Authors Showcase: Downstream by Betty Jean Craige

DOWNSTREAM cover

The Book: Downstream

The Author: Betty Jean Craige

The Story: At the celebration of his hundredth birthday, local billionaire Francis Hearty Withers announces to the people gathered on the front lawn of Witherston Baptist Church that he has finalized his will.

In it he bequeaths $1 billion to his north Georgia hometown of Witherston and another $1 billion to be divided up equally among the town’s 4,000 residents—in recognition of their support of a Senextra pharmaceutical factory. Senextra is a drug that enables individuals to lead healthy lives well into their second century, but it has some unanticipated consequences.

The group assembled to hear Withers’s announcement do not all applaud. One person carries a sign that says SENEXTRA VIOLATES MOTHER NATURE. Another, KEEP SENEXTRA OUT OF OUR SYSTEM. A third, WE DON’T NEED MORE OLD MEN.

Withers flies into a rage. He vows to change his will and disinherit the community. Two days later he is found dead.

In Betty Jean Craige’s first murder mystery a few humans die in unusual circumstances. (A few others live in unusual circumstances.) Who dunnit?

About Betty Jean Craige:

BJ Craige and CosmoBetty Jean Craige is University Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature and Director Emerita of the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts at the University of Georgia.

She received her B.A. in Spanish Literature from Pomona College (1968) and her M.A. (1970) and Ph.D. (1974) in Comparative Literature from the University of Washington.  She taught at the University of Georgia from 1973 to 2011.

Dr. Craige has published books in the fields of Spanish poetry, modern literature, history of ideas, politics, ecology, and art.  She is a scholar, a translator, a teacher, and a novelist.

In 2010, Dr. Craige published in both hardback and audiobook Conversations with Cosmo: At Home with an African Grey Parrot. In 2011 and 2012 she published a weekly Sunday column in the Athens Banner-Herald titled “Cosmo Talks.”

Dr. Craige’s essays have appeared in PMLA, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The Athens Banner Herald.

Dr. Craige has received the University of Georgia Alumni Society Faculty Service Award (1994), the Albert Christ-Janer Award for Creativity in Research (2003), the Blue Key Service Award (2010), and the Women’s Studies Faculty Award (2011).  She has also received awards for teaching, including the Honoratus Medal from the Honors Program.  The title “University Professor” was granted to her in 1995 as “highest recognition for significant impact on The University of Georgia.” On May 13, 2004, she received the Governor’s Award in the Humanities.

On December 20, 2003, Dr. Craige delivered the graduate and professional schools’ commencement address at the University of Georgia. On January 27, 2012, she gave the University’s Founders Day Lecture. On September 17, 2013, she accepted the Jeannette Rankin Fund Founders’ Award. In March of 2014, UGA’s Comparative Literature Department honored her by establishing an annual lecture in her name.

Dr. Craige was Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Delta Prize for Global Understanding.       Most recently she has written a murder mystery titled Downstream, published by Black Opal Books.

Review by MikiHope:

I had absolutely no idea how much I would enjoy this novel-nor did I have a clue what it would be about. I should have actually since I do have an environmental science degree and Downstream is where all pollutants seem to go. Just a word of warning here–never move into a home or area that is downstream from a chemical plant of ANY kind!!

Yes, this book has a strong environmental message which we all should listen intently to-but it is also a very good mystery novel. The “murderer” keeps speaking to himself throughout but I really couldn’t figure out who he was until nearly the end.

I found the snippets from the Witherston.com online news entertaining. I felt like I truly knew all the character’s by the end of this novel.

This is one book I think I will keep on my shelf and re read again and again–yes-I enjoyed it that much!

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