>First book for Madras native
Madras native Suzanne Grant has published her first novel, "Blue Bucket" about Oregon's legendary lost Blue Bucket Mine.
Grant, the daughter of Shirley and the late Bill Grant, grew up in Madras, graduating from Madras High School in 1970, where she was the editor of the yearbook and the news editor for the school paper.
She moved from Madras five years ago, after retiring from a 34-year career as a public school teacher, and decided to pursue a writing career.
"It was my father who sparked my interest in the mystery of the Blue Bucket when he mentioned a rumor that his great-uncle John Rush had found the gold, and that's where he got the money to build the town of Lamonta -- a town that once thrived about halfway between Madras and Prineville," she said.
While dubious about that claim, Grant began wondering what would happen if someone had found that gold, and kept the discovery a secret.
"That premise is one of the themes in my novel. Before I began writing, I did extensive research on the Blue Bucket, and I must admit that it is an intriguing part of Oregon's history," Grant said.
A mystery novel, the story is set in the present-day Aurora, which is the antique capital of Oregon. It also has a unique history, having been founded in 1855 by a German religious group as Oregon's first communal utopian settlement.
The plot centers around an elementary teacher named Kit, who is almost run-down by a car, and moves to a historic house and antique shop where a murder recently took place.
Everywhere she turns, Kit is confronted by whispers from the past, about a cache of gold nuggets and Oregon's lost Blue Bucket Mine. To top it off, someone wants her dead. Kit must overcome her fears and uncover a murderer before she becomes the next victim.
"Blue Bucket," the author said, "is a lighthearted mystery with a cast of quirky characters, some of them downright nasty, some shady goings on, a lot of clues to catch along the way, several nail-biting scenes, and many twists and turns."
"It's also laced with romance and a strong dose of Oregon flavor, from the Fourth of July celebration at Willamette Mission State Park, to Kit's sleuthing trek to John Day," Grant said.
"Blue Bucket" can be purchased through local bookstores, or at amazon.com. It is also available in the Kindle version through Amazon. A copy has also been donated to the Jefferson County Library.