the imprudence of standing in the way of a woman on a mission
August 8, 2013 8:47 PM Subscribe
Barbara Mertz, whose writing career encompassed over sixty books and three nom de plumes,
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has died at the age of 85.
As Barbara Mertz, she wrote scholarly books on Egyptology after receiving a doctorate from the from the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago in 1951, but then turned her hand to writing fiction under the names Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels.
Along the way, she created some fantastic heroines, including the intrepid archeologist Amelia Peabody, the tart librarian and author Jacqueline Kirby, and the art historian Vicky Bliss, who was frequently embroiled in capers due to the less-than-law-abiding Sir John Smythe. As Barbara Michaels, she wrote stories with supernatural thrills, including the Georgetown trilogy
which feature old family secrets and haunted quilts and a little smidgen of romance in between. Her romances rarely got more explicit than a few steamy kisses or innuendo before she tactfully drew the curtain, but as she put it, “I have a theory about sex scenes,” she said. “I start them on track and let the reader’s imagination take over. One of my biggest compliments was, ‘You never use a word that would make my grandmother blush. But that tent just steams.’ ”
Most of all, however, her heroines were smart, determined, and brave whether they were pursuing the gold of Troy or the lost tomb of an Egyptian princess.
A complete list of her books as well as the multiple awards she won can be found here