Barbara Mertz, a best-selling mystery writer who wrote dozens of novels under two pen names, has died. She was 85.
Mertz died Thursday morning at her home, in Frederick, Md., her daughter Elizabeth told her publisher HarperCollins.
Mertz wrote more than 35 mysteries under the name Elizabeth Peters, including her most popular series about a daring Victorian archaeologist named 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.
Born Barbara Louise Gross, Mertz grew up in small-town Illinois during the Depression and went to the University of Chicago on scholarship, where she wrote on her website, “I was supposed to be preparing myself to teach — a nice, sensible career for a woman.”
But her true love was archaeology, and she soon found herself drawn to the department of Egyptology. She received a Ph.D. at the age of 23.
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