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Devil May Care by Elizabeth Peters
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Devil May Care (original 1977; edition 1989)

by Elizabeth Peters

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526727,958 (3.59)31
Member:joeeasterly
Title:Devil May Care
Authors:Elizabeth Peters
Info:Tor Books (1989), Paperback
Collections:Fiction & Literature, eBooks
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Devil May Care by Elizabeth Peters (1977)

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» See also 31 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This was one of the best plots I’ve seen Peters put out yet. Usually, when she does the paranormal mystery plot it starts to become a little Scooby-dooish. You know, the ghost is captured then unmasked as actually being old man Ford the gardener. Anyway, Ellie is house sitting for her eccentric aunt Kate who’s out romping around the country. During the first night, Ellie stumbles upon a ghost that looks remarkably like Kate’s yard boy. Ellie is level-headed though and believes that there’s a logical explanation for her visitor. Soon though she finds herself being visited by a different spook every night and oddly enough all visitors are members of the six family members who founded the small town where her aunt lives. When news of this gets around to the six descendants of Ellie’s ghosts, they’re livid and believe she’s trying to disgrace them all. And things just keep getting worse when the yard boy, Don, moves in to protect her, the house starts being broken into, and the ghosts start becoming dangerous.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. The characters are all well fleshed out and the plot was fun. ( )
1 vote Book_Minx | Jan 24, 2015 |
This is one of Elizabeth Peters' stand-alone novels, and one of two I found at a book sale and brought home with me. I really like EP's Jacqueline Kirby and Vicky Bliss series' so why not her stand-alones?

Devil May Care was a fun read; nothing taxing, or deep, but entertaining. The plot itself was a little...well...loose. The blurb is almost outright wrong, but:

Ellie is young, rich, engaged and in love. These are the carefree days before marriage and new responsibility, and anything goes -- including house-sitting at eccentric Aunt Kate's palatial estate in Burton, Virginia. Ellie feels right at home here with the nearly invisible housekeepers and the plethora of pets, but she soon realizes that there are disturbing secrets about the local aristocracy buried in a dusty old book she has carried into the mansion. And her sudden interest in the past is attracting a slew of unwelcome guests -- some of them living and some, perhaps not. And the terrible vegeance that Ellie and her friends seem to have aroused -- now aimed at them -- surely cannot be...satanic.

First, I don't think Ellie is rich, yet. No information about her past or present circumstances is given beyond that she's engaged and she's heir to her Aunt's fortune. Second, I'm pretty sure she's not in love; it's pretty clear from the first scene on the first page that the bloom is off that rose, so to speak.

The "dusty old book" is accurate - but it's the books mere presence that sparks everything - not any interest Ellie has in the past. Which is good, because she doesn't really show any interest in the past. I'm not actually sure she has an interest in anything.

Ellie is a likeable MC, but only in that way you meet someone and they just strike you as likeable and friendly. The reader never gets a chance to know Ellie at all, but she isn't a special snowflake or TSTL; she is independent, loves animals and gives lip when necessary.

No matter - the story was still a good time. Ms. Peters is excellent with dialogue and she's an ace at drawing characters with few words. Her setting was also equally well done; she adds a touch of gothic here and there, and I think this book might have been meant as a tip-of-the-hat to gothic ghost stories, but it just never quite got there.

I think Summer of the Dragon was a stronger story, but I'm not sorry I read this one at all - I'll pick it up now and again when I'm looking for something fun. ( )
  murderbydeath | Sep 20, 2014 |
(orig. published in 1977) Ellie and Henry are young, and engaged. When Ellie’s eccentric Aunt Kate asks her to house-sit at housein Burton, Virginia, Ellie is happy to oblige. She feels right at home there with the nearly invisible housekeepers and the plethora of pets, but conventional Henry finds Aunt Kate and her lifestyle a little hard to take. After he leaves, Ellie realizes that there are disturbing secrets about the local aristocracy buried in a dusty old book she has carried into the mansion, and her sudden interest in the past is attracting a slew of unwelcome guests—some of them living . . . and some, perhaps, not. But there are no such things as ghosts, are there?

Not one of the best entries by Elizabeth Peters. ( )
  susanamper | Sep 6, 2012 |
While reading this, I kept thinking it had a familiar feel - and I finally decided it shared elements with Sharon McCrumb's mystery series staring Elizabeth McPhearson. Both are set in the south, and there is the whole ghost story element - not to mention the somewhat naive heroine. All those elements make for a fun read in "Devil May Care". ( )
  tjsjohanna | Oct 15, 2008 |
March, 2002
Devil May Care
Elizabeth Peters

GREAT book. After the stress of losing the house, this was exactly what I needed. It was perfect, absolutely perfect. Exactly the kind of book I need to get me through the days and give me a warm, happy feeling.

Ellie is the young, female protagonist (as always), who goes to house-sit at her eccentric Aunt Kate’s Virginia mansion (Aunt Kate is a thinly disguised Barbara Mertz herself), full of cats and dogs and just maybe a few ghosts.

From Amazon: “Ellie feels right at home here with the nearly invisible housekeepers and the plethora of pets, but she soon realizes that there are disturbing secrets about the local aristocracy buried in a dusty old book she has carried into the mansion. And her sudden interest in the past is attracting a slew of unwelcome guests -- some of them living and some, perhaps not. And the terrible vengeance that Ellie and her friends seem to have aroused -- now aimed at them -- surely cannot be...satanic.”

As is usually the case with Peters' books, I was sorry to see it end. I’ll have to read it again soon. ( )
  victorianrose869 | Aug 8, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Petersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Conlin, GraceNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
To the Washington ********
with thanks
for all the hours
of viewing pleasure
they have given me;
and especially
to the greatest of them all,
Number Nine
First words
Henry Danvers Willoughby was an extremely fortunate young man.
Quotations
"Oh," Ellie said, "well, yes. She does dislike quite a few people."
"For example?"
Ellie took a deep breath.
"Joe Namath and Dr. Joyce Brothers and Roger McGrath -- he's the head of the local schoolboard and he has been trying to censor the high-school library -- and All in the Family and TV commercials about deodorants -- she adores the cat-food commercials, of course -- and Howard Cosell, but I guess that isn't unusual."
"No."
-- p.10
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380731150, Mass Market Paperback)

Ellie is young, rich, engaged and in love. These are the carefree days before marriage and new responsibility, and anything goes --including house-sitting at eccentric Aunt Kate's palatial estate in Burton, Virginia. Ellie feels right at home here with the nearly invisible housekeepers and the plethora of pets, but she soon realizes that there are disturbing secrets about the local aristocracy buried in a dusty old book she has carried into the mansion. And her sudden interest in the past is attracting a slew of unwelcome guests -- some of them living and some, perhaps not. And the terrible vegeance that Ellie and her friends seem to have aroused -- now aimed at them -- surely cannot be...satanic.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:56 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Ellie and Henry are young, rich, and engaged. When Ellie's eccentric Aunt Kate asks her to house-sit at her palatial estate in Burton, Virginia, Ellie is happy to oblige. She feels right at home there with the nearly invisible housekeepers and the plethora of pets, but conventional Henry finds Aunt Kate and her lifestyle a little hard to take. After he leaves, Ellie realizes that there are disturbing secrets about the local aristocracy buried in a dusty old book she has carried into the mansion, and her sudden interest in the past is attracting a slew of unwelcome guests--some of them living...and some, perhaps, not. But there are no such things as ghosts, are there? And the terrible vengeance that Ellie and her friends seem to have aroused--now aimed at them--surely cannot be... Satanic.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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