List of Amelia Peabody characters

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The Amelia Peabody series of historical mystery novels is written by Elizabeth Peters, set in Victorian Egypt among a family of eccentric archaeologists.

Entirely fictional[edit]

The Emerson family[edit]

Amelia Peabody Emerson 
The matriarch, sleuth, and fervent pyramidophile. Nicknamed "Sitt Hakim" ("Lady Doctor").
Professor Radcliffe Emerson 
Amelia's husband, "The greatest Egyptologist of this or any other era." Nicknamed "Abu Shitaim" ("Father of Curses").
Walter Peabody "Ramses" Emerson 
Amelia's only son, first described as "catastrophically precocious" and later dubbed "Akhu el-Efreet" ("Brother of Demons").
Nefret Emerson 
Raised until puberty by a lost Meroitic civilization, adopted by the Emersons and later married to Ramses; nicknamed "Nur Misur" (Light of Egypt).
Walter Emerson 
Emerson's younger brother, the world famous philologist.
Evelyn Forbes Emerson
Amelia's dearest friend, who has a heart of gold but nerves of steel.
Amelia "Lia" Emerson Todros 
Evelyn's daughter, named for Amelia Peabody, who defies convention to marry David Todros (in The Falcon at the Portal).
David Todros 
Abdullah's grandson, adopted by Walter and Evelyn. A natural artist and Ramses' partner in mischief, David first appears in The Hippopotamus Pool.
James Peabody 
Amelia's eldest and least favorite brother, father of Percy and Violet. Referred to in Crocodile on the Sandbank, first seen in Deeds of the Disturber.
Percival "Percy" Peabody 
Decidedly unpleasant nephew of Amelia. First seen in Deeds of the Disturber; killed off in He Shall Thunder in the Sky.
Sennia Emerson 
Percy's illegitimate daughter by a Cairo prostitute, abandoned by her father and later used by him in an attempt to discredit Ramses. She is adopted by the Emersons. Called "Little Bird." First appears in The Falcon at the Portal.
Seth Emerson, a.k.a. Sethos 
Illegitimate half-brother of Professor Radcliffe Emerson. Formerly known as the "Master Criminal." Now reformed and a key player in the Amelia Peabody Emerson mysteries. First appeared in The Mummy Case. Discovered to be related to Emerson in He Shall Thunder in the Sky.
Charlotte "Charla" Emerson 
Ramses' and Nefret's daughter, named for Amelia's mother. Twin sister of David John.
David John "Davy" Emerson 
Ramses' and Nefret's son, named for David Todros and Evelyn and Walter's son, John, who died in the First World War. Twin brother of Charla.
Abdullah "Dolly" Todros 
David's and Lia's son, named for David's grandfather. Older brother of Evelyn.
Evelyn "Evvie" Todros 
David's and Lia's daughter, named for Lia's mother. Younger sister of Abdullah.

The Emersons' staff and work crew[edit]

Abdullah ibn Hassan al Wahhab 
The Emersons' loyal reis (foreman), who leads the excavations with Emerson ("Every year, another dead body!"). Devoted to Emerson, and initially resentful of Amelia, he eventually becomes just as devoted to her, and dies heroically defending her life. Reappears to Amelia in clairvoyant dreams, and David and Lia's first child is named for him.
Abdullah's youngest son, friend of Ramses, with a technical mind and an eye for the ladies. When he grows up, he takes his father's place. Has two wives, Rabia and Taghrid.
Abdullah's nephew, a giant of a man whose simple observations help solve mysteries and protect his friends. He adores Lia, David's wife, and his faith in Amelia's abilities verges on religious awe.
Abdullah's daughter-in-law, the widow of one of his deceased sons. After her husband dies, she asks Amelia for a position of independence, and becomes the Emersons' dedicated housekeeper in Egypt, and enjoys learning to read and write.
Daoud's wife. Born of a Nubian mother, whose dark coloring she shares, and stronger than many men. Keeps the secret recipe for the famous "green ointment" prescribed as a cure-all by all members of Abdullah's family.
The Emersons' butler. Accompanies the Emersons on their excavations a number of times, acting as Sennia's bodyguard. Has been known to wield a cudgel to defend his employers.
The Emersons' housekeeper in Kent, completely devoted to Ramses.


The matriarch of the long line of companions; first appears in The Curse of the Pharaohs. She and Ramses have a deep bond with one another. After her death at a ripe old age, it will take Ramses years before he even considers accepting another feline companion. Almost always referred to as 'the cat Bastet'.
First appears in The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog; originally belongs to the villainous Vincey but eventually bonds with Emerson, and fathers a large brood with Bastet.
First appears in The Ape Who Guards the Balance; bonds originally with Nefret but later defects to Sennia.
First appears in Seeing a Large Cat. Called "the furry blob" by Ramses, she later defects to live a life of luxury with the Vandergelts.
First appears in The Falcon at the Portal; prefers Ramses.
The Great Cat of Re 
First appears in The Golden One; Rescued by Horus and loyal to Ramses.


