A Witherston Murder Mystery

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
318 Pages
Reviewed on 03/15/2015
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Author Biography

I grew up in El Paso, went to Pomona College for a B.A. in Spanish Literature and to the University of Washington for an M.A.and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, spent a formative year in Madrid, and then came Athens, Georgia, to join the faculty of Comparative Literature at the University of Georgia. All that was a long time ago. After thirty-eight happy years at the University of Georgia, I retired in 2011 as University Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts. I live with a smart, talkative, funny African Grey Parrot named Cosmo, about whom I wrote the book Conversations with Cosmo: At Home with an African Grey Parrot.

In retirement I began spending time in the beautiful mountains of north Georgia, where the thousand year-old Cherokee civilization, the Georgia Gold Rush and Land Lottery of the 1820s, the moonshine business of the 1920s, and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan all left their mark on the present. I wanted to introduce this part of our country to readers elsewhere, so I invented a town called Witherston, north of Dahlonega, and began writing mysteries situated there.

In my Witherston Murder Mystery series I wrote Downstream, about the pharmaceutical pollution of our natural environment, and then Fairfield's Auction, Dam Witherston, and Saxxons in Witherston.

I wrote the unrelated suspense thriller Aldo to explore genome modification.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite

Downstream: A Witherston Murder Mystery (Book 1) is written by Betty Jean Craige. Billionaire Francis Hearty Withers celebrates his 100th birthday with a publicly held party. He tells everyone that he has bequeathed $1 billion dollars to his hometown Witherston and $1 billion dollars for all its residents. His land will go to Bio-Senecta, manufacturers of the drug Senextra that allows elderly persons to live more than a century. Environmentalists protest against Bio-Senecta, infuriating Mr. Withers who proclaims he is going to rewrite his will, but he dies before doing so. Detective Mev Arroyo suspects foul play because everyone has a motive for murdering the victim: environmentalists, greedy residents and pretentious town officials. Finding an unconscious man with gunshot wounds confirms her suspicions, but finding a killer in a small town is not so easy at all.

Betty Jean Craige has written a very good suspenseful mystery. Downstream: A Witherston Murder Mystery (Book 1) will keep readers wondering “whodunit?” Guessing correctly was difficult but fun for me because unnamed characters narrated some parts; others behaved suspiciously and one even jotted questionable references in a journal. Detective Arroyo was impressive on Witherston’s first murder case. Betty Jean Craige’s small town setting was nice, aided by a dramatic plot that showed the natural reactions of people to the pharmaceutical conflict. She approached this topic fairly, highlighting its pros and cons. This was done extremely well and entertaining, as it included witty rants in the local newspaper from residents that I enjoyed so much.