August 20, 2013
Toasting a Legend
About 2 weeks ago, Barbara Mertz died. AKA Barbara Michaels. AKA Elizabeth Peters. She wrote mysteries, romances, thrillers and non-fiction under all these names. I discovered her in high school and devoured every single one of the Amelia Peabody (by Elizabeth Peters) mysteries. Amelia was a Victorian spinster who fell in love with Egypt (and then married an Egyptologist) and devoted her life to the study of the country. And of course, solved numerous mysteries and murders along the way.
Peters wrote several other historical mystery series that I adore as well, notably those with Vicky Bliss as the heroine. A PhD in Art History with the looks of a supermodel, Vicky struggles to find her way in a male dominated academic field and stumbles into a new, much more exciting, life working in a museum in Germany.
She was probably the biggest literary influence on me. I actually went to college planning to become an Egyptologist and go on to my PhD at the University of Chicago, where Barbara Mertz got hers. Life changes course, and while I didn't take that path, Amelia and Vicky remained my companions. They reminded me that life needs to be funny and a little bit crazy, history can be a passion, and that being a smart female is something to be proud of.
It seems only fitting to toast this legend of the mystery world with her most famous characters signature drink. Settle in with your Whiskey and Soda and a copy of The Crocodile on the Sandbank and raise your glass to this amazing woman.
Whiskey and Soda
Mix one part whiskey to two parts club soda (or to taste) and serve over ice.