A bulletin on the doings and undoings of
Barbara Mertz/Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels
Issue Number 33
Spring 2000
Kristen Whitbread, Editor

also look for:
MPM: Mertz * Peters * Michaels
The official Barbara Mertz/Elizabeth Peters /Barbara Michaels website
by Margie Knauff & Lisa Speckhardt


The Amelia Peabody Books

Publishing Schedule

By Elizabeth Peters

In chronological order:

  • Crocodile on the Sandbank
  • Curse of the Pharaohs
  • The Mummy Case
  • Lion in the Valley
  • Deeds of the Disturber
  • The Last Camel Died at Noon
  • The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog
  • The Hippopotamus Pool
  • Seeing a Large Cat
  • The Ape Who Guards the Balance
  • The Falcon at the Portal
  • He Shall Thunder in the Sky


May 3  - Morrow Hardcover

The Falcon at the Portal
April 4  - Avon Paperback

Lion in the Valley
available now - Avon Paperback

Street of the Five Moons
March 7 - Avon Paperback

Trojan Gold
July 2000 - Avon Paperback

Borrower of the Night
September 2000 - Avon Paperback

Silhouette in Scarlet
November 2000  - Avon Paperback

It was a demanding project and the Editor, wearied by her labors and emotionally wrung out, trusts that it will be received with the proper appreciation.

--He Shall Thunder in the Sky, Foreword


Please note the efficiency with which we have produced this issue of the newsletter ahead of our usual schedule. You can thank my publisher for getting it out to you early. They have an ulterior motive, of course (everybody does, according to Emerson). They want you to be standing in line to buy HE SHALL THUNDER IN THE SKY when it reaches the bookstores on May 3. So do I, of course. I too have an ulterior motive, and it isn't the same one that moves my publisher--not entirely. I want everybody to read the book and stop asking me what happens next. Some of the letters have been reproachful and some absolutely threatening.

Owing to one of those business things I have never understood, I have sort of changed publishers. Harper Collins recently bought Avon-Morrow, and some other stuff, so in one sense I am back with Harper, who published the Michaels books, only I have the same editor I had at Avon, thank goodness, but the hardcover of THUNDER will appear under the Morrow imprint. If you are confused, imagine how I feel.

This issue will be primarily devoted to THUNDER IN THE SKY (is the name

firmly fixed in your mind??) but there are a couple of other subjects we want to cover.

The paperback of THE FALCON AT THE PORTAL will be in the bookstores on April 4. If you haven't read it yet wait for HE SHALL THUNDER IN THE SKY before you complain to me about it. As you can see from the publishing schedule above, Avon is reissuing a number of the older books, as well.

"Speculation," I retorted, "is never a waste of time. It clears away the deadwood in the thickets of deduction."

--He Shall Thunder in the Sky

"And I will be angry if there is something wrong with Nefret and you do not tell me. Is she ill? Or-oh, dear!-involved with some unsuitable male person?" I could tell by the look on [Kadija's] broad, honest face, that my last surmise was the right one. People are always surprised when I hit on the truth; it is not magic, as some of the Egyptians secretly believe, but my profound understanding of human nature."

-- He Shall Thunder in the Sky




We've had queries about an Amelia tour to Egypt. An Amelia tour there cannot be: they are the ones I do with my friends from KMT and the name belongs to Dennis Forbes, who originated it. HOWEVER, I will (inshallah) be going to Egypt in Dec 2000, and there will be a tour open to the public in which I have agreed to participate. Details have yet to be worked out, but the dates are set - Dec 26, 2000 through January 9, 2001 - and the tour will include visits to Cairo, Luxor, and Assuan with a Nile cruise. The people in charge are Museum Tours; they specialize in groups who are genuinely interested in Egyptology, and the head man, Bill Petty, is an expert in his own right, and a friend. If you are interested, please get in touch with him for additional information.

FAX: (303) 932 - 2247
PHONE (toll free): 1-888-932-2230
7110 S Old Farm Rd
Littleton, CO 80128


The animal mummy project I mentioned in the last newsletter is going strong. I haven't decided which of my grandchildren is going to get the first one; as for myself, I am wavering between a crocodile and a baboon. Think what a fun project this would make for a class studying about ancient Egypt. And what a subject for Show and Tell!

The current list of mummies includes "Mystery packages" (which will be identified after x-raying) snakes, fish, crocodiles, dogs, and cats, as well as a Baboon, an Ibis, and a Horus Falcon.

For more information check out the website at; it's full of photos and fascinating facts.

If you don't have access to the web you can request a brochure from:
Dr. S. Ikram - Animal Mummies
American University in Cairo
420 5th Ave
Third Floor
New York, NY 10018-2729



You are hereby forewarned -- the letters below refer to specific plot elements in The Falcon at the Portal. You may wish to skip this part if you have not already read it.

Sherry Lord:
Egads!! You just have to give Percy his just desserts, and clear Ramses and the child somehow, and get Ramses and Nefret back together, and tone down both Ramses and Nefret into better people, and get them to cool it on being so skeptical of Amelia, and keep David from foolishly joining some doomed insurrectionist movement, and get the chip off David's shoulder, and make sure Walter and Evelyn are really okay as a couple, and help the child to grow up and be somebody, and...and...everything!

MPM: Anything Else?

Carol Evans:
I wish you would do everyone a favor and kill off Percy. 'Hoist in his own petard,' because of his book, ship him to India or let him be murdered by a French prostitute or something.... Percy nauseates me and he has caused enough trouble. It would be wonderful if he got some of his own back. The old saying, 'what goes around comes around' could definitely be put to good use on Percy.

