My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Truth be told, it’d been so long since I’d read The Hippopotamus Pool, book 8 of the Amelia Peabodies, that I’d totally forgotten what it was about–and in particular, that it introduced the critical character of David Todros, grandson of Abdullah, the Emerson family’s reis. After recently re-reading it, I didn’t came away with much more than that either.
Which is not to say that things don’t happen in The Hippopotamus Pool, because they do. There is quite the upheaval in the underworld of Cairo following a Certain Event at the end of the previous book, and the Emersons must deal with two different antagonists. As with the previous story, there’s a tie-in with how the adventure at hand seems to tie in with the translation work on Egyptian myths Amelia’s doing; this time around, though, that particular plot device didn’t work for me as well as it did in Book 7.
On the whole, too, the plot just didn’t work for me as well. Even after recently re-reading it, I’m having a hard time thinking of things that stand out aside from the introduction of one other important character: Bertha, who is quite important in the next couple of books. So just to get the context on her as well as the introduction of David, you might make sure to include this book in a comprehensive read of the entire series. But if you’re looking for the high points, you could skip this one without too much trouble. Three stars.