When I moved back to Orchard, Massachusetts last fall, it was to run the Cog and Sprocket after my grandfather’s death. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure I’d run the shop since GT (Grandpa Thom) had married Caroline Adler shortly after my beloved grandmother’s death, and GT and I had fallen out over the marriage. I half expected to come back, close up, and move on.
But the Berkshires worked their magic on me. The minute I walked into the shop, and saw the inventory waiting to for a clockmaker to take care of it, I was sold. Add to that reconnecting with the Reed family, being fed at the Sleeping Latte, liking Caroline a great deal, and Ben the handsome barber next door, and how could I leave? With a lot of help I got the Cog and Sprocket refreshed so I could live there, and Bezel the shop cat let me move in.
The only thing that still haunted me? The Town Hall across the street. The Town Hall was not the hub of government in Orchard, though some town meetings were still held there. So was the Holiday Bazaar, Orchard Glee Club concerts, Girl Scout meetings, some classes, and a few other events. The building needed some sprucing up, but that was going to happen thanks to some budget wrangling. What wasn’t in the budget was refurbishing the old clock tower. That’s where I came in.
When I took over my grandfather’s shop, I started looking through his old notebooks, and realized he’d been obsessed with reopening the clock tower. His drawings reached out, and pulled me into his dream. I began to do some research, and found out that the dream wasn’t as farfetched as it first appeared. Over the years, my grandfather had been collecting the bits and pieces to do the replacement. I could have waited, I should probably have waited, until it made more sense to try and reopen the clock tower. But, as with all things clock related, making sense wasn’t really the point.
Clocks were partially about keeping time. But for clockmakers, they are about the craft of capturing time. Getting a clock tower up and running is a mechanical feat. It also requires a commitment to climbing the tower once a week, every week, winding it 350 revolutions, and making fine adjustments to ensure accuracy. So many folks had moved their clock towers to electric mechanisms because of the work required to maintain them. But where’s the fun in that? No, Clagans are clockmakers. The clock in the Town Hall was the largest clock in Orchard. How could I not honor my grandfather, and make this happen?
Now, I’m weeks away from reopening it. All I have to do is raise some more money, get the rest of the pieces manufactured, install the clock itself, get the bell in the tower, wind it, and hope it all works. All of that, plus dealing with any new hurdles the town manager, Kim Gray, throws at me. I’ve never been one to wish someone ill, but Kim sure isn’t making friends these days.
It would be a lot easier if she wasn’t around. . .
You can read more about Ruth in Chime and Punishment, the third book in the “Clock Shop” mystery series.
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.
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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 came out on 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.
All comments are welcomed.