabody were written with the pen-name Elizabeth Peters. Each book (in order) is intended to represent one yearly expedition in search of knowledge of antiquities. They begin in the last two decades of the 19th Century. There is plenty of opportunity for “Peters” to share her knowledge of the various Egyptian dynasties; their customs; their gods; their dress; their cosmetics; their eating habits; their social organization; etc. For the most part, this enhances her stories.

There was more thriller than mystery to this novel and, for me, that was just fine. I enjoy these journeys into antiquity but once every decade or so is enough to satisfy. 3.5*

✨ Gramy ✨

Mrs. Amelia "Peabody' Emerson demonstrates her charming wit and eccentric humor. This series produced such a comically, vivid picture of this family with their superior attitudes, geological adventures, and warped mystery-solving spats. that they each had me laughing out loud. I have finally found a clean book series that provides me with wit, humor, and tons of new words to devour. This is a historical book in the series is a stand-alone mystery which can be read without previous knowledge. I am enjoying this clean book series immensely,

This is the sixth book of the series and by this time, Ramses was ten years old.  This amazingly precocious child accompanied his active and intelligent parents on another trip to Egypt for the winter season, where they are personally acquainted with many of the locals. This child is so advanced, that he knows more about the secret place than his highly educated parents if not more sometimes, which is totally incomprehensible, but extremely entertaining. Of course, let's not forget that each book includes a young pair of lovers that need assistance, at least in Amelia's mind. But this time, they were on a mysterious mission to locate a well-known married couple that had disappeared in that general area many years ago, which is how the Emerson family became captives in an unknown city Yet they were treated like royalty the majority of their visit there. The mystery leads to suspense and intrigue to the adventure, focusing on the Emerson families unique relationships in helping them deal with their circumstances.

This historical mystery delivers clean and wholesome entertainment with a cast of quirky characters. Amelia has the utmost respect, desire, and love for her dear husband, Emerson, even though they enjoy their witty banter and try to outdo one another. This book revealed an adventure in an unknown city in Egypt, where the Emersons were held hostage. In the end, there was a disgusting display of savagery when there was a bloody battle of swords. Her mental powers were increased by the tension and her clarity of the situation became clear.

The author expresses herself so dramatically that it captures the reader's attention and keeps you enrapt. Just when you may begin to feel a little lost or bored, her personal outburst, usually toward Emerson or Ramses, will recapture your attention, or she might strike someone with her trusty parasol and then, just continue the story.  She has a distinct way of portraying each intrinsically humorous experience, giving the reader a unique and uncommon perspective to observe. What a unique experience being held hostage with her husband and the inspector this time. Ms. Peters is the only one who could aptly describe it the way she was able to.

In my opinion, any romantic insinuations were referred to as charmingly in a discreet manner.  Although this book does not always follow the social protocol, instead of taking leaps in many directions, the entertainment delivers great entertainment. The sparkling gems of dry wit were fabulous and plenty to be had!  Oddly enough, there will most assuredly be reviews all over the chart for this writing, depending on the different perspectives from multi-faceted readers.

I listened to this gem of a story through Hoopla, which I access through my local library. It is thrilling when I discover that a series I enjoy in audio as much as I did this one, by the talented and versatile narrator, Susan O'Malley.

Elizabeth Peters is quite the storyteller and expresses herself so dramatically that it captures the reader's attention and compels them to journey on. Just when you may begin to feel a little lost or bored, her personal outburst will recapture your attention, or she might strike someone with her trusty umbrella, defend those she loves with her pistol, or slash away at whatever offends.   I was delighted with the notes within the book to the reader to explain what the author was trying to convey.  I hope you enjoy this experience s much as I did!

You may be interested in more of this author's many other novels in the future.  She writes under her pen names Elizabeth Peters, Barbara Michaels, and her real name - Barbara Mertz.


This was another great installment in the Amelia Peabody series! Usually, my favourite part is the snappy reparte between Amelia and Emerson, with whatever mystery or mayhem they're trying to solve being secondary. But in this outing, the actual story was pretty fascinating.

The Emerson family become caught up in the mystery involving a long-ago friend of Emerson's who disappeared with his young, beautiful wife years ago, while trying to find a lost civilization. A note has been delivered to the family, suggesting that they are still alive after all this time. Through a typically convoluted set of circumstances, the Emersons end up leading the expedition to find and rescue them.

