RIP, Elizabeth Peters, Barbara Michaels, and Dr. Barbara Mertz

She earned a Ph.D. at 23 and had too much to say to be constrained under just one name. We're sad to share the news of the passing, at age 85, of a wonderful writer who became an MWA Grandmaster in 1998. From the Post-Tribune's obituary:

Mertz wrote more than 35 mysteries under the name Elizabeth Peters, including her most popular series about a daring Victorian archaeologist named Amelia Peabody. She also wrote 29 suspense novels under the pen name Barbara Michaels, and under her own name, she wrote nonfiction books about ancient Egypt. […]

“It has taken me over a quarter of a century to realize that I love to write, and that this is what I should have focused on from the beginning,” she wrote on her website.

We thank her for sharing her words.


  1. Melita Kennedy

    Well, rats. The Peabody-Emerson series really shows how wonderfully she grew as an author. Some of my favorites are the “second generation” books.

  2. Angela Korra'ti

    I saw this news going around yesterday and it was a punch right in the heart. This lady right here was a huge formative influence on my reading as a teenager, and on my writing once I began to put my own stories together.

    I’ve read every novel she released under both her pen names, and they’re all great friends to me. Many condolences to her family and friends on her passing, and to all her readers who loved her work as much as I do.

  3. James P. Pope

    sorry to hear of her passing, her website is very cool also.

  4. JB

    Oh, no! This hit me as if she were a member of my family. I knew she was getting up there; I just didn’t expect it just yet. I was hoping for another Amelia Peabody book – I have such a crush on Ramses! In fact, I am just on my way through another re-read of the Egypt books. This makes me incredibly sad.

  5. Lee Rowan

    Oh, no.. Charlotte MacLeot a few years, back, then Robert Parker, now Elizabeth Peters… Why do the people who should live forever not make it to at least 100?

  6. JackiY

    I literally gasped when I saw this. I wanted to put my head down on my desk and cry. Favorite. Author. Ever. I had hoped for another Jacqueline Kirby novel and some more Vicky Bliss and obviously, more Amelia. So, sad but she certainly had a wonderful life! What a mind!

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