In Whistling Artist, newly released by BWL Publishing, the facility is in an uproar over the removal of a painting by a local artist. The northwoods scene has hung on the wall in Whistling Pines for decades. The artist, a local woman with a remote studio, had specified that the painting couldn't be displayed with a companion piece showing a cabin overlooking Lake Superior, until after her death.
As is the case in many of the small towns featured in my writing, the local residents are distrustful of outsiders and reclusive people. As soon as the painting is removed, rumors start to swirl about the artist's private life. Because the artist never married, rumors swirl about her elderly male patron, her live-in female mentor (who doesn't return from a sabbatical), and the numerous art students she used as models for her paintings.
That's the serious part of the book.
Being a cozy, we don't want to dwell on a serious aspect of the story for too long. As the main plot unwinds, a group of Whistling Pines art students are taking classes from a woman who owns a local art studio. We're unsure if the interest in the class is due to the art classes, the inebriated instructor's tales of her life in France during the '60s, or the liberal amounts of wine dispensed to the art students during the class. When a nude model is recruited, an uproar ensues, led by a group of right-wing religious fanatics. The art studio is picketed, and a news crew arrives to document the protest. There are mixed feelings about the publicity, with the Chamber of Commerce viewing it as an opportunity to advertise an upcoming festival. The police chief defers an interview to the quirky fire chief who'd been called to hose down the protesters.
As usual, things get crazy, in a good way, and the two plots get woven together in a surprise ending that puts many rumors to rest and confirms others.
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