I’ve been busy guest blogging, but I didn’t want to leave my look at gothic romantic suspense authors without touching on Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters.
I first discovered Elizabeth Peters when I was taking an archaeology class. I tend to do immersion thinking whenever I start something new, so along with studying and taking tests, I was reading histories, memoirs, biographies, anything I could find about Egypt, I listened to Egyptian music and read nonfiction and then stumbled onto a mystery series about a Victorian spinster, Amelia Peabody—mystery and Egypt— the best of all possible worlds—and the rest is history.
Since Crocodile on the Sandbank, I’ve stayed fascinated with Elizabeth Peters because besides the fact that I love her writing, she has made a successful career writing both mystery and romantic suspense, creating for each genre a distinct voice, and within her mysteries, both historical and contemporary.
I write in more than one genre and use more than one name, and I find that it can be exhausting, especially if everything happens to come due at once, and you’re spending your days alternating being inside different characters’ heads.
There are many writers who write under more than one name, but I have a special regard for Ms. Peters/Michaels/Mertz. Egyptology, mystery, romantic suspense, a few ghosts and malevolent forces, charming rogues and eccentric villains. And so many varieties of heroines and heroes, from the Victorian Amelia Peabody and her irascible but brilliant archeologist husband, Radcliff Emerson, to the flamboyant ex-librarian, Jacqueline Kirby, the blonde and intelligent Vicky Bliss and the endearing, slightly tongue in cheek and elusive, John Tregarth. (Who appears much earlier in a Barbara Michael’s romantic suspense, The Camelot Caper, and who is linked to the Emerson’s in the Vickie Bliss, The Laughter of Dead Kings.
Which is another thing I really like about her writing. She always seems to be having so much fun. (Now, we all know this can’t be true. There have to be times surely that she worries a plot point or questions a motivation.)
And she is able to switch between humor and seriousness seemingly effortlessly. Some of her suspense stories are tragic, Stitches in Time in which past and present intertwine. And frightening. One of the scariest for me, is Ammie, Come Home, I’m not even sure why.
Then there are the gothics, Black Rainbow and The Master of Blacktower, Greygallows. Just thinking about them makes me want to read them all over again. Whether charming us, making us laugh, or scaring us senseless, her books are totally engaging.
What are your favorites? Mystery or suspense or both? Or maybe her nonfiction works?