Stained Glass Rose
Stained Glass Rose is a fictionalized account of a crime that took place in Grand Junction, Colorado, in 1937. Intrigued by many unresolved issues surrounding the murder of a twenty-two year old housekeeper in a brothel, D.A. Brockett began her research intending to write a historical account. However, finding the material too skimpy for nonfiction, she decided to fill in the gaps with created details. The result is a short and sweet story that focuses not on the murder victim, Mari, but on Rose, a young woman of strict Italian Catholic upbringing, abused by an alcoholic father, who is befriended by Mari just before her death.
The story is interesting enough to carry this short novel. The book is carefully plotted, and the mystery unfolds plausibly, but the characters are nearly clichés and the dialogue never quite rings true. The narrative style of the writing would be better suited to nonfiction. In fact, the best part of the book is the afterword, where the author first explains how her curiosity was aroused by a tombstone on a cemetery tour, and then recounts the known details of the actual crime. It is easy to see why she found the story intriguing, but Stained Glass Rose itself fails to intrigue.