Interview with Alice Duncan

Interview with
Alice Duncan

The Unofficial Book Reviewer was tickled pink to catch up with Alice Duncan, prolific author of two long-running mystery series as well as numerous romances and Westerns. Click here to read a review of Hungry Spirits, the fourth book featuring brummagem spiritualist Daisy Gumm Majesty.

Unofficial Book Reviewer: I fell for Daisy big-time. What’s the background on the Spirits books?
Alice Duncan: Daisy is pretty much me, only without my infernal shyness and icky neuroses. I wanted to write a book set in the 1920s because the decade is just purely fascinating.

I gave Daisy and her folks a house I used to own in Pasadena, moving it from Michigan Avenue to Marengo Avenue. Also, the house Mrs. Bissel lives in once belonged to my beloved aunt, Maren W. Fulton. I used to dream about my aunt’s house all the time. Since I began using it in my books, I don’t dream about it so often.

UBR: Have you attended séances?
AD: No, although my half-brother’s aunt was always taking him to séances. When anything in the house went bump, his mother would say, “Oh, it’s just Edna.” Edna, of course, had died years earlier.

But Rolly did appear to my daughter Robin and me when we were playing with the Ouija board she’d bought at a yard sale for 50 cents. It said Rolly was my soul mate and he’d followed me down all the years since we were married in Scotland around AD 1000. It’s kind of cool to know I have a soul mate, even if he’s fictitious and has been dead for a thousand years.

UBR: I love it that the dachshund breeder in Hungry Spirits is named Mrs. Baskerville. What is it with you and dachshunds?
AD: I seem to have been born with a dachshund magnet implanted in me somewhere. Wiener dogs find me, I don’t find them. They show up in my life one way or another. I love all my dachshunds dearly, but they’re not my fault.

UBR: Is Sixty-Five Delicious Dishes a real book?
AD: It is indeed a real book, although I’ve never made a recipe from it myself. Poor Daisy. She never wants to see another croquette as long as she lives.

UBR: Daisy loves mysteries by Mary Roberts Rinehart and R. Austin Freeman. Who are your own favorite authors?
AD: I love Rinehart too, along with Elizabeth Peters (especially her Amelia Peabody Emerson books); Agatha Christie; Carola Dunn; David Rosenfelt; Tami Hoag; Lisa Gardner; P.G. Wodehouse; Bill Bryson; T.E. Kinsey; and Karen Menuhin.

And I adore Peter Brandvold. “Mean Pete” gave me one of his characters, the hard-drinking, womanizing, blasphemous Lou Prophet. He first shows up in Shaken Spirits, Daisy’s 14th adventure, and he’s so much fun to write!

More books by Alice Duncan:

28 thoughts on “Interview with Alice Duncan

  1. Highly recommend both the Daisy Spirits series and also the Mercy Allcutt series, again lighthearted mysteries set in Southern California in the 1920s. I have all of both, have read all of both and have enjoyed them immensely.

  2. Ooh! This is fabulous. I absolutely adore the Daisy Spirits and Mercy Allcutt series. Terrific stories and wonderfully realized characters – by now, everyone feels like old friends. These books are permanently installed in my library!

    • Thanks, Lyndele! You’ll probably approve of the next Mercy book. Mercy and Ernie have to fight the LAPD to save a pal in Chinatown 🙂

  3. I adore Daisy. She’s spunky, loves clothes and makes the best of the very worst situations. And has a sense of humor as well. Mercy is also fun with her horrible mother providing comic relief as the Wrath of God. These books also address some difficult situations such as spousal abuse and human trafficking and racial bigotry. Highly recommended.

  4. I’m a longtime reader and fan of Alice Duncan. I’ve got (almost) all of the Daisy books in print, keeping an eye out for lost and strayed titles! I so enjoy Daisy for the uplift I get after I’ve finished, and the little tidbits of history!

  5. Love this interview! Facebook friends with Alice , and I follow Daisy Daze as often as I can … I have most of your books, too, Alice … thank you SO MUCH for them, they bring joy into my life!! 😉

  6. Sixty-five Delicious Dishes Made with Bread: Containing Tested Recipes Compiled for the Fleischmann Co. is indeed a real book. After reading about Daisy’s adventures with it, my girlfriend bought it and has made several treats from it. We are longtime readers and had to meet Alice. Such a delight.

  7. I love going back in time to enjoy the 1920s that Daisy and her family live in. Daisy gets herself into predicaments and situations, normally through no fault of her own, that usually results in her doing something unpredictable to extricate herself. Going along with her on her various adventures is my way of relaxing and retiring from this awful age we currently live in. Daisy forever!

  8. Alice Duncan was my best friend in 3rd grade, and we took our dogs to obedience school together when we were growing up in the Pasadena area. My cocker spaniel Missy flunked, but Alice’s dachshund Hansel passed with flying colors. I believe the school was going in the 1920s and Alice mentions it in her Spirits books as where Daisy took Spike for classes. As you know, Spike is extremely well behaved; perhaps Hansel was the inspiration.
    I’m a history buff and love reading about what my hometown was like in the 20s, but more than that, Daisy and her family have made a warm place in my heart, and I love reading Alice’s stories about them.

  9. Hi, I just read Strong Spirits which has been sitting in my secondhand Kindle reader for a few years and I am really impressed. It’s a lighthearted read and perfect to get away from all the super action thrillers where a thousand people get killed to rescue one person of perhaps limited human value.
    Anyhow, I’ve read, or tried to read a few books by women authors and was extremely disappointed but after reading Strong Spirits, I plan to read more of your books.
    John T. Peters, author @

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