(Arabic, "feather") Silver-gray stallion, a gift to Ramses from a sheik friend of the Emersons, who fathers a large family of mounts for the rest of the family.
(Arabic, "bird") Mare, a gift to David from the same sheik.
Mare, a daughter of Risha and Asfur, belongs to Nefret.


A "large tawny beast" which Daoud acquires at Ramses' request in The Serpent on the Crown to guard against unwanted visitors and to protect Charla and David John. Enormous but extremely submissive. Her name is Arabic for "princess."


Cyrus Vandergelt 
Courtly American millionaire who longs for a rich find but finds loyal friends instead. First appears in The Curse of the Pharaohs.
Katherine Whitney-Jones Vandergelt 
A schoolteacher, widowed after an unhappy marriage, who becomes a semi-fraudulent spiritual medium to support her two children. After her unmasking in Egypt, she and Cyrus fall in love. First appears in Seeing a Large Cat.
Bertie Vandergelt 
Katherine Vandergelt's son by her first marriage, whom Cyrus later adopts and who comes to Egypt after being wounded and discharged during World War I; he proves invaluable both as an ally and an excavator. First appears in Lord of the Silent.
Anna Vandergelt 
Katherine Vandergelt's daughter by her first marriage, whom Cyrus later adopts and who expresses interest in becoming a nurse at the outbreak of war. First appears in He Shall Thunder in the Sky.
Kevin O'Connell 
An Irish reporter for the London Daily Yell, in whom "the journalist and the gentleman are always at war." He dogs the Emersons' steps for a story, but also pitches in when the crime-fighting gets tough. First appears in The Curse of the Pharaohs.
Margaret Minton 
A female reporter (one of the few), with even fewer scruples than O'Connell. Bears a striking resemblance to Amelia. First appears in Deeds of the Disturber as O'Connell's professional rival, and subsequently develops a crush on Radcliffe Emerson. Later marries Seth Emerson.
Karl von Bork 
A young German archaeologist who first appears in The Curse of the Pharaohs, marries the daughter of one of the suspects, and appears periodically in other stories.
Donald Fraser 
Young English nobleman who first appears in Lion in the Valley using the alias "Nemo", an upright man who loses himself in the Cairo underground while searching for his scoundrel brother. He is rescued by the Emersons, and marries Enid Debenham, his childhood sweetheart. Reappears in Seeing a Large Cat.
Enid Debenham Fraser 
Young Englishwoman who first appears in Lion in the Valley masquerading as a female archaeologist while searching Egypt for Donald. Begins a friendship with Ramses when he is still a child. Reappears in Seeing a Large Cat.
A young Egyptian woman who aspires to be an archaeologist, and whom the Emersons strive to help achieve her goal in spite of others' prejudices. First appears in Lord of the Silent. As of the end of Tomb of the Golden Bird, she and Bertie are engaged.
Sethos's daughter by Bertha. First appears in He Shall Thunder in the Sky using the pseudonym Melinda "Molly" Hamilton, with a crush on Ramses.
Sir Edward Washington 
English aristocrat and photographer. First appears in The Hippopotamus Pool, employed by the Emersons as their staff photographer, and one of Nefret's many admirers. Re-appears in The Ape Who Guards the Balance, and The Golden One. He is eventually revealed to be one of Sethos's most trusted lieutenants.
The Honourable Algernon Bracegirdle-Boisdragon, aka "Smith" 
Ramses's, and later Sethos's sometime case-officer for British Intelligence.
Ibrahim El-Gharbi 
Former kingpin of the prostitution houses of Cairo, known for his flamboyant transvestism. Though the Emersons despise his profession, he is often a useful source of information and aid in tight spots.


Nom de crime of the shadowy "Master Criminal" first encountered in The Mummy Case, who harbors a desire to possess Amelia. Although he is included here under "Enemies", Sethos and the Emerson clan declare a sort of truce, when it is revealed that Sethos is Emerson's illegitimate half brother in He Shall Thunder in the Sky. He is a master of disguise, able to take on almost any personality. He specializes in stealing and selling artifacts, though eventually he uses these talents as an agent of British intelligence.
Daughter of a German father and an Egyptian mother, she first appears in The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog as a henchwoman of the villainous Vincey, but later founds her own criminal gang, composed mostly of women. A formidable foe of the Emersons, she particularly hates Amelia, possibly in jealousy over Radcliffe and Sethos. Working briefly with Sethos, she becomes independent again. She is killed after trying to assassinate Amelia, but not before Abdullah dies in the attempt.
Bertha's bodyguard and right hand. Intelligent, ruthless, and terrifyingly strong.
Justine aka "Justin"
Bertha's daughter by Vincey, aka Schlange, a prostitute and later a criminal mastermind in her own right. Adept at disguise. First appears in Children of the Storm.
Jumana's brother. Cunning but volatile. First appears in Lord of the Silent; killed in The Golden One.

Based on real persons[edit]

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