In the middle of the twentieth century, Gallipolis Ohio, a typical Middle American town is poised between the pull of the past and the lure of the future. As the nation wrestles with the issues of nuclear power, healing war wounds, polio and a changing political landscape; so the Abbot family struggles with more immediate concerns.
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Mr. Goethes Garden tells the story of a unique friendship between an inquisitive young girl, Irena, and her neighborthe elderly, world-famous playwright, artist and natural scientist, Johann von Goethe. Irena visits Mr. Goethe in his well-tended garden where he teaches her to draw and to observe the world of nature in a special way. Set in the…
Chuck Abbot endeavors to escape the ties to the family hotel by starting a sand and gravel business. Deep in debt and beholding to the local bank, he is delayed when a body is found on the island he is dredging. When Rick, his friend on he police force, seems unwilling to help, he reluctantly turns to his sister, Ellie.
But Ellie is dealing with her own issues. Engaged to Peter, a man the entire town considers ‘above her station,’ she is reticent to question Peter’s uncle who is tangentially involved in the murder. Further, she finds events in the hospital, where she is a nurse, disturbing and wonders if her job is in jeopardy.
When Chuck reveals that the hotel was used as collateral for his loan, Ellie reluctantly agrees to help. Complicating matters Suzanne, the daughter of the banker from whom Chuck acquired the loan, turns up missing, obligating him to help locate her.
Meanwhile Peter, annoyed by Ellie’s questions, insists that she stop probing. Things come to a head when Chuck is hospitalized in Ashland when following a lead. Ellie and Rick go down to retrieve Chuck’s car and investigate further. When Peter learns of this he is furious and in the resulting argument breaks off the engagement.
Ellie’s intuition and subtle probing eventually unravels a web of deception and long-held resentments. Readers will be charmed by Ellie’s inventiveness and delight in the few hours spent with her in a simpler time and place.