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!
About the Book: (from Amazon)
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?
Read a chapter or two here
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About the Author: (from the author's website)
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.
Along the way I published seventeen academic books in the fields of literature, literary translation, art, and history of ideas, including the biography Eugene Odum: Ecosystem Ecologist and Environmentalist.
The theme of almost everything I've written and taught since the early 1980s is the shift from dualism to holism in our culture's understanding of reality. I believe that in our social structure, in our concept of nature, and in our environmental practices we are developing a view of the world as an ecosystem, or like an ecosystem, whose parts are interconnected and interdependent. When we humans comprehend our dependence on the stability of the whole system, whether organic or political, we will acknowledge the necessity for healthy interaction with the system's other components, human and non-human.
A century and a half after Darwin showed humans' evolutionary kinship with the planet's other animals, we have continued to assume, dualistically, that we humans alone have consciousness. Living with multiple dogs and a parrot, I became convinced that their thoughts and feelings were not absolutely distinct from mine. So I started investigating cognition and communication in non-human animals.
In July of 2012 I was thrilled to read that top neuroscientists had signed a Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness proclaiming that "the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates." Everybody thinks. It's official.
When I turned my attention from the mental life of human animals to the mental life of non-human animals, including that of my own bird, I wrote the non-academic book Conversations with Cosmo: At Home with an African Grey Parrot. Later I wrote the weekly newspaper column "Cosmo Talks."
Finally I realized that I could have fun expressing these ideas in fiction. So I wrote the novel Downstream, to be published by Black Opal Books. It is a murder mystery with an environmentalist message.
I received a paperback edition of this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own honest opinions. For more information please check my Disclosure Statement. Our giveaways are in no way sponsored or promoted by Facebook.