Remembering Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels

RIP EP (960x1280) It was with much sorrow that I learned last week that Barbara Mertz (aka Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels) died on August 8. This notice appeared soon after on the author’s website:

“Barbara Mertz (aka Elizabeth Peters & Barbara Michaels) died peacefully at home early in the morning of Aug. 8, 2013. She had put up a very tough battle against cancer for over a decade, in a style worthy of Amelia. She preferred not to be fussed over, and so did not make her illness public. She died as she had told everyone she wanted to – unexpectedly, in her sleep. Shortly before her death, she had written a line to be posted on this webpage: “At 85, Elizabeth Peters (aka Barbara Michaels) is enjoying her cats, her garden, lots of chocolate, and not nearly enough gin.””

I never met Ms. Mertz, never saw her in person, but I’ll admit to having shed a few tears when I learned of her death. On Thursday evening I poured myself a whiskey and soda (one of Amelia Peabody’s favorite drinks) and began a reread of Crocodile on the Sandbank, the first in the Amelia Peabody series. Continue reading

Looking for a Few Good Gothic Heroines

misstress_of_mellyn When I wrote my post for the TBR Challenge yesterday, one of our commenters brought up a good point – it’s hard to find a gothic where the heroine isn’t a doormat. Nowadays, gothics are pretty hard to find anyway but even in their heyday, they seemed to have more than their fair share of childlike, frequently fainting heroines. Growing up, I remember my mom loved gothics and while I enjoyed some of the old books she picked up at library sales, there were definitely some helpless idiot heroines out there. And while The Jade Pagoda, the book I read for TBR Challenge yesterday, didn’t feature a completely spineless heroine, it still isn’t one I’d put on a list of recommendations.

After seeing the request for good gothic suggestions, Barbara Michaels immediately came to mind. Though better known today for her Amelia Peabody books written as Elizabeth Peters, under the Michaels name she has written a number of novels full of creepy Gothic goodness. Continue reading