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Elizabeth Peters

  • That's maturity — when you realize that you've finally arrived at a state of ignorance as profound as that of your parents.

  • Giving other people advice is one of the most irritating and useless activities known to man.

  • ... a church ought to express the joy of religion as well as its majesty.

  • Most men are reasonably useful in a crisis. The difficulty lies in convincing them that the situation has reached a critical point.

  • ... dogs ... can be made to feel guilty about anything, including the sins of their owners. Cats refuse to take the blame for anything — including their own sins.

  • In Jacqueline's experience, charming out-of-the-way restaurants were frequently attached to out-of-the-way motels.

  • There is nothing sadder than the cheerful letters of the dead, expressing hopes that were never fulfilled, ambitions that were never achieved, dreams cut off before they could come to fruition.

  • A writer didn't need 'an' idea for a book; she needed at least forty. And 'get' was the wrong word, implying that you received an idea as you would a gift. You didn't get ideas. You smelled them out, tracked them down, wrestled them into submission; you pursued them with forks and hope, and if you were lucky enough to catch one you impaled it, with the forks, before the sneaky little devil could get away.

  • It was hate at first sight, clean, pure and strong as grain alcohol.

  • Exaggeration is the cheapest form of humor.

  • To argue without knowledge is like trying to weave without thread.

    • Elizabeth Peters,
    • "The Locked Tomb Mystery," in Marilyn Wallace, ed., Sisters in Crime ()
  • The way to get on with a cat is to treat it as an equal — or even better, as the superior it knows itself to be.

  • Children, I feel, are as much entitled to privacy as human beings.

  • No woman really wants a man to carry her off, she only wants him to want to do it.

  • The approval of a cat cannot but flatter the recipient.

  • Marriage should be a balanced stalemate between equal adversaries.

  • When one is striding bravely into the future, one cannot watch one's footing.

  • Martyrdom is often the result of excessive gullibility.

  • Superstition has its practical uses.

  • It is easier to counterfeit old age than youth.

  • Loving someone condemns you to a lifetime of fear. You become painfully conscious of how fragile people are — bundles of brittle bones and vulnerable flesh, breeding grounds for billions of deadly germs and horrible diseases.

  • The trouble with unknown enemies is that they are so hard to identify.

  • Humor is an excellent method of keeping a tight rein on unproductive displays of emotion.

  • Husbands do not care to be contradicted. Indeed, I do not know anyone who does.

  • Nothing looks as self-satisfied as a contented cat.

  • If someone lies down and invites you to trample upon him, you are a remarkable individual if you decline the invitation.

  • A fondness for martyrdom, especially of the verbal variety, is common to the young.

  • A man asking for help ought to at least give directions.

  • People who relate what they believe to be new and startling information like to have such information received with exclamations of astonishment and admiration.

  • It may take us a little longer to reach the summit, but never fear, we will get there!

  • ... kissing someone out of pity is always a mistake.

  • Karl accepted, of course. Poor lonely chap, he would have accepted an invitation to a hanging if he could be with us.

  • ... there is nothing like a garden to rest the soul.

  • ... stereotypes are awfully misleading. There are typical librarians, but not all librarians are typical.

  • When emotion supersedes reason ... gullibility must follow.

  • I never meant to marry. In my opinion, a woman born in the last half of the nineteenth century of the Christian era suffered from enough disadvantages without willfully embracing another.

Elizabeth Peters, U.S. Egyptologist, novelist

(1927 - 2013)

Real name: Barbara Louise Gross Mertz. She also wrote, equally successfully, as Barbara Michaels.