About the Author and Her Books


Ellen Foster and her husband Lou live in Valparaiso, Indiana, but both of Ellen’s father’s parents had come to the U.S. from England. In her adult life, she and her brother made efforts with their spouses to return to England to explore their family’s villages of origin and meet surviving family still living in Britain. Then, over a ten-year period, 1988-98, Lou’s connections with the University of Exeter enabled them to live for four different years in Exeter, England.  These marvelous opportunities to spend extended visits in England were a key inspiration for her writing.

Ellen was a history major with keen interest in the Middle Ages.  While living in Exeter, she served as steward and tour guide in the 14th century Cathedral Church of Saint Peter. The couple travelled extensively in Europe, visiting medieval pilgrimage sites and cathedral cities in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Foster was able to utilise her personal experience with surviving buildings and relics of the Middle Ages to create images, research ancient places, as well as create voices of English characters of the late fourteenth, early fifteenth century period in her writing.

Effigy of the Cloven Hoof introduces the personal adventures of Foster’s sleuth and heroine, the Lady Apollonia, living in her manor of Aust in the year 1400. Foster’s exploration of the Severn Valley, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, and Devon in England, as well as southeastern Wales, makes possible her description of each of her novel’s settings as they would have been during the medieval period.

The second novel in the Lady Apollonia West Country Mysteries, Plague of a Green Man, presents a prequel set in Exeter, Devon, in the year 1380. The Lady is married to her second husband, the wealthy franklin, Edward Aust. Some of the same characters from Effigy of the Cloven Hoof appear, but each is twenty years younger, living in a kingdom ruled by the youthful King Richard II. The Lady finds herself puzzled by the repeated use of a foliate face or green man throughout the architecture of the newly built cathedral of Exeter, especially as she is forced to investigate the use of the foliate face at multiple crime scenes in the city.

The third novel in the series is entitled Memento Mori and is set in Gloucester in 1392. At this point in her life, the Lady is dwelling in the home of her third husband and struggles to cope with death within her immediate family as well as serious threats to the people of her household. She is determined to protect members of her affinity from a vicious gang leader of Gloucester who is obviously enabled to avoid the law because of powerful protection.

Templar’s Prophecy is the fourth novel and begins in the year 1350 in the Christian Kingdom of Makuria of ancient Nubia. We learn of an extraordinary friendship between an English pilgrim to Banganarti and a surviving English Knight Templar. The story fast-forwards to 1395 in the Gloucestershire wool town of Cirencester where the thrice-widowed Lady Apollonia of Aust has moved her household. The Lady not only discovers merchants of Cirencester being abused and cheated by leaders of the local Augustinian abbey, she encounters murder and mayhem from within the abbey seeking to portray her as the source of evil.

Joseph of Arimathea’s Treasure is set in Glastonbury where the newly created vowess Lady Apollonia of Aust brings her servants with her to Somerset. It is early February 1397, and the Lady seeks to help her son, Sir Chad, and his three small children after the death of his wife.  A brutal murder is discovered in the market place of Glastonbury, and the orphaned son of the murdered woman is brought into the Lady’s household. Apollonia is made aware that her son’s home will be robbed when he is called away to serve the Court of King Richard. She places herself at the centre of the investigation and discovers a connexon between crime in Glastonbury and members of the priestly class. She also embraces some ancient Celtic truths revealed to her by surviving Druids whom she befriends and who define the mysterious rocky peak called the Glastonbury Tor.

King Richard’s Sword, the sixth novel begind in late 14th century Worcester.  The Lady Apollonia of Aust is made aware of the need to protect the affinity of her son, Sir Hugh the sheriff, against undercover usury deviously directed from behind monastic walls.  The sheriff is also confronted with upper middle-class sexual misconduct which forces him to solve three murders.  Apollonia’s visit with her son and his wife expose her to crime in the midst of the town but also enables her to reconcile a painful family conundrum.

Book number seven, Usurper’s Curse, finds the Lady returned to her home manor of Aust when a seriously ill gentleman is found collapsed at the cottage of her forester. The young man is taken to the manor where he is cared for and introduces himself to the Lady as lead court physician to King Henry IV. Once the young physician Mark Marimon is recovered, he seeks to return to the court but waits to make his journey until he can be accompanied by a good friend and knight errant, Sir Julian Thurstan.  Villainy and chivalry, Wycliffe and Lollardy, traveling minstrels, clandestine plots against a very ill King Henry, as well as the guilt of usurpation all contribute to the drama of the Lady’s search for truth and justice.



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