Chime and Punishment
Clock Shop Mystery, Book #3
By Julianne Holmes
Author’s website: https://jahennrikus.com/
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
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.
Times a-wastin as Ruth tries to solve another murder in her beloved Orchard while keeping the gears clicking on her dream project.”
Readers will lose track of time while reading this engrossing, entertaining third book in the Clock Shop Mystery Series.
It was Ruth Clagan’s grandfather’s dream to restore the clock tower in Orchard, Massachusetts. Now Ruth has made it her mission to fulfill his, and now her, dream. All of her hard work is about to pay off, and the Signing Ceremony for the donors goes well despite the fact that town manager Kim Gray is MIA. That is, until she is found crushed under the bell that is supposed to go in the tower. Now the town hall is off limits, which has the potential to put Ruth and company behind schedule, so Ruth puts her observation skills to the test and solve Kim’s murder.
Chime and Punishment is the first book in the series that I have had the pleasure of reading, but I had no trouble jumping right in to the story without feeling lost. I like the small town New England setting, the clock making slant (although, I confess that I was a little worried about the subject keeping my attention), and the cast of characters. Even though Ruth is a bit of a daydreamer, and startles way too easily, she is a highly organized person and looks at the clues in a far different way than the police. Her enduring love for her grandparents makes her quite endearing. The supporting cast of characters is mostly quirky, but not in a nonrealistic or stereotypical way. Her love interest Ben is likable, and the Reed family is a group I would like to hang out with over a holiday weekend. My least favorite character, other than Kim, is Freddie. She wears my patience and gets on my last nerve. And, of course, Bezel the cat and Blue the dog are nice inclusions. Every cozy needs a pet, right?
The mystery within these pages is well plotted and the story moves along at a quick pace. Since Kim is disliked by pretty much every resident of Orchard, the pool of suspects is large. Ruth’s close relationship with most of the suspects makes the outcome of the investigation all the more important. The deadline of the completion of the clock tower’s refurbishment adds some urgency to the tale. I appreciate that Ruth and Jeff, the police chief, are good friends and that they work together. Too many times in cozy mysteries the police come across as incompetent, but that is not the case here. Ruth and Jeff bring their own skills to the investigation. I also like that Ruth never finds herself personally in danger because of her sleuthing. I admit that I guessed whodunit relatively early, but, as so often is the case, I did not have the “why” of it all put together until right before the reveal. Holmes adds enough twists to the mystery to make me second guess myself more than once.
I greatly enjoyed my time with Ruth and will definitely seek out more books by Julianne Holmes. I recommend Chime and Punishment to any cozy fan.