| Barbara Mertz
September 29, 1927
Canton, Illinois (1927-09-29) |
Barbara Michaels, Elizabeth Peters
Suspense, Mystery, Thriller
August 8, 2013, Frederick, Maryland, United States
University of Chicago (1952), University of Chicago (1950), University of Chicago (1947)
Edgar Grand Master Award
Edgar Award for Best Critical/Biographical
Kristen Whitbread, Dennis Forbes, Mary Higgins Clark, Richard Mertz, Tom E. Huff, Peters
Crocodile on the Sandbank, The Curse of the Pharaohs, The Mummy Case, The Last Camel Died at N, Lion in the Valley
Barbara Louise Mertz (September 29, 1927 – August 8, 2013) was an American author who wrote under her own name as well as under the pseudonyms Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels. In 1952 she received a PhD in Egyptology from the University of Chicago. While she was best known for her mystery and suspense novels, in the 1960s she authored two books on ancient Egypt, both of which have remained in print ever since.
Barbara Mertz was born on September 29, 1927, in Canton, Illinois. She was graduated from the University of Chicago with a bachelor's degree in 1947, a master's degree in 1950, and a PhD in Egyptology in 1952, having studied with John A. Wilson. She authored two books on ancient Egypt (both of which have been continuously in print since first publication), but primarily wrote mystery and suspense novels. She became a published writer in 1964. She was married to Richard Mertz for 19 years (1950-1969) which ended in divorce. They had two children, Peter and Elizabeth Mertz.
Under the name Barbara Michaels, she wrote primarily gothic and supernatural thrillers. Her publisher chose that pseudonym since Mertz had already published one nonfiction book on ancient Egypt, and the publisher did not want Mertz's novels to be confused with her academic work. Under the pseudonym Elizabeth Peters, Mertz published her Amelia Peabody historical mystery series, using a nom de plume drawn from the names of her two children.
She was member of the Editorial Advisory Board of KMT, ("A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt"), Egypt Exploration Society, and the James Henry Breasted Circle of the University of Chicago Oriental Institute.
Mertz died at her home in Maryland on August 8, 2013.
Mertz received a number of award wins and nominations from the mystery community. Her first recognition came when Trojan Gold was nominated for the 1988 Anthony Award in the "Best Novel" category; the following year, Naked Once More won the 1989 Agatha Award in the same category. Following this Mertz earned a series of Agatha Award "Best Novel" nominations, including The Last Camel Died at Noon in 1991; The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog in 1992; Night Train to Memphis in 1994; Seeing a Large Cat in 1997; The Ape Who Guards the Balance in 1998; and He Shall Thunder in the Sky in 2000 which also received an Anthony Award "Best Novel" nomination in 2001. Mertz received a final Agatha Award nomination for "Best Novel" in 2002 for The Golden One and won the "Best Non-fiction Work" the following year for Amelia Peabody's Egypt: A Compendium, which also received an Edgar Award nomination in 2004 in the "Best Critical / Biographical Work" category. She was the recipient of a number of grandmaster and lifetime achievement awards, including being named Grandmaster at the Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grandmaster by the Mystery Writers of America in 1998; in 2003, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Malice Domestic Convention. In 2012 she was honored with the first Amelia Peabody Award at the Malice Domestic Convention; the award was named after the leading character in her long-running series.
Barbara Mertz Wikipedia