Amelia Peabody's biographer, Barbara Mertz, enters the Field of Rushes

If you like historical mysteries then you probably already know about Amelia Peabody, the late Victorian sleuth.  Peabody's colourful and somewhat forceful personality was matched only by that of her husband Emerson ("the greatest Egyptologist of this or any other era").

As you might guess, Peabody and Emerson did all their best work in Egypt.  They solved crimes while digging at famous archaeological sites, and helping out their less experienced colleagues, such as young Howard Carter.  Many of the crimes that Peabody solved were linked to ancient Egyptian myths or folk stories, thus creating the novel situation of an historical mystery inside an historical mystery.

Peabody's private journal fell into the hands of Barbara Mertz, herself an Egyptologist, who writing under the name Elizabeth Peters has given us a fictionalized account of Peabody's career.

It is with sadness that I learn today that Barbara Mertz has died at age 85.  She also wrote reams of other stuff, including a short series about an art history sleuth named Vicky Bliss whose boyfriend is an international thief, which I thought every bit as good as the Peabody stories.  Alas, there shall be no more.


Pepper Smith said...

One of my favorite authors. Sigh.

Orange said...

Thanks for this wonderful post, which describes her artful, varied work.