"If your palette is cluttered, your painting will reflect that clutter."




Who Am I?











An Uncluttered Palette

"If your palette is cluttered, your painting will reflect that clutter." Rayna Hunt introduces her students to the world of oil painting with these words, but they apply to more than her art. After an accident destroyed her hand and she began the long journey to recover her skill, she avoided clutter in her paintings and her life. Her quiet, safe world is disrupted when an anonymous call to the police draws her into a case of forgery and art theft. Her students, a diverse group of ages and personalities, take more than a casual interest in the investigation. They, along with museum director and previous romantic interest, Paul Lingstrum, and a Chicago police detective recovering from her own loss, work to prove Rayna's innocence and solve the crime.

ISBN 13: 978-0-9838136-1-3


Wellworth Publishing

Amazon.com Books








...a masterpiece!



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An Uncluttered Palette is a great read--educational, entertaining, and one that I would recommend to all of my mystery-loving friends. Beebop



The book takes off running from page one and doesn't stop. S. Quinn



"Monet's Palette" is an insightful spin on art and mystery, making for enticing reading all the way through.

Midwest Book Review/Small Press Watch



I am quickly becoming a huge fan of this author who can write such good mysteries in so many different styles.

Betty Gelean





I can not say enough about MONET'S PALETTE, keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Carol Goodreads




In Monet's Palette, I realized right away I was in the hands of a master of the genre. 

Nancy McDonald

Indelible Mark Publishing



In this engaging and well plotted mystery, the world of art forgery and old world masters are woven together so beautifully, that the reader has no doubt of their factual authenticity.

Alice Lynn

Scattered Pieces



Monet's Pallet is a masterpiece!

Veronica Esagui

The Author's Forum



Written with skill and imagination. A truly clever crime writer of the present time.

Louisa Middleton-Blake





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Setting & Location

Like many of my stories, An Uncluttered Palette takes place in Chicago, mainly in the home and studio of artist Rayna Hunt. The first floor of the remodeled warehouse is Rayna's work space and the classroom where she teaches beginning oil painting. She presently shares the second floor apartment with her brown and gray cat, Umber.



Rayna Hunt

At fifty-two, Rayna has mellowed, finding an inner stillness that accepts most of life's challenges with humor and calm. When an accident crushed the hand that held her paint brush, it nearly crushed her spirit. Only the relentless urging by her daughter Susan convinced Ray she could learn to paint again. With that support, and her own tenacity, four years after the accident, she shares with students her passion for art and her gift as a painter.


Diane Parker

Chicago Police Detective Parker is forty-five and has been with CPD for twenty-two years, the last eight as a detective in Fraud. When a previous bust went bad, she lost not only her partner, but a good deal of self confidence. She hopes the current investigation involving forgeries at the Stratford Museum will help her deal with both.


Paul Lingstrum

At fifty-six, the tall, meticulously dressed Director of the Stratford is stunned to discover forgeries in his museum. His friendship with Rayna Hunt, who is experienced in art forgery and restoration, has them both under suspicion. Though displeased with the circumstances, Paul is delighted to be working closely with Rayna.


Ellen Scott Donovan

Rayna's childhood friend owns a small publishing company. She and her husband, Tom Donovan, think Rayna finds herself in far too many unsettling situations. Ellen believes it even more when she and Rayna go to a house sale looking for art supplies and find the sellers dead.


Jane Rakovich

At 78, Jane is the eldest of the senior artists and the unofficial student representative of the eight members of Rayna's class. She has a sharp wit and no patience for people who want to waste her remaining time on the planet.


Wilhelmina Harris

Willie is the youngest senior at 68, the shortest at five feet in her walking shoes, and the only African American in the class. 

Charlie Briggs
Charlie is 72 and has the last easel in the back because he is the tallest, and claims the best hearing of the five seniors. Charlie quickly develops a fatherly instinct to protect their adventuresome art teacher.


Jack Walker

At 76, Jack is a man of few words and the only other male in the class.

Eva Perez
Eva is two inches taller than Willie, bringing her to a whopping 5 feet two inches. Eva is 70.


Patricia Goodin

Pat is a 40-something empty nester who thinks an oil painting class might be an interesting diversion. She has no idea how right she is.


Lisa Walker and Michelle Basinskas

The young women, not quite eighteen, are busted for possession of methamphetamines. A judge responding to new laws requiring courts to find options to juvenile detention orders them to take Rayna's class in lieu of jail time. No one is sure how it will work out.





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