Elizabeth Peters (writing as Barbara Michaels) was born and brought up in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. Peters was named Grandmaster at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986, Grandmaster by the Mystery Writers of America at the Edgar(R) Awards in 1998, and given The Lifetime Achievement Award at Malice Domestic in 2003. She lives in an historic farmhouse in western Maryland.
Norma West unevenly narrates Michaels's (The Dancing Floor, Audio Reviews, LJ 5/1/98) historical romance. Table-turning, a familiar party game in the better circles of Victorian London, turns all too real for ingenue Marianne Ransom. The innocent, country-bred girl, a guest of a wealthy duchess, discovers that her body acts as a spirit channel. Suddenly her parentage is called into question, along with other concerns that certain people would prefer to leave unanswered. Unfortunately, narrator Norma West doesn't have the repertoire of voices required for this book. Although her depiction of Marianne is letter-perfect, the other characters require greater nuances than West is able to effect. Male voices are particularly troublesome. Too close attention is required to discern the identity of the male speakers. The story itself is neither particularly memorable nor terribly believable. Not a necessary purchase.‘Jodi L. Israel, Jamaica Plain, MA