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The Night of Four Hundred Rabbits

Cover of The Night of Four Hundred Rabbits

The Night of Four Hundred Rabbits

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An unexpected "gift" has arrived for Carol Farley this Christmas: an envelope with no return address containing a newspaper clipping. Blurred but unmistakable is a photo of a man missing for years and...More
An unexpected "gift" has arrived for Carol Farley this Christmas: an envelope with no return address containing a newspaper clipping. Blurred but unmistakable is a photo of a man missing for years and...More
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Description-
  • An unexpected "gift" has arrived for Carol Farley this Christmas: an envelope with no return address containing a newspaper clipping. Blurred but unmistakable is a photo of a man missing for years and feared dead--Carol's father. It is a summons calling her to a world she has never known, to a place of ancient majesty and blood-chilling terror. Surrounded by towering pyramids on Mexico City's Walk of the Dead, a frightened yet resolute young woman searches for a perilous truth and for the beloved parent she thought was gone forever. But there are dark secrets lurking in the shadows of antiquity, a conspiracy she never imagined . . . and enemies who are determined that Carol Farley will not leave Mexico alive.

 
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  • Chapter One

    I wish some university, somewhere, offered a course in survival.

    Not how to survive when your plane crashes in the jungle, or when you get lost in the woods. Not even how to survive in the jungle-cities of today. Maybe, if I'd studied karate or carried a gun, I would have managed matters more efficiently during my recent misadventures. But I don't think karate or firearms would have helped. What I needed was a course in how to understand human beings.

    There are courses in everything else. All of them lead, by some obscure chain of connection, to the acquisition of the Good Life -- a nice house in the suburbs, with a nice husband who has a nice job, and a parcel of nice kids. These days they even teach you how to produce the kids -- complete with anatomical charts and tests to find out whether or not you're frigid. If my only experience of S-E-X had come from that classroom, I might have decided it would be more fun to set up a workshop and build some nice little robots. You could program the robots to be "nice," which is more than you can do for real children.

    But there are no courses in survival.

    When you're small, you don't worry about surviving. Other people protect you from danger. They hide the bottles of bleach and the aspirin, and they won't let you ride your tricycle down the middle of the street. Eventually you realize that drinking bleach can make you dead, and so can cars, when you're in the middle of the street.

    So what I want to know is: At what age do you learn about people? Your parents can't teach you that; they can't put the bad guys on a high shelf, like bottles of bleach. And one of the reasons why they can't is because they can't tell the good guys from the bad guys either. That's maturity -- when you realize that you've finally arrived at a state of ignorance as profound as that of your parents.

    I've had my experience, enough to last a lifetime, and all crammed into ten days. I'd like to think that I've learned something from it. But I don't know; if anything, decisions are harder to make now, because so many of the nice neat guidelines I used to accept have become blurred and confused. As I look back on it, I suspect I'd probably go right ahead and repeat the same blunders I made the first time.

    If they were blunders. That's what I mean, about things getting blurry. Every action seems to produce a mixture of results, some good, some bad, some immediate, and some so far removed from the original event that you can barely see the connection.

    Take, for example, that stupid comment I made the day I arrived home from college for Christmas vacation.

    It was snowing outside, and the Christmas tree glittered with colored lights and shiny ornaments; and I looked at the packages under the tree, which were all, by their shapes, dress boxes and sweater boxes and little boxes made to hold costume jewelry and stockings; and I opened my big, flapping mouth, and I said,

    "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents."

    It was a feeble attempt at wit, I admit. It was also a tactical error, and I should have known better. I did know, even before I saw my mother's face congeal like quick-drying plaster. Helen liked to reminisce about my childhood, but this was the wrong kind of memory.

    The reading aloud -- that was George's thing. It went on for years, long after I reached an age when I could read to myself. And Little Women was one of our private jokes -- George protesting feebly that no male should ever be expected to read Little Women, and me insisting that Little Women was the greatest book ever written, and that no literary education, male or female, was complete without it.

About the Author-
  • Elizabeth Peters earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. She was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1998. In 2003, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Malice Domestic Convention. She lives in a historic farmhouse in western Maryland.

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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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