Elizabeth Peters' adventure novels are amusing, intelligent, and marvelously successful at spoofing their genre while providing all the pleasures of the real thing. In her recent novels particularly Ms. Peters has taken the classic Mary Stewart-style adventure/romance and turned it into witty, literate pieces of fluff that even a 1990's romantic can wholeheartedly enjoy. No one, on reading the perfectly balanced immodesty (in all senses of the word) of Ms. Peters' latest heroes and heroines, need feel that they are subverting their feminist ideals, or feel obliged to adopt the resolute blinkers needed to enjoy the charming but socially distressing romances of , say, Georgette Heyer (whose unspoken assumptions about class, gender and race would, if met face-on, deeply offend just about any American today).
The Camelot Caper was one of Ms. Peters earlier ventures, and while it is picture-perfect with its spoof it hadn't, in the late 1960's, quite broken through a certain passive cast to the heroine that was once endemic to these sorts of stories. It did, however, introduce a highly amusing, rather attractive villain whose name will evoke whoops of delight from fans of the superb art historian-turned-amateur-detective series most recently embodied in Ms. Peters' Night Train to Memphis. For that alone (though there is also some very funny dialogue), this book is definitely worth a first or a return read.