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Borrower of the Night    by Elizabeth Peters order for
Borrower of the Night
by Elizabeth Peters
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2000
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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* * *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

This is Vicky Bliss's first adventure. The bright, beautiful and bold Ms. Bliss is an art historian with a nose for trouble. Her quest for an elusive treasure leads her to a gothic keep in Germany, where she is fast entangled in the dark history of the sixteenth century Count and Countess of Drachenstein. Vicky must unravel an ancient murder in order to find a lost work of art. She risks her life to do so, since her rival treasure hunters include a ruthless and dangerous adversary.

In spite of the gothic atmosphere, and the murky history of the work of art, the tone is light and frolicsome. Vicky Bliss tells her story in the first person. Although this is not normally my preferred point of view, this heroine is irresistible for her wry, self-deprecating humour. She bemoans her six-foot height and startling physical attributes, and charges intrepidly into danger. The story abounds with red herrings, including false trails left by minor characters, who are themselves a pleasure to meet.

In the end our resourceful heroine succeeds in finding the treasure, defeating the villain, and sorting out events in her own life. What is particularly satisfying is that the author avoids the trite happy-ever-after ending. Vicky spurns all suitors and sets merrily off to try a new direction in her life. Like Amelia Peabody, the strong-minded heroine of Peters' archaeological mysteries, Vicky is unwilling to take the easier road. The subsequent complications in her life make for rollicking entertainment for the reader.

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