Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Barbara Mertz  

Pen Name: Elizabeth Peters, Barbara Michaels

Genre: C:ADULT Fiction Non-Fiction

Born: 1928


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


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