C&R 'saddened' by Barbara Mertz death

Publisher Constable & Robinson has said it is "saddened" to hear of the death of mystery writer Barbara Mertz at the age of 85.

American author Mertz, who also wrote under the pseudonyms Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters, died at her home near Frederick, Maryland, yesterday (8th August), according to her daughter Elizabeth Mertz. The cause of her death has not yet been released.

Mertz was the author of more than two dozen novels under the Barbara Michaels name, including her 1966 fiction debut The Master of Blacktower. She also authored more than three dozen books as Elizabeth Peters, including a long-running series about the Victorian pyramid explorer Amelia Peabody.

A spokesperson for Constable & Robinson said Mertz had been "enormous fun" and employees at the publisher had "exceptionally fond memories" of time spent with her in London.

The C&R spokesperson said: "As the publishers of her 35 Amelia Peabody books and six Vicky Bliss mysteries we are hugely saddened to hear of Barbara Mertz's death. We have exceptionally fond memories of time spent together in London, she was enormous fun on top of all the plaudits she earned as a writer of mysteries." She added: "The classic Amelia Peabody series, set at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries dealt with an indomitable heroine not unlike Barbara herself. She will be greatly missed by all at Constable & Robinson and her legions of fans."