About

Barbara Mertz waving a pith hat cheerfully

Photo by Shaun N Campbell

This is the official webpage of Barbara G. Mertz (Sept. 29, 1927-Aug. 8, 2013), an American author and Egyptologist.  Born and raised in Illinois, she attended the University of Chicago, where she received a BA in 1947, an MA in 1950, and a PhD  from the Oriental Institute in 1952.  She wrote non-fiction under her own name, and was a successful novelist under the names Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels – over time accumulating top prizes (and many nominations) from almost all of the major mystery writers’ associations, including Agatha, Edgar, Anthony, and Amelia Awards.  (The Amelia Award was named after one of Mertz’s own beloved characters.) Her recognitions included multiple grandmaster and lifetime achievement awards from groups such as the Mystery Writers of America, Bouchercon, and Malice Domestic.

A founder of Malice Domestic, the popular “cozy” mystery writers’ conference, Dr. Mertz worked on behalf of recognition for women mystery writers and the styles of writing traditionally associated with women.   Her novels featured strong female leading characters as well as archaeological and historical themes, and were recognized for their accuracy as well as their humor.  She was honored that so many Egyptologists pointed to her non-fiction writing as a source of their initial love affairs with ancient Egypt.

This webpage, sponsored by Mertz’s small family company “MPM Manor,” contains an extensive archive of her newsletters and notes to fans while she was alive.  It also provides updates on new developments in the still-lively worlds of Mertz-Peters-Michaels (MPM) fans and projects.  We honor not only the books but also Mertz’s vibrant and often humorous take on everything from cats and gardens to Egypt and the art of writing.

To read about Barbara’s life in her own words, visit her archived Biography page.