Mystery Authors You May Have Missed
Elizabeth Peters

Photo of Elizabeth Peters

Elizabeth Peters was raised in the Chicago suburbs. After receiving a scholarship to the University of Chicago, at the age of 23 she earned a Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute. She married Richard Mertz and had two children. Her first published work was a book on Egyptology (under the name Barbara Mertz). That was followed by another nonfiction book about Egypt and then, in 1966, she published her first mystery The Master of Blacktower…under the name Barbara Michaels. Since then she has published over twenty titles under that name (mostly romantic or supernatural thrillers), and over forty titles as Elizabeth Peters (mysteries with suspense) with her most popular character historical archaeologist Amelia Peabody. She currently resides in a farmhouse in rural Maryland and is enjoying time with her grandchildren.

What she writes: Peters is best known for her feisty and stubborn Victorian archaeologist Amelia Peabody, with whom Peters’ has written 19 historical mysteries. Filled with details of treks and digs throughout the world (mostly Egypt), Peters stories are also full of adventure and suspense. Another character she created, Jacqueline Kirby, is a librarian with a special knack for getting herself in the middle of danger and solving mysteries. Her “Vicky Bliss” mysteries use the main character’s job as a professor of art history as a jumping off point to stories of international suspense. Under the name Barbara Michaels, her works become more romantic and supernatural.


List of works
A sample of the Amelia Peabody series (written as Elizabeth Peters)
  Crocodile on the Sandbank (1975) -- cassette
  The Curse of the Pharaohs (1981) -- cassette -- eAudiobook
  The Mummy Case (1985) -- cassette -- CD -- large type
  Lion in the Valley (1986) -- cassette -- large type
  The Deeds of the Disturber (1988) -- CD -- large type
  The Last Camel Died at Noon (1991) -- cassette -- large type
  The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog (1992) -- cassette -- large type
  The Hippopotamus Pool (1996) -- large type
  Seeing a Large Cat (1997) -- cassette -- CD -- large type
  The Ape Who Guards the Balance (1998) --cassette -- large type
  The Falcon at the Portal (1999) -- cassette -- large type
  He Shall Thunder in the Sky (2000) -- cassette -- CD -- large type
  Lord of the Silent (2001) -- cassette -- CD -- large type
  The Golden One (2002) -- cassette -- large type
  Children of the Storm (2003) -- cassette -- CD -- large type
  Amelia Peabody's Egypt (2003) -- nonfiction compendium of Amelia's world
  Guardian of the Horizon (2004) -- CD -- large type
  The Serpent on the Crown (2005) -- CD -- large type
  Tomb of the Golden Bird (2006) -- CD -- large type
Vicky Bliss series (written as Elizabeth Peters)
  Borrower of the Night (1973) -- cassette -- eAudiobook -- large type
  Street of the Five Moons (1978) -- cassette
  Silhouette in Scarlet (1983) -- cassette
  Trojan Gold (1987) -- cassette -- large type
  Night Train to Memphis (1994) -- cassette -- eAudiobook -- large type
Jacqueline Kirby series (written as Elizabeth Peters)
  The Seventh Sinner (1972) -- large type
  The Murders of Richard III (1974) -- large type
  Die for Love (1984)
  Naked Once More (1989) -- cassette -- large type
A few of the titles written as Barbara Michaels
  The Master of Blacktower (1966)
  The Dark on the Other Side (1970)
  Greygallows (1972)
  The Sea King's Daughter (1975)
  Someone in the House (1981) -- cassette
  Shattered Silk (1986)
  Smoke and Mirrors (1989)
  Into the Darkness (1990) -- cassette
  Vanish with the Rose (1992) -- cassette -- large type
  Stitches in Time (1995) -- large type
Written as Barbara Mertz (Egyptology nonfiction)
  Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs (2007)
  Red Land, Black Land (2008)


  • Named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards, 1986
  • Won an Agatha Award for Naked Once More, 1989
  • Named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America at the Edgar Awards, 1998
  • Given a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Agatha Awards, 2003
  • Serves on the Board of Governors of The American Research Center in Egypt
What the critics say
"A new Amelia Peabody mystery is like visiting old friends." - USA Today (August 6, 1998)
"Michaels writes in an elegant and intelligent style, and the tales are presented as puzzles to be solved..." - Billboard (March 13, 1999)
"…Mixes hilarity in with the history lesson." - People (July 3, 2000)
"A thrilling tale…with some of the most engaging characters in mystery fiction." - Winston-Salem Journal (May 30, 2004)
"Peters lays out her scenes of romantic derring-do with such a lavish hand that is seems a bit nerdy to draw attention to the deeper pleasure of the rich scholarship involved in these archaeological mysteries." - New York Times Book Review (April 10, 2005)
"Once again, heroine Amelia Peabody brilliantly analyzes the mystery with style, intelligence, and panache." - Booklist (July 2005)


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