FOR THE LOVE OF CLOCKS
by Julianne Holmes
(Guest Post provided by publicist.)
Whenever I explain the premise of my clock shop series—that Ruth Clagan is part of a clock making family who owns a shop in the Berkshires—most people smile, and then they tell me about a clock in their family. Everyone has a clock in their family, I’ve discovered.
For me, it is a mantle clock. I inherited it from my grandmother—a Telechron electric clock that looks a bit like a Seth Thomas. It likely dates from the 50’s, isn’t worth a fortune, but means the world to me. Of course, given the work I’ve done on these books, I am looking for a traditional clock that I must wind.
For some people, longcase clocks are passed down from generation to generation. Keeping them running can be a challenge, especially if they haven’t been moved carefully or maintained over time. Clockmakers will come in and do a house call to determine what the best course of treatment is for the clock. Now, folks trusted in the craft are few, and I’ve heard stories of people inviting clockmakers to travel or traveling to them for a consult.
Over the course of writing these books, I have fallen a bit in love with Banjo clocks. Simon Willard invented these here in Massachusetts, and patented them in 1802. They continue to be made today. The clock is shaped like a banjo, with a square case on the bottom that can be clear, or can be painted decoratively. Then there are the Seth Thomas miniatures. I spent a day in the American Clock and Watch museum, and these beauties stopped me in my tracks. Made of different types of wood, different shapes. I can easily see becoming obsessed with them.
I’m sure that there are family banjo clocks, or mantel clocks, or miniatures, or carriage clocks, or others that have been passed on from generation to generation. Do they still work? Hopefully yes, though many could use a good cleaning. While doing my research, and talking to Dave Roberts of the Clockfolk of New England, I’ve come to realize a few things about clock repair. First, that it is a craft that takes years to learn. Second, repair means different things to different people. For some folks, to hold value, that means painstaking authentic repair. For others, it means doing what it takes to get the clock working. The repair may cost more than the value of the clock, but that’s the third thing I’ve learned. Clocks own a place in people’s hearts, and that is priceless.
Do you have a family clock that has been passed down? Does a clock have a place in your memories?
Chime and Punishment (A Clock Shop Mystery)
3rd in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
A Berkley Prime Mystery (August 1, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Kindle ASIN: B01MRK5HU7
Expert clockmaker Ruth Clagan has another murder on her hands in the third Clock Shop Mystery from the author of Clock and Dagger.
Years ago, the serenity of picturesque Orchard, Massachusetts, was shattered by a fire that destroyed the town’s beloved clock tower. Ruth inherited the dream of repairing it from her late grandfather. Now that she’s returned home to run his clock shop, the Cog & Sprocket, she’s determined to make it happen, despite wrenches that are being thrown into the works by her least favorite person, town manager Kim Gray.
A crowd of residents and visitors are excited to see the progress of the tower at a fund-raiser for the campaign, until Kim is found crushed under the tower’s bell, putting an end to all the fun. The list of suspects is so long it could be read around the clock, and it includes some of Ruth’s nearest and dearest.
Time’s a-wastin’ as Ruth tries to solve another murder in her beloved Orchard while keeping the gears clicking on her dream project.
This series started with Ruth Clagan coming home to run her late grandfather’s clock shop and grew into her wanting to fulfill his dream of repairing the town’s clock tower. In Chime and Punishment his dream is so close to coming true. Her friends and the residents of Orchard, Massachusetts are attending a fundraiser to complete the task but the gears get all mucked up when the town manager gets her bell rung permanently. Ruth knows to make her grandfather’s and now her dream come true she has to find the killer. Time is of the essence, she doesn’t want anyone else getting clocked.
This is another top notch mystery for Julianne Holmes. I was excited to find out Kim was the victim this time, she has been a real pain in the backsides of almost every in Orchard and that means plenty of suspects. The story kept a nice pace as the clues were dropped and Ruth’s investigation continued. The twists had me all over the place when is came to who actually did the deed. I was surprised when the killer was revealed.
I have grown to love these characters over these three books. The business owners and those that work at the clock shop are very well written and have grown since out first meeting. I have more than one favorite.
The location, both the Cog & Sprocket and the town of Orchard was clearly envisioned in my mind. The clock tower and it’s building remind me of a place in my home town very much. I was thrilled by the whole premise of this series. People working to restore a piece of history was very heartwarming, aside from the murders, of course.
A captivating addition to this series. I think I like this one best of all.
If you haven’t clocked time with this series yet, start at the beginning and enjoy.
About The Author
Julianne Holmes writes the Clock Shop Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. The first in the series, the Agatha nominated Just Killing Time, debuted in October 2015. Clock and Dagger was released in August 2016, and Chime and Punishment was released August 1, 2017. As J.A. Hennrikus, her Theater Cop series will debut in the fall of 2017 with A Christmas Peril. She has short stories in three Level Best anthologies, Thin Ice, Dead Calm and Blood Moon. She is on the board of Sisters in Crime, and is a member of MWA and Sisters in Crime New England. She is on Twitter (@JulieHennrikus), Instagram (@jahenn), Pinterest, and Facebook. She blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors, Live to Write/Write to Live, and is on Killer Characters on the 20th of each month. You can find out more about Julianne Holmes on her webpage here.
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