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




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Reviews for

An Uncluttered Palette

(Previously titled Monet's Palette)

An Uncluttered Palette, was an engaging, witty, and a surprisingly educational "who-dun-it" mystery of theft and art forgery. One of my main criteria for a good mystery novel is that I have to look forward to picking it up again--and An Uncluttered Palette absolutely met that criteria.

All of the characters were "characters" in the true sense of the word--the detectives, the "bad guys", the "girls", the elders, the museum curator, and particularly the protagonist, Rayna Hunt. The author added just enough background on each of the characters to provide a feel for who they were, but not an overabundance of information to slow down the pace of the mystery. The story had lots of twists and turns--just as I thought I knew what might happen on the next page, the author threw in a completely unexpected turn of events.

I also found myself amazed by the author's in-depth knowledge of art and painting in general, but also of the history and techniques of art forgery and all of the tricks of trade used to determine a forgery. I have a somewhat pedestrian interest in drawing, painting and art in general, but I was excited, yes, literally excited to read about primary colors, secondary colors, and complementary colors. I even bookmarked the tricks to remember a color's complement so that I could return to that page and perform the "bright light/ white sheet" of paper trick.

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


This author's sense of humor shines through in the characters of this mystery. The characters are well developed and interesting. The book is also a learning experience as the world of art is weaved throughout the story, making the information interesting and palatable rather than tedious. Besides a mystery the reader is taken on a journey of renewal and confirmation through the main character, Dr. Rayna Hunt. I would definitely recommend this book. Carolyn (Pawtucket, RI)


Once again author Jean Sheldon has hit the mark with "An Uncluttered Palette". Well-developed characters and an interesting story line makes her book difficult to put down. Sheldon's style and attention to detail draw you into the story quickly and keep you wanting more. In this book, the relationship between the main character (Rayna Hunt), her friends, and students are well thought out and realistic. Her characters have a familiar feel and could easily be people that I'd know. This adds to my interest in them and what happens to them. I've been a fan of Ms. Sheldon's books for many years and I always look forward to her next endeavour! jjsweet


Looking for a good old fashioned "who done it" with twists and turns on every page, this is the book for you. The book takes off running from page one and doesn't stop. The characters are all well developed. What makes this book stand out ? It is set in Chicago, and as a long time resident, I love stories set locally. There isn't much swearing. There isn't nightmare producing gore. There is a great art mystery that covered things I never knew existed in the art world. By the final page, characters you would never guess to be strong and courageous save the day. If only Rayna Hunt could team up with Kerry Grant! S. Quinn


To be cut off from your ability to create is a difficult time for an artist. "Monet's Palette" is a novel following artist teacher Rayna Hunt as an accident may claim her hand and a false accusation may claim her freedom. Forced to prove her own innocence and find the root of the matter, "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


This was a wonderful read! Even without the mystery, sleuthing and unique manner of deaths and attempted murders, I was fascinated by what I learned about oil paintings, by newbies and the old masters alike ... how paints were made, detecting forgeries, techniques, styles and more. Jean Sheldon's research into all types of subjects never fails to amaze me.


On the other hand, the crimes committed and how they were carried out are compelling and complicated. It seems like what could be described as a relatively straightforward mystery becomes a full-blown investigation that takes many twists and turns. Rayna Hunt, a somewhat uncomplicated individual, a brilliant artist who is thwarted by a horrific injury to her hand is the main character. Once she overcomes her frustration, fear, and depression, and finally embraces the use of a prosthesis, she trains to paint again, her character blossoms and she takes on teaching painting. Her class of seniors and troubled teens become the family she misses, with her daughter living in New Mexico. Rayna still has issues with self-esteem though and a very patient Paul, director of the Stratford Art Museum, waits in hope of a return to the relationship they had prior to her accident.


The characterizations in this book are so much fun yet realistic. The unity built between the seniors and the teens is wonderful to watch and they soon become a team with the purpose of keeping Rayna safe when she unknowingly becomes a target while embroiled in a police investigation. As an expert at discovering forgeries, her life is seriously threatened but who is responsible? Is it her beloved friend Paul? Why is she a suspect? How did so many paintings get switched in several different museums? It's not as though you could carry one in under your arm and replace the original hanging on the wall.


