Legend in Green Velvet

Legend in Green Velvet

by Elizabeth Peters

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It was a dream come true. Susan loved all things Scottish. So, when the opportunity presented itself, there was no question in her mind but that she would go on the archaeological dig in the Highlands. A cryptic message slipped to Susan by a sinister soap box orator was the first puzzle. Why did he choose her? Why was he chasing her? And why were she and the handsome young laird Jamie Erskine suddenly being pursued by the police who wanted to talk to them about...murder? Jamie stood by the desk. ‘You aren’t afraid of me, are you?’ Susan considered the question. It was the first time it had occurred to her that she might have reasons to be afraid; but the accumulated facts suddenly washed over her and took her breath away. ‘No,’ she said, with perfect truth. ‘Should I be? What do you have in mind?’ from Legend in Green Velvet

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812507508
Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Publication date: 03/28/1989
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Peters earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago’s famed Oriental Institute. During her fifty-year career, she wrote more than seventy novels and three nonfiction books on Egypt. She received numerous writing awards and, in 2012, was given the first Amelia Peabody Award, created in her honor. She died in 2013, leaving a partially completed manuscript of The Painted Queen.


A farm in rural Maryland

Date of Birth:

September 29, 1927

Place of Birth:

Canton, Illinois


M.A., Ph.D. in Egyptology, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1952

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The gravestones were black.

Jetty crosses, ebon urns and tablets, sable angels folding sable wings over somber stones ... A Devil's graveyard; a cemetery of Satanists.

In actual fact Susan did not find the sight at all sinister. In the mellow summer sunshine, nestled cozily among emerald grass, the black stones had a certain bizarre charm. As Susan looked down on the cemetery she felt not a single premonitory shiver. Which only goes to prove that premonitions, like history, are more or less bunk.

She had an excellent view from one of the bridges that arch superbly over the gorge separating the lower section of Edinburgh from the high ridge of the old city. Edinburgh is three different cities: the drab, sprawling suburbs of the recent past; the elegant, formal squares of the eighteenth century town; and, dominating the skyline, the tangled closes and wynds of the ancient capital. From the heights of Castle Rock, more than four hundred feet above sea level, the old streets slant down toward the foot of Arthur's Seat; and the mile-long slopes are crowded with buildings whose turreted, gabled, and towered roofs form a skyline unsurpassed in any city of the world.

Susan had fallen in love with it that morning, when she came out of the station after the all night train ride from London. The weather had been fine; the stone battlements of Edinburgh Castle were outlined against a translucent sky, and the tall old houses reached up out of lavender shadows like elderly aristocrats stretching toward the warmth of the sun. Susan was staring bemusedly out the taxi window when the driver's sour voice shattered her reverie.

"Aye, aye,gawk awa'," he remarked disagreeably. "Rich, spoiled Americans, wasting guid siller on pleasure and paying nae heed to the struggles of an oppressed people ... "

"I've come here to work," Susan said, with perfect good humor; it would take more than a grumpy taxi driver to destroy her mood on such a morning, and the man's accent delighted her. "I'm an archaeology student, and I expect to spend the summer on my hands and knees, digging. And living in a leaky tent. At least I assume it will leak. I'm not getting paid, either. I saved the plane fare by baby-sitting and doing housework last summer. Who's oppressing you?"

It was tantamount to removing a plug. The tirade continued all the way down Princes Street. When they turned into the neatly squared-off streets in the "new" city, Susan interrupted. She suspected that the lecture would have continued indefinitely if she had not.

"You're a Scottish Nationalist," she said, pleased. "How fascinating!"

"Fascinating!" The driver's voice expressed ineffable scorn; no one in the world can express it better than a Scot. "Five meelion souls writhing in the mailed fist o' Sassenach oppression, and ye call it -- "

"We broke away from the Sassenachs ourselves," Susan reminded him. "What are you mad at me for? I don't know much about the subject -- at least I didn't, until a few minutes ago -- but you ought to expect an American to be sympathetic about home rule."

The driver was silent for a moment, maneuvering the car through a crowded intersection.

"Aye, weel," he said thoughtfully. "That's true. Nae doot I've been a wee bit unfair. But ye'd be better off studying some moder-r-rn history, instead of delving in the past."

"But it's Scottish history we're digging up," Susan said. "Macbeth and Duncan -- the Picts -- Robert the Bruce ... Aren't you proud of your history?"

