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.
Poor Vicky. Her troubles don't end there:
For several years my decision didn't give me much pain. I wasn't thinking seriously of marriage in the fifth grade. Then I reached adolescence, and the trouble began. I kept growing up, but I grew in another dimension besides height. The results were appalling. I won't quote my final proportions; they call to mind one of those revolting Bunnies in Playboy. I dieted strenuously, but that only made matters worse. I got thin in all the right places and I was still broad where, as the old classic says, a broad should be broad.
BotN in a nutshell: Vicky is an art historian. She comes across evidence that the legend of a long-lost shrine carved by Riemenschneider is more than a legend and decides to go after it. She has competitors: Tony, her co-worker and on-again, off-again lover* and George Nolan, the millionaire sportsman/playboy/big game hunter. So they all end up at Schloss Drachenstein, there is much Gothic fun (including a seance!!) and treasure hunting and romance, and oh, really, what's not to love?
Well, I'll tell you.
Vicky, I love you. I love you and Elizabeth Peters. I love you, Elizabeth Peters, and Schmidt, who doesn't have a big enough part in this book. I love you, Elizabeth Peters, Schmidt-who-doesn't-have-a-big-enough-part-in-this-book, and Sir John Smythe, WHO ISN'T IN THIS BOOK. How could that have slipped my mind? That's probably exactly why I've re-read the other books in the series 40 hundred times, but only read this one, like, 20 hundred times.
I was somewhat mollified by Doctor Blankenhagen, who is made of AWESOME, especially at the very end.
On to Book Two!**
*I really don't like that word. It gives me the yicks. But what else could I call him? Boinking-partner?
**I'll have you know that I'm blaming Mr. Dickens for my recent over-use of exclamation marks.