This breaks my heart:
Her books are among my very favorites, and she’s been one of the biggest influences on my own writing.
Ammie, Come Home, written under the Barbara Michaels pseudonym, is still one of the scariest novels I’ve ever read, and probably still my favorite. Among my other favorites are Into the Darkness, Witch, Wait for What Will Come, Prince of Darkness, and all of the Vicki Bliss novels, which she published as Elizabeth Peters.
Her stories had an almost perfect mix of adventure, mystery, suspense, romance and humor. Her characters were intelligent and acted like it. A lot of the Barbara Michaels books had paranormal elements, sometimes things that stretched credulity, but she could make them believable by the way she based them in historical fact and a sharply, observed, detailed setting.
RIP, Barbara Mertz. You will be missed, but you’ve left us a wonderful legacy of special stories.