Perfect for Halloween Reading

A Fresh Tweak of a Wonderful Vintage Film

Excerpt From My Spooky Novel, The Ghostess & MISTER Muir

By Jeff Salter

In many ways, my ninth novel is a favorite. Not only was it my first foray into writing spooky fiction, but it was inspired by one of my all-time favorite films, the 1947 classic with Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. In my version, however, the spirit is a young lady who died tragically 100 years before Levi Muir moves to town to begin his teaching career at the local high school in Magnolia, Alabama.

[Check out this excerpt… from the end of the first chapter]

Lucy Tierney nodded thoughtfully. “So tonight is your first night in the old Majestic…”

            “The Whitecliff Apartments,” interrupted Levi Muir, the new teacher.

            “Well, everybody here knows it as the old hotel, so you might as well get used to it.” Her tone was lighter than the words she’d selected. “And you probably already know that everybody says it’s…”

            Swooshing suddenly into the lounge, Principal Gull interrupted as she jostled directly between them. “Now hush, Miss Tierney. We don’t want to scare away any more of our first year teachers.” Mrs. Gull squinted as though she were adjusting to contact lenses. “It’s difficult enough to recruit good people to small towns like ours, so don’t run them off before classes even start.”

            Lucy appeared mildly embarrassed. “I thought he already knew.”

            “Knew what?” Muir faced the principal again.

            Mrs. Gull took an elbow of each and steered both teachers out of the lounge. “All in good time. For now, let’s head into the cafeteria for final briefings and to review our battle plans for Monday.”

            Lucy said no more but took a seat next to Muir at an otherwise empty table.

            Over the next ten minutes, he paid considerably less attention to the briefings than to his intriguing tablemate. Though Muir and a few other rookies had received orientation on Monday and Tuesday, the veterans didn’t appear until Wednesday for the professional development training aimed at all instructors. He’d immediately noticed Lucy and had observed her frequently… without actually communicating. Leaning closely, he whispered, “What was Gull talking about?”

            No immediate reply. But after a new speaker took the microphone, Lucy tapped his thigh, sending electricity all over his body. Only her business card, however. On the back was a hastily scribbled note, “Tell you later.

            The principal was staring when Muir raised his head and he felt like a kid caught passing notes in study hall. Which was pretty much the situation.

            As the session finally ended, Muir tried to catch up to Lucy — already exiting the cafeteria — but was called back by the principal’s authoritative voice. “Mr. Muir, could I see you for a moment, please?”

            “Of course, Mrs. Gull.” He watched for a clue whether this would be some sort of reproach or merely a final word.

            Gull’s expression offered no hint, but it seemed she mulled over her words before speaking. “I wouldn’t be worried about whatever Miss Tierney told you concerning the hotel.”

            “She hasn’t told me anything.” Yet.

            Gull continued anyway. “Seasoned Alabama buildings develop reputations and in an older small town like Magnolia, legends die hard, especially…” She made a show of checking her watch. “Well, anyway, like I say, don’t fret over what you hear.”

            “Okay, Mrs. Gull, I won’t.” He nodded deferentially. “Thanks.”

            The principal seemed satisfied they’d held their little chat, although Muir still had no clue what they’d been talking about. So far, all he knew was the structure was old, had once been a hotel, and presently featured offices on first floor and apartments on second. Plus, whenever people mentioned the place, they usually had an odd expression and lowered their voices.

* * * * *

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little sample. My novel is available in digital formats and in a beautifully rendered AUDIO version, read by Jacob Phillips.

The Ghostess & MISTER Muir

By J. L. Salter

How can Levi focus on his attractive colleague when he lives with a beautiful ghostess? Does that cut Lucy out of the picture? No self-respecting Southern girl takes second place to a ghost.

Inspired by the wonderful 1947 movie, “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.”

Novel, Clean Reads, 2014.

[JLS # 560]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
This entry was posted in Miscellaneous. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Perfect for Halloween Reading

  1. Fun read, Jeff! I couldn’t resist it; who doesn’t love the movie The Ghost and Mrs. Muir? I even watched the silly TV show they made of it, (My mother hated it compared to the movie, although as a young teen I thought Edward Mulhare as the ghost was VERY handsome.)
    I hope everyone gives your book a shot!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Thank you. Yes, I also watched the short-lived TV show with Hope Lange as Mrs. Muir. It was played for laughs instead of the approach of the classic film.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I have to admit I haven’t read the original book, though I loved the TV show. Actually, I loved listening to Mulhare’s smooth accent. Wonderful excerpt — yes, I need to read the rest!

    Liked by 1 person

    • OH, MY! You have never seen the movie??? Goodness, do yourself a favor! It is one of the best, truly romantic movies of all time, very well-written and performed by Gene Tierney,(Mrs.Muir), Rex Harrison, (Capt.Gregg, the Ghost) and George Saunders, as always the Smooth Scoundrel!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      When I was dong some research, while writing this novel, I learned that the actual book (upon which the classic 1947 film was based) is actually quite different from the movie.
      I can’t recall now the major differences, but that original novel sounded like a story I would not particularly want to read.
      R. A. Dick was the pseudonym of Josephine Leslie, who wrote the 1945 novel The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.


  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I haven’t seen the movie either, but I’ll try to find it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s