Born in 1927 in Canton, Illinois, Barbara G. Mertz earned her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago. She wrote nearly seventy books, including two non-fiction books, both still in print, on ancient Egypt. To avoid confusion with her academic work, she adopted pseudonyms for her novels. Under the name Barbara Michaels, she wrote gothic and supernatural books, many set in Egypt and the Middle East. As Elizabeth Peters, she authored the historic mystery-suspense books featuring Amelia Peabody. Among her other honors, The Mystery Writers of American named her the MWA Grandmaster in 1998. She died in 2013.