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Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters

Borrower of the Night (1973)

by Elizabeth Peters

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Vicky Bliss (1)

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995288,604 (3.44)36
  1. 01
    Quiet as a Nun by Antonia Fraser (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: These books have a similar atmosphere, with a female protagonist looking for something hidden in an old castle/convent.

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» See also 36 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
3.5 stars- I actually listened to the Audio Book and it started out very slow. It took me several tries listening to it to get into it. After the first disc though, i started enjoying it and ended up really liking it. Im going to try the second book and I hope it is a little more polished. ( )
  EmpressReece | Aug 22, 2016 |
Here it is, finally my first Vicki Bliss mystery. The story is a good one, even if not terribly interesting. Based on other works from Michaels and Peters, this is just an average effort. It could be because she was finding her grounding with new characters, but something about it didn't hook me as much as it should have. I can't help but feel that Peters couldn't think of enough story to write this one, not sure where she wanted to go, mainly drawn to characters she wished to invent. I'm sure that the follow-ups are better, and Vicki does seem a great character to follow the adventures of.

Being only 243 pages, it's short and sweet, starting with a challenge between Vicki and new boyfriend Tony, leading quickly afterward to an old castle itching for exploration. Vicki's goal is to find an old art piece before Tony and their accompanying 'friend' George, figuring it's snugly secured somewhere on the grounds because of an assumption from an old book. The chances of that, by the way, was a far-fetched idea to begin the story on.

The story would be a great mystery, yet turns out merely good simply because not enough detail filled out 243 pages. The story was a very simple one that was forced to slowly drag on because not enough substance was held. Of course there were minor revelations that turned thought processes around and inside out, but nothing staggering. Pacing was very slow, as is trademark Peters, but without the depth stories need to make slow pacing successful.

Characters were fun, especially Vicki and Tony. Her personality was a trademark type, a strong heroine with an intelligent mind, independent backbone, and curious disposition. The funniest thing about her were her hysterical observations regarding Tony, with him trying to look cocky or self-assured. She portrays him as so boyish I actually laughed out loud on more than one occasion. George was a fun one, too, with dialogue that ribbed Tony' s ego. The cute triple IS addictive to read about, and would have really shone if given the right story.

One thing bugging me, though, is Vicki's lack of emotion with romance. It's hinted she may feel mere rejection because of Tony, George, and every other male drooling at another female character, but when she believes they may have no love for her anymore, she doesn't seem to mind. Who wouldn't? Writing in whatever pseudonym she chooses, Peters always seemed to have a weird way to write about love, relationships, and romances. Here that's almost taken overboard with the strange numbness Vicki shows. I know she's an independent woman who needs no one but herself, but she shouldn't be portrayed as robotic with love either. I was even surprised to find if anyone held romantic feelings and the same urges for marriage as before toward Vicki, as they showed so little of the usual relationship/crush antics over the course of the story.

Nothing is urgent until perhaps the end climax, but even that lacks a certain desperation usually found in intriguing stories. Rich with history, people into the castle setting will be in for a nice surprise as the couple wanders each night in search of an old legend that may not even be true. People who love mysteries but who are a virgin to Peters may be turned off by the lack of intensity, while cozy fans that are Elizabeth Peter regulars will likely feel right at home.

( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
My blog post about this book is at this link. ( )
  SuziQoregon | May 27, 2016 |
I hope this isn't representative of Elizabeth Peters' work, 'cause I was looking forward to reading her stuff, but I felt kinda like I was reading a novelised Scooby Doo episode. I suppose it's not that far from Mary Stewart's work, in a way, but the narration just made it feel cartoonish, more than anything else. And I don't think Mary Stewart ever set anything in a gothic sort of castle with ~mysteriously moving~ suits of armour.

Not to mention her protagonists are usually a lot more likeable and don't waffle on about how smart and beautiful they are so much. Some of the narration was fun -- her description of herself as a "bouncing Brunhild" was a pretty perfect way to say it -- but mostly... nah.

So, yeah, I'm not going to read anything more about Vicky Bliss, even if I might try Amelia Peabody. ( )
1 vote shanaqui | Aug 18, 2013 |
So many things about this book bugged me. In fact, I'm struggling to think of what I DID like about this book. I guess the ambiance was nice. Set in an old castle in Germany, all the crawling about in the ruins and discussion of history. I liked that. But...

The characters were not engaging. Our heroine and narrator, Vicky, was a smart, independent woman of un-delicate proportions (her self-description as being a "bouncing Brunhilda" was pretty funny) and competitive spirit. She has declared that she will never marry, but seems to be in some kind of baffling relationship with a fellow professor named Tony. Tony is a total asshat who treats Vicky with disrespect and has an out-of-control ego. Vicky's attitude and actions never make a lot of sense to me. One minute she's cursing Tony and trying to one-up him, the next she is simpering and trying to soothe his ego. The other characters are kind of like white noise - there, but not contributing much.

The mystery was also odd. They were searching for a lost work of art which they happened to read about in a book. Apparently everyone else in the world incidentally read the same book the exact same week because everyone was looking for this thing independently. The art had been lost for 500 years, but this week everyone remembered to look for it.

And the archaeologist in me sobbed at all of their techniques. Trained historians should know better. They're just snatching and grabbing and smashing antiquities right and left. Europeans obviously find the medieval period of little value (the Americans and volunteers were always assigned to the medieval levels on my digs in the Netherlands) but... gah!

And when the heck was this story set, anyway? Telegraphs and kerosene lamps suggest early in the century, but Vicky's wearing pants and working as a professor, so that seems less likely. Germany has zero apparent concern about war, either, which leaves me absolutely lost.

I guess I'll go back to Amelia Peabody. ( )
  Snukes | Jun 14, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Petersprimary authorall editionscalculated
O'Malley, SusanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When I was ten years old, I knew I was never going to get married. Not only was I six inches taller than any boy in the fifth grade except Matthew Finch, who was five ten and weighed ninety-eight pounds -- but my IQ was as formidable as my height. It was sixty points higher than that of any of the boys -- except the aforesaid Matthew Finch. I topped him by only thirty points.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380733390, Mass Market Paperback)

Meet art historian Vicky Bliss, She is as beautiful as she is brainy--with unassailable courage, insatiable curiosity, and an expertise in lost museum treasures that often leads her into the most dangerous of situations.

A missing masterwork in wood, the last creation of a master carver who died in the violent tumult of the sixteenth century, may be hidden in a medieval German castle in the town of Rothenburg. The prize has called to Vicky Bliss, drawing her and an arrogant male colleague into the forbidding citadel and its dark secrets. But the treasure hunt soon turns deadly. Here, where the blood of the long forgotten damned stains ancient stones, Vicky must face two equally perilous possibilities. Either a powerful supernatural evil inhabits this place. . .or someone frighteningly real is willing to kill for what Vicky is determined to find.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:43 -0400)

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Vicky Bliss goes in search of a medieval treasure supposedly hidden in a German castle during the Peasants' Rebellion.

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