Step back into the world of the 1970’s. Jimmy Carter is in the White House, and it’s a time of paisley prints, shag carpeting, green plaid sofas, five and dime stories, and quarter burgers at McDonalds. Remember when McAlpin’s and Shillito’s were popular stores in Cincinnati? When bell-bottoms, tie-dye tee shirts and maxi dresses were the latest fashions? When life was “groovy” and sometimes “heavy,” and the police were called “the fuzz”? Right on.
This is the world of Roses are Red, Diamonds are Blue, a new historical suspense novel by Donna Alice Patton, author of two children’s books and numerous articles for magazines and newspapers.
The story opens with a phone call from a dying man, Peter Barkley, giving his wife Laura a cryptic clue about the location of the priceless Anastasia Diamond, which is missing from the Wainwright Historical Museum where Peter is curator.
Gripping the phone receiver for dear life, Laura realizes her husband has been shot. He is never coming home again.
A missing diamond, a fire at the museum, the death of the curator—the news reports somehow cast suspicion on the late Peter Barkley.
Only Laura can solve Peter’s clue and find the diamond. But how can she keep her family safe and also maintain her life’s creed of total independence? When practically everybody is a suspect, who can she trust? The suspense keeps snowballing in this page-turner until the story culminates in the famed blizzard of ’78.
Donna Alice Patton is a regular contributor to History Magazine and the author of two mysteries for children, The Search for the Madonna (set during the Great Depression) and The Gift of Summer Snow: A Tale from the Garden of Mysteries.
Now an established writer, Patton talked in a recent interview about how she got started in writing. “I’ve always felt I was born to write. Even before I understood that books were written by real people, I had this feeling that making up stories was something I was meant to do. As a little girl my happiest moments were ‘writing’ episodes of my favorite TV shows in my mind as I lay in my bed at night.”
How did she break into print? “I spent years writing stuff (not very good) and submitting to every publication I’d ever read or seen. (Usually breaking all the rules and showing off as a complete newbie.) My first actual published pieces were Letters to the Editor of the Cincinnati Post and also some funny quips in the Cincinnati Enquirer at age eighteen.”
Roses Are Red, Diamonds Are Blue was released this year as an e-book by MuseItUp Publishing. It's available online from the publisher, at https://museituppublishing.com -- for Kindle or Nook or as a PDF file.