Please, please fix the romance between Ramses and Nefret. I mean, they should get married and be subjected to the 'Mother's Curse' (it probably could have originated with Amelia). It would be very entertaining to watch Ramses and Nefret try to control children having their combined attributes and characteristics.

MPM: If you think Percy was a cad in Falcon, just wait till you see what he's up to in Thunder!

Celeste Larson:
The real reason for this letter ... is to scold you.... I have become extremely sensitive in the area regarding Ramses and Nefret. I have a horrid crush on Ramses and if he must be with another who is not me, I wish it to be Nefret. ...DON'T LEAVE THEM LIKE THIS! I actually cried it touched me so ardently. Please, please, please! Dear Ms. Mertz! Don't finish the series with Nefret and Ramses miserable and apart. The dedication between Emerson and Amelia is reassuring and soothing, but Ramses and Nefret belong together!

MPM: I have no intention of finishing the series in the foreseeable future. Read on...

Gayle Strickland:
[Falcon at the Portal] just did not have a sense of story completion that the other books had - there was always another adventure, but the story told was complete in itself. In this book, you have left the story too incomplete to be satisfying. It is your writing that has caused us to desperately want Ramses and Nefret together. Please do not disappoint us....

MPM: See the threat from my editor, below.

Carol Evans:
I am highly suspicious of the physical relationship between Nefret and Jeffrey since Ramses retrieved the bullets from the gun under Jeffrey's pillow which was Ramses old room. One has to wonder why, in that "modern" time period, Nefret and Jeffrey had separate bedrooms.

MPM: It wasn't so modern. Well-to-do couples usually had separate rooms, even then. (Am I deliberately teasing you? Well, maybe a little.)

Karla G. Von Huben:
I enjoy the way that you've stood the traditional 'nurturing mother' role on its head by having Peabody so much less concerned with her son than Emerson is. On behalf of women everywhere, bless you!

MPM: I enjoy turning traditional roles on their heads. Why shouldn't a father care as much, or more, than a mother? Bear in mind, though, that Amelia isn't very good at "getting in touch with her feelings". In Thunder, she.... But my editor has threatened to cut off the chocolate if I give anything away.

Martha Bell:
The relative size of Amelia's fortune has always interested me. I was under the impression that her inheritance of a half a million pounds was quite large for the time period. Nefret is said to be a very wealthy heiress, and much richer than the Emersons. However, since Ramses will inherit Amelia's considerable fortune, why would a marriage between Ramses and Nefret be viewed as unacceptable or gold-digging on the part of Ramses? I believe that Amelia mentions at one point that society's "old cats" were gossiping that Amelia was keeping Nefret for Ramses because of her fortune.

MPM: Have you ever heard of anyone who thought he(she) had enough money? An heiress was pursued by rich and poor alike.

Doris McLeod:
I was stunned, in The Ape Who Guards the Balance, to encounter Miss Whiteside. The name could not be a coincidence. Ida Whiteside was a native of Greenwich, NY, and went to Egypt as a missionary in the early years of the century. She remained there for decades, eventually retiring as principal of a girls' school in Luxor to return home. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church in Greenwich (as was I some years ago), and its women's organization is still named the Ida Whiteside Guild in her honor. We remember her. I assume from your Foreword that much of the archaeology in your books is based on fact, but the detail of meeting Miss Whiteside was truly marvelous. She was far from home, in a hostile environment, and she was real!

MPM: It is always a thrill when some astute reader appreciates my nitpicking research. I was delighted to learn more about Miss Whiteside, whose name I found, and used.

Joyce Koontz:
Hoo Boy! It was with great glee that we learned from today's paper that a German psychiatrist has announced that it is all right to use schadenfreude as a means to improve one's mental health. Having just recently re-read another of your installations of Amelia's pedantic progress, we were amused at the time to have you name your doctor specializing in "nervous disorders" by that distinctive appellation.

MPM: I'm astonished that anyone, even a psychiatrist, could recommend Schadenfreude as a means of improving anyone's mental health. It means enjoying the fear and pain of others. It's a cute name though, isn't it?

Sandra Rosenau:
Please write the story about how the Master Criminal's heart is finally stolen away from Amelia P. Emerson and bestowed elsewhere. If the MC is John Tregarth's great-grandfather (the one he claimed was irresistible to women), then I want to know more about the woman who had the brains, beauty and charm to make him turn from Amelia with a regretful sigh for what might have been, and move on at last to a domestic life (if he ever did) with another exciting match. Of course, you could marry him off to someone just to beget an heir, but that doesn't quite seem his style.

MPM Give me a few more years. I'm already getting requests for another Vicky, a return to earlier journals, another Michaels, books about the next generation of Emersons...

Wayne and Carolynn Walter:
We know the (questionable) age of Amelia. We have calculated the ages of Ramses, Nefret , and David.

But no where, no where, can we find a clue as to the ages of Radcliffe and Walter. Gads, it is frustrating. Can you, will you, help us?

MPM: No. Wouldn't you rather figure it out for yourselves? Oh, well, I'll give you a hint. The clue, subtle, hidden, and obscure, is in Seeing a Large Cat. That should keep you busy until Thunder is available.

"Why, Ramses, you know I would never venture to urge a course of action on another individual, particularly in affairs of the heart." Ramses had lit another cigarette. He must have inhaled the wrong way, for he began to cough. I patted him on the back. "However, a demonstration of an attachment so powerful it cannot be controlled, particularly by a gentleman who has controlled it only too well, would, I believe, affect most women favorably. I trust you follow me?"

--He Shall Thunder in the Sky