Ghost Daughter (The Alice MacDonald Greer Mysteries)
by Helen Currie Foster
I am so happy to welcome
Helen Currie Foster to Escape With Dollycas today!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I love to read. Compulsively! I used to climb up the backyard elm tree and hide on a branch to read. Jobwise, I taught English, then practiced law for thirty years—litigation and regulatory (environmental) law. My family’s from Texas—lots of cousins, two brothers, one sister. My husband and I dragged our two kids from Michigan to Hawaii to Alabama and now back to Texas. I live and write north of Dripping Springs, Texas, in the Hill Country. I love family gatherings, grandkids, Hill Country plants and animals, Austin Shakespeare, hiking in Colorado, all sorts of music…
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
I’ve got three burros. They show up about five p.m. hoping for carrots.
In college, I sang with an a cappella group.
I’m taking lessons in boogie-woogie piano from Austin genius Floyd Domino.
What is the first book you remember reading?
“The Book of Knowledge.” I woke up early one morning—the house was quiet—and I held the book open, and suddenly the letters all fell into place. I ran to wake my mother: “I can read the book of “KNOW-ledge!”––pronouncing it to rhyme with “no…” I guess I’d never heard the word pronounced before.
What are you reading now?
Rereading Reginald Hill’s Arms and the Women. I love Reginald Hill’s Dalziel & Pascoe mystery series. In this one, Pascoe’s wife Ellie is front and center. Also Mom Genes by science writer Abigail Tucker; it’s full of potential plots. Thomas Cahill’s Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea. He’s so certain in his opinions! About to start Elisabeth McKetta’s She Never Told Me About the Ocean.
What books have most inspired you?
Dorothy Sayers, all the way! I reread some of her mysteries every year, inspired by her deft wit (about Bunter the valet: “and if he was somewhat lavish in the matter of butter…”). Other inspirations: Ngaio Marsh, Sara Paretzky, Reginald Hill (like Picasso, he never takes the same road twice). I admire Patrick O’Brian – the man can set a scene in one long vivid sentence. My kids have also read all the Sayers mysteries and all of Patrick O’Brian and quote their favorites with hilarity (“Jack! You have debauched my sloth!”). I also admire Dorothy Dunnett’s historical novel series (The Niccolo books and the Lymond Chronicles). They’re beautifully written, complex and rich in historic detail, and, in my view, each series is actually one long mystery with the murderer revealed only in the last volume. Dunnett also wrote the clever “Dolly” mystery series.
What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?
My dad, though a scholar, loved those lurid paperbacks of the fifties; his pockets frequently held an Erle Stanley Gardner or Ellery Queen, and I still have his original Dorothy Sayers paperbacks (oh those covers!). I devoured Nancy Drew and loved Sherlock Holmes. So I always believed that if I ever wrote a book, it would have to be a mystery.
Do you have a special place where you like to write?
Yes. On trains and buses! Something about jiggling along with a view out the window is conducive to writing, even if the letters get out of order. When no train or bus is available, I sigh and march off to the small desk in the corner of the living room.
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
I wish I knew. Some swim up from dreams at night. Some come from legal issues, like the wind farm lease project in Ghost Cave. Sometimes a friend tells a tale that sparks a plot, like about a couple who decided to leave their estate to their grandchildren and discovered their kids were outraged. Exploring has led to several plots: visiting prehistoric rock art on the Devil’s River with an anthropologist friend (Ghost Cave), judging a chili cook-off (Ghost Next Door), watching cowboy action shooting matches west of Blanco (Ghost Cat). But some ideas? They just pop up!
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
Making language both rich and readable. I always hope the dialogue rings true.
What do you think makes a good story?
A battle of wits! The protagonist must face a wily opponent determined to hide the truth.
And a battle of courage! Despite fear, despite tough odds, the protagonist musters the courage to confront danger. And despite the underlying crimes–some comedy, please, some irony!
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
Hmm. Alice’s thought process reminds me of mine. She’s also a bit of an introvert. And she deeply loves the Hill Country.
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
The courtroom and legal controversies add an extra dimension. So does the Hill Country setting, with its cliffs and springs and its salty, independent characters.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
Book 8 of the Alice MacDonald Greer Mystery series!
Thank you so much Helen for visiting today!
Keep reading to learn about Helen’s latest mystery!
About Ghost Daughter
Ghost Daughter (The Alice MacDonald Greer Mysteries)
7th in Series
Publisher : Stuart’s Creek Press, LLC (June 15, 2021)
Paperback : 342 pages
ISBN-10 : 1732722919
ISBN-13 : 978-1732722910
Coffee Creek lawyer Alice MacDonald Greer knows a dangerous client secret when she hears one—especially when it disappoints impatient heirs.
Wealthy widow Ellie Windom asks Alice to help change her will, revealing she’s found her long-lost daughter, and hinting at valuable hidden art in Santa Fe. But there’s trouble with Ellie’s warring sons.
When Ellie is found dead at her ranch, her skull cracked—and a horse in the house—police can’t find a murder weapon and the obvious suspects all have alibis.
Determined to carry out Ellie’s final wishes, Alice races to find the hidden art, eluding intruders and carjackers. But who are the thieves trying to beat her to the hidden art? Is the art a treasure or a clever forgery? Is Ellie’s death connected to the murderous attacks on a lover from long ago?
The search sends Alice and her companions road-racing up Santa Fe mountains, fending off attackers in Austin, and escaping across the Texas Hill Country…rewarded occasionally with some delicious barbecue.
More About Helen Currie Foster
Helen Currie Foster lives and writes north of Dripping Springs, Texas, in Texas Hill Country, supervised by three burros. She’s deeply curious, more every day, about human history and prehistory and how, uninvited, the past keeps crashing the party. In each of her Ghost mystery novels, small town lawyer Alice Macdonald Greer must unravel a murder with its roots in the past…long ago.
[If more is needed] Foster earned her BA from Wellesley College, MA from the University of Texas, and JD from the University of Michigan where she grew fascinated with dirt and water law. After practicing environmental law and regulatory litigation for thirty years, she found the character Alice had suddenly appeared in her life. She’s active with Austin Shakespeare and Heart of Texas Sisters in Crime.
Great Escapes Praise for Ghost Daughter (The Alice MacDonald Greer Mysteries)
by Helen Currie Foster
Alice is a fantastic character that is super easy to relate to. Made for quite the fun read. I really liked it so I give it 4/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews
Ghost Daughter by Helen Currie Foster is a complex mystery with a layered plot and likable, proficient characters. The setting – from Texas to New Mexico – adds to the realistic feel of the story, and all of the well-placed red herrings and clever twists keep you guessing.
~Reading Is My SuperPower
This is an amazing, sometimes jaw-dropping, mystery-adventure in which the heroine, Texas lawyer Alice Greer, risks life and limb to fulfill the last wishes of her friend Ellie . . . I enjoyed Ghost Daughter so much, that I’m seriously considering buying the previous six “Ghost” books in the Alice MacDonald Greer series! FIVE STARS
~Here’s How It Happened
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