Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Barbara Mertz  

Pen Name: Elizabeth Peters, Barbara Michaels

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Born: 1928

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Mertz grew up in small-town Illinois during the Depression. Her family moved to a Chicago suburb when she was in 4th grade. She attended Oak Park-River Forest High School and went to the University of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Mertz wrote more than 35 mysteries under thename Elizabeth Peters, including her most popular series about a daring Victorian archaeologist namesd 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. In 1950, Mertz received her MA from the University of Chicago. She so loved archaeology and was drawn to Egyptology that she received her Ph.D in 1952 from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Mertz married in 1950. After moving to Germany with her husband, she tried her hand at writing. She wrote two nonfiction books about Egypt under her name before having her first fiction book published, The Master of Blacktower, under the Michael's name.Mertz passed on August 8, 2013 at her home in Frederick, Maryland.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody)
ISBN: 0445406518

Warner Books. 1988

"If Indiana Jones were female, a wife, and a mother who lived in Victorian times, he would be Amelia Peabody Emerson."-Publishers Weekly

Amelia Peabody, that indomitable product of the Victorian age, embarks on her debut Egyptian adventure armed with unshakable self-confidence, a journal to record her thoughts, and, of course, a sturdy umbrella. On her way to Cairo, Amelia rescues young Evelyn Barton-Forbes, who has been abandoned by her scoundrel lover. Together the two women sail up the Nile to an archeological site run by the Emerson brothers-the irascible but dashing Radcliffe and the amiable Walter. Soon their little party is increased by one-one mummy that is, and a singularly lively example of the species.

Strange visitations, suspicious accidents, and a botched kidnapping convince Amelia that there is a plot afoot to harm Evelyn. Now Amelia finds herself up against an unknown enemy-and perilous forces that threaten to make her first Egyptian trip also her last . . .

Praise for Elizabeth Peters and Crocodile on the Sandbank
"A writer so popular that the public library has to keep her books under lock and key." -Washington Post Book World

"Grand views of Egyptian antiquities . . . a sparkling series."
-Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

The Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody, Book 2)
ISBN: 0445406488

Grand Central Publishing. 1988

One of the best-loved of mystery writers weaves another tale of intrigue featuring Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe of Crocodile on the Sandbank. This time the willful and witty duo must catch a murderer at an excavation of an ancient Egyptian tomb.

The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog (Amelia Peabody, Book 7)
ISBN: 0446364789

Grand Central Publishing. 1994

The delightful seventh adventure for popular heroine Amelia Peabody. The 19th-century Egyptologist and her dashing husband, Emerson, return to Amarna, where they first fell in love. When Emerson is kidnapped, Amelia must rescue her husband, find the culprit, and save her marriage.

The Hippopotamus Pool (Amelia Peabody, Book 8)
ISBN: 0446603988

Grand Central Publishing. 1997

A masked stranger offers to reveal an Egyptian queen's lost tomb...and Amelia Peabody and her irascible archeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, are intrigued, to say the least. When the guide mysteriously disappears before he tells his secret, the husband-and-wife team sail to Thebes to follow his trail, helped-and hampered-by their teenage son, Ramses, and beautiful ward, Nefret. But before the sands of time shift very far, all will be risking their lives foiling murderers, kidnappers, grave robbers, and ancient curses. And the Hippopotamus Pool? It's a legend of war and wits that Amelia is translating, one that alerts her to a hippo of a different type-a nefarious, overweight art dealer who may become her next archenemy!

The Serpent on the Crown (Amelia Peabody Series)
ISBN: 006059179X

Avon. 2006

A priceless relic has been delivered to the Emerson home overlooking the Nile. But more than history surrounds this golden likeness of a forgotten king, for it is said early death will befall anyone who possesses it.

The woman who implores the renowned family of archaeologists and adventurers to accept the cursed statue insists the ill-gotten treasure has already killed her husband. Further, she warns, unless it is returned to the tomb from which it was stolen, more will surely die. With the world finally at peace—and with Egypt's ancient mysteries opened to them once more—Amelia Peabody and her loved ones are plunged into a storm of secrets, treachery, and murder by a widow's strange story and even stranger request. Each step toward the truth reveals a new peril, suggesting this curse is no mere superstition. And the next victim of the small golden king could be any member of the close-knit clan—perhaps even Amelia herself.

Tomb of the Golden Bird (Amelia Peabody Series)
ISBN: 0060591811

Harper. 2007

Tomb of the Golden Bird (Amelia Peabody Mysteries)

He Shall Thunder in the Sky: An Amelia Peabody Novel of Suspense (Amelia Peabody Series)
ISBN: 006195165X

Harper. 2010

Trouble is brewing in Egypt at the close of 1914 and no one will escape the coming tempest. With the world at war, Amelia Peabody and her husband Radcliffe Emerson have returned to Cairo for another season of archaeological excavation—despite the increasing danger of an attack on the Suez Canal and on Egypt itself.

A terrible conflict looms. A long-simmering love affair is resolved. A dastardly plot unfolds. There is no escaping the furious storm that now threatens the Emersons and their world—so Amelia plunges right into it.

A River in the Sky: A Novel (Amelia Peabody Mysteries)
ISBN: 0061246263

William Morrow. 2010

A River in the Sky: A Novel (Amelia Peabody Mysteries)

The Mummy Case (Amelia Peabody)
ISBN: 0061999202

Harper. 2011

Radcliffe Emerson, the irascible husband of fellow archaeologist and Egyptologist Amelia Peabody, has earned the nickname "Father of Curses"—and at Mazghunah he demonstrates why. Denied permission to dig at the pyramids of Dahshoor, he and Amelia are resigned to excavating mounds of rubble in the middle of nowhere. And there is nothing in the barren area worthy of their interest—until an antiquities dealer is murdered in his own shop. A second sighting of a sinister stranger from the crime scene, a mysterious scrap of papyrus, and a missing mummy case have all whetted Amelia's curiosity. But when the Emersons start digging for answers in an ancient tomb, events take a darker and deadlier turn—and there may be no surviving the very modern terrors their efforts reveal.

Lion in the Valley: An Amelia Peabody Novel of Suspense (Amelia Peabody Series)
ISBN: 0061999210

Harper. 2011

The 1895-96 season promises to be an exceptional one for Amelia Peabody, her dashing Egyptologist husband, Emerson, and their wild and precocious eight-year-old son, Ramses. The much-coveted burial chamber of the Black Pyramid in Dahshoor is theirs for the digging. But there is a great evil in the wind that roils the hot sands sweeping through the bustling streets and marketplaces of Cairo. The brazen moonlight abduction of Ramses—and an expedition subsequently cursed by misfortune and death—have alerted Amelia to the likely presence of her arch nemesis the Master Criminal, notorious looter of the living and the dead. But it is far more than ill-gotten riches that motivates the evil genius this time around. For now the most valuable and elusive prize of all is nearly in his grasp: the meddling lady archaeologist who has sworn to deliver him to justice . . . Amelia Peabody!


Awards

-- Grandmaster Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mystery Writers of America, 1998