I am quickly becoming a huge fan of this author who can write such good mysteries in so many different styles. With several people involved in the crimes, the detective Diane Parker, Rayna and her art class involved in trying to solve the crimes, this book is a great balance of friendship and criminals. Fun and sometimes grisly at the same time. As the only member of my own family who can't even draw, I thoroughly enjoyed my romp in the art world. With Jean Sheldon's ability to bring a feeling of comfort in the midst of chaos, I loved this book. Betty Gelean http://nightreader-blog.blogspot.com/


Rayna Hunt an artist and teacher had it all, until a delivery truck purposely came barreling toward her van. The truck cashed into Rayna causing her to loose use of her hand. Surgeons tried to save her hand, however the thumb and index finger remained on her right hand. At that moment Rayna's life changed forever. Who was out there trying to hurt her and why?  I can not say enough about MONET'S PALETTE, keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Looking forward to reading other works of Ms Sheldon. Thanks Goodreads for offering this as a giveaway otherwise I would not had the opportunity to read this page turner. Carol Goodreads


If you're a fan of Agatha Christie then I can thoroughly recommend this is a story for you. I can guarantee that you won't want to put this one down, with all it's twists and turns, and with its fair share of humour along the way. You can't even guess what's going to happen next, with each chapter filled with unexpected surprises. You feel you want to join the class of a motley crew of loyal art students of mixed ages, who find themselves involved with the most amazing 'fake art' crimes you can ever imagine. Written with skill and imagination. A truly clever crime writer of the present time. Louisa Middleton-Blake author, Daydreams, Moonbeams, and Wings over the Common


I love sitting down with a good mystery, the kind you don't want to put down. In Monet's Palette, I realized right away I was in the hands of a master of the genre. The art world, from museum to studio, was beautifully drawn, pardon the pun. Not only was it spine-tingling at times, it was also a grand adventure with friends. Every character was three-dimensional and intriguing, and Rayna Hunt is definitely a "detective" I would follow from mystery to mystery, with art being a possible through-line. I especially loved the way author Jean Sheldon delivered the intergenerational play of the art students. I always feel that the best mystery is one that you feel a part of and have a hard time putting down. This one was so much fun, I wanted to pull up an easel and join them! Nancy McDonald Indelible Mark Publishing




The opening scene of Monet's Palette launches the reader straight into Jean Sheldon's latest and perhaps most intriguing mystery yet. We literally feel the terror, the fright, and shock that turns Rayna Hunt's life upside down. With swift sure strokes, Sheldon fills in the three-year transition from a confident, successful artist to a woman who must re-invent herself. Though Rayna learns to compensate for her severely damaged hand, she finds that teaching reconnects her to the world of art.


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. Against this rich background, Ms. Sheldon introduces a cast of engaging art students that become, what might be called Rayna's Irregulars. The entire group provides color and insight into solving the mystery of how paintings long authenticated in reputable museums have been replaced with brilliant but bogus copies.


The whole novel is a delight to read. Besides detailing Rayna's expertise in restoration, the fascinating narrative explores techniques employed by master painters. There is no let up in action, however, as we are led on a chase peppered with murder, assault, romance, and the unmasking of a sophisticated criminal ring.


To say more about this fascinating gallery of mayhem and sleight-of-hand is to risk spoiling the adventure. I highly recommend this book. It should be on every mystery lovers to read list. I can't think of a better way to spend part of one's summer. Alice Lynn, Author Scattered Pieces




Anyone that loves a good mystery is familiar with Agatha Christie, the British author. I have read Jean Sheldon's newest mystery novel, Monet's Palette and I truly believe that we now have our own American mystery writer, to pay tribute to. Monet's Pallet is a masterpiece! Veronica Esagui, DC author and host of the TV talk show, "The Author's Forum."




Good writing. I don't feel I have much to say about this book. I don't enjoy mysteries and especially those that include murder. The author shows she has either done a bit of research or knows about painting. Those parts of the book were fun for me. I actually liked the main character, her friends, family and students. The writing was smooth, no great editing goofs. I think if this were my kind of book I would have given it five stars for the writing. Unfortunately for me it is the stuff of nightmares and a feeling of paranoia. Wish I could meet up with these characters under better circumstances. Darlene Goodreads




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