Barbara 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 had two children, Peter and Elizabeth Mertz. She became a published writer in 1964.
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...
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