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Summer of the Dragon    by Elizabeth Peters order for
Summer of the Dragon
by Elizabeth Peters
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2001 (1979)
Paperback, Audio

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* *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Another of Elizabeth Peters' romantic adventures, Summer of the Dragon features one of her trademark bright and lively heroines caught up in mysterious and dangerous antics. Budding athropologist D.J. Abbott accepts a summer job with a wealthy eccentric whose many interests range from the occult to scientific pursuits. Hank Hunnicutt's projects seem to lie in the lunatic fringe, which scares off most legitimate researchers. However, D. J. pooh-poohs any concerns about her as yet unestablished reputation, seizes the opportunity to escape smothering parental attention, and finds herself rubbing shoulders with psychics, dowsers, past-life experts, UFOlogists, fortune tellers, and con artists.

Hunnicutt is keeping his latest venture a secret, but he insists that D.J.'s expertise is essential to his plans. Somebody else obviously has plans too: odd accidents are happening. D.J. is drugged, Hunnicutt's equipment is sabotaged, his hunky assistant Tom De Karsky is attacked, and finally Hunnicutt himself disappears. It is up to D.J. and two allies to save the day, for no one believes Hunnicutt is actually in danger, suspecting instead that he is off in pursuit of another of his enthusiasms.

Peters delivers a well-paced, diverting tale. D.J. is a delight, frank to the point of bluntness, with an unapologetic gusto for all the pleasures that life offers, especially food. Her hostility-riddled relationship with Tom leads to romance, but Peters' many fans will not be surprised that she can make this time-worn romantic convention fresh and fun. Once again, the author justifies her reputation for an entertaining read, peopled with lively characters. Her deft, light touch is evident in the smooth pacing and writing. All in all, Summer of the Dragon is a perfect summer read.

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