It was an unfortunate question, for it started another lecture that lasted until they drew up in front of the small, unpretentious hotel Susan had selected to fit her limited budget. The driver was in a better mood by then, however; he gave Susan a meager smile as he turned to open the door for her, and when she offered him a tip, he waved it away.

"A wor-r-king pairson should not be extravagant," he announced. "Keep yer siller, lass. And apply yer mind to serious matters."

Eight hours later, leaning on the parapet of the bridge, Susan smiled as she remembered the conversation. It had been an engaging introduction to Edinburgh; and the ensuing time had confirmed her affection for the city and its inhabitants. She had stopped in the hotel only long enough to unpack. The streets drew her, and she had been walking ever since, with a short stop for lunch. Her legs ached from the unaccustomed climbing.

Like most tourists, she had headed first of all for the old city and the Royal Mile; but, unlike the majority of visitors, she knew all the famous landmarks and the stories connected with them. She had been infatuated with Scotland for as long as she could remember. It was one of those unaccountable attractions, for to the best of her knowledge she had not a drop of Scottish blood in her veins. She liked to think of herself as a reasonable romantic, who could enjoy the legends and traditions without believing in their reality; and she told herself firmly that it was not some mystical theory of déjà vu, but rather prolonged study, that made every view seem familiar to her doting eyes. From the Castle, through Lawn-market, the High Street and Canongate, the thoroughfare called the Royal Mile slopes down to Holyroodhouse, the palace that has housed so many of Scotland's ill-fated kings -- and her most ill-fated queen. Mary, Queen of Scots, the femme fatale of royalty -- how many men had died for her legendary charm? Rizzio, her favorite, stabbed to death under her very eyes -- and one of the murderers Mary's own husband, Darnley ... Darnley himself, the victim of one of history's most mysterious unsolved crimes ... Bothwell, Mary's third husband, probably the murderer of her second husband, dying mad in a Danish prison ... And the young men who had conspired to rescue Mary from her prison, and who had perished horribly under the ax and on the rack.

Legend in Green Velvet. Copyright © by Elizabeth Peters. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Legend in Green Velvet 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so good, not just as a mystery, but it really gets you interested in Scotish history.
mausergem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a mystery/thriller novel about an archeology student who comes to Scotland for a dig and gets involved in a racket of antique thieves. She with her friend James solve a mystery.This is a fairly lame mystery as mysteries go. It completely lacked the finesse and the punch.
chinquapin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Susan is a young archaeology student with a passion for Scottish history. She comes to Scotland to work on a dig and becomes entwined in an antiquities theft ring. She meets James, the sarcastic son of a Scottish laird, who even lives in a relic of a castle. James helps her uncover the thieves and restore the antiquities, mostly while running desperately across Scotland. This was a fun, quick read with a fairly straightforward plot. I liked the quirky, wacky characters. James' father was hilarious. There was plenty of action and plot twists and turns that kept me reading briskly until the end.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Peters never takes her stories too seriously, which is what makes them fun and engaging. Susan and Jamie are likeable and witty. There's plenty of Scottish flavor and an obvious love for the history and legends of the country. Finally, there are plenty of "characters" to give the novel some color.
ImBookingIt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoy reading an Elizabeth Peters romantic adventure, and this one was no exception. I'm not sure how I managed to miss it until now!Susan has a passion for Scottish history, (and so I learned a number of tidbits as the story advanced) and this leads to a case of mistaken identity, and gets her embroiled in a nasty affair, with bad guys trying to kill her. Luckily her wits and the resources of the guy that gets dragged into this with her are enough to keep them a step or two ahead.Bonus points for a brief appearance by an inconvenient and adorable ginger kitten.
JoAnnSmithAinsworth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting plot, but lacked tension. Spent more time saying why they couldn¿t investigate ¿ with minor things like I¿m hungry ¿ than giving us the drama of investigating. Read to the end, though, since the plot was good.
annbury on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Standard non-Amelia Peters, featuring young archaeologist heroine, picturesque locale (Scotland), sympathetic if sharp tongued young hero, danger, intrigues, etc. Not as good as the Vicky Bliss novels, in my view, but still a pleasant read, buoyed by Peters' humor and habit of inserting interesting bits of local information.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent writing by Peters. Some of her books are my favorites. This one is suspenseful and fast-paced, but also hilarious much of the time. Hope you enjoy it like I have. Re-reading it is like a visit with a good funny friend.
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