But, as is always the case when the Emersons are involved, things go awry. The Emersons - including Ramses, who continues to be hilariously precocious and a thorn in his mother's side - not only find the lost civilization, but become either guests or captives - depending on who you listen to.

In order to leave, they must figure out the complicated politics and intrigues related to the competition for who will become the next king of the civilization. Needless to say, both Amelia and Emerson are in their usual fine, interfereing form as they attempt to not only help the right king to ascend, but to figure out a way to not be put to death and get to go home to England.

As always, Elizabeth Peters writes a wonderful story, with the main characters on full display with all their delightful quirks, and the supporting characters interesting, likeable and well-developed. I loved this story!

Jamie Collins

The plot of this one didn't do much for me, but I nonetheless enjoyed another expedition with the Emerson-Peabodys. They continue to amuse me, and there's a particularly touching bit when the family has a closer than usual brush with death. And of course, the Egyptian scenery is always interesting.

I like that this book begins at a crisis point, then flashes back to tell how the family arrived there. It was a nice departure from the usual linear storytelling in this series.

I hope to one day see Ramses tell his mother (once, anyway) to shut up and let him finish a sentence.


Golly, I’d forgotten what a masterpiece this is (even better read by Barbara Rosenblat.) Amelia et famille undertake a Rider Haggard plot to find a missing treasure hunter/archaelogist, Willie Forth, reluctantly. Peters plays with those adventure novel plots magnificently, and though the book can be read without knowing those trash classics, it’s SO MUCH BETTER when you have some background as to why we hang around for so long before things get going, have odd mystical elements, and The Ceremonies, The vaguely-Racist-but-certainly-Colonialist view of the Other, etc. This is the best Amelia Peabody of the series to that point, even if it eschews mystery for adventure, because Peters was so very careful with just about everything.

I’m so glad to be repeating these (hopefully in “chronological” rather than published order) on audio. They are pure joy.


This is the sixth book in the Amelia Peabody series. I found it a little long. I listened to it on audio, read by Susan O’Malley who is fine, but cannot hold a candle to Barbara Rosenblat. Alas, I am subject to what is available via Overdrive and Hoopla.

In a nod to the novels of H. Rider Haggard, we find the Emersons in a “lost” civilization somewhere in the desert of Nubia. In this oasis, a British adventurer and his wife are believed to have found rescue some 14 years earlier. Others believe the couple are dead. The rest is pretty much like any Amelia Peabody mystery. They are very formulaic. I can only read them a year at a time, otherwise the sameness would be too overwhelming for me personally. I also echo goodreads reviewer Jamie Collins in the hope that someday Ramses is able tell his mother to shut up and let him finish a sentence


I really liked this story. I think it is my favorite one too. It seemed more complex and there was a lot of Egyption archeology information going on throughout. Lots of difficult names to keep track of, was the only complaint I had. There were some great lines between Amelia and her husband!


The Emersons journey into H. Rider Haggard territory in this wonderful romp of a book. Very little actual Egyptology in this one, although Peters draws on her encyclopedic knowledge of the ancient world to create a lost civilization that speaks ancient Meroitic and observes many of the customs and living practices of the ancient Egyptians.

Unconstrained by actual events, Peters gives free rein to her imagination and Emerson gets to burst his shirt buttons even more than usual as he fights actual battles (superbly, of course). I missed the Egyptian settings and the archeology, but who can resist a lost city? I really must read King Solomon's Mines and She: A History of Adventure and then read this one AGAIN to have a good giggle at how much Peters has drawn from the Haggard books.

And of course this is where we meet Nefret. In this book she's little more than a two-dimensional character, but since this is a re-read I know what's coming. I must say that re-reading this series is even more fun than reading it the first time and I can't wait to get started on The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog. Perfect escapism in the pandemic of 2020.


As this series progresses, I've been concerned that it would suffer the fate of other similar series, in that each installment would feel just like the last, with minor alterations. I'm happy to say that while this book maintains the characteristics of what makes it so charming, it was different enough to be engaging. The Last Camel takes our intrepid crew to war-torn Sudan, in search of a missing couple who may or may not have been swallowed up by the desert. Star-crossed lovers, high priestesses and Egyptian princes abound. These books are really best enjoyed in sequence, as some of the in-jokes may not be as appreciated in a stand alone fashion. And while there is very little mystery, or fear that our heroes will meet an untimely end, there is a familiarity and coziness that makes one want to grab the next book as soon as you finish the last.