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Just Killing Time
Clock Shop #1
Julianne Holmes

Berkley Prime Crime
October 6, 2015 / ISBN 978-0425275528
Cozy Mystery

Reviewed by Linda Morelli


Ruth Clagan returns home to Orchard, Massachusetts, immediately after her Grandfather Thom's death. Though estranged from "GT" since her grandmother's death and his remarriage, Ruth learned the trade of clock-making helping him as a young woman. Now she must decide whether to keep or sell the Cog & Sprocket clock shop she inherited. When the Chief of Police tells Ruth that her grandfather was murdered, she wonders who would want to kill a well-respected, older member of the community, and why?

The author painted a vivid picture of a small town that is changing, while desperately trying to retain its old-fashioned charm. I enjoyed reading about Ruth's touching memories of her grandfather and admired how she bravely confronts the old ghosts of the past. Working with her stepmother Caroline to modernize the records leads to Ruth's realization that Caroline and GT were truly happy. Through the townspeople of Orchard, both Ruth's old friends and the new residents she meets, we learn about the small town's struggle to maintain its charming atmosphere in tough economic times.

The excellent plot was highly entertaining, an outstanding mystery involving a missing deed, four missing clocks, stolen jewelry and enough twists and turns to satisfy the most hard-boiled mystery lover.

Just Killing Time is the first and truly outstanding start in a series that promises to be a winner, replete with small town politics, fascinating characters, dark secrets and hidden motives for murder. As a lover of old clocks, I enjoyed learning about clock-making. As a lover of romance, I enjoyed several characters whose relationships provide a hint of future romance. Most of all, I loved the author's visual descriptions of this charming New England town and the tightly wound mystery that kept me entranced and lost in time until the very end. I can't wait to meet all these characters again.

Reviewer Linda Morelli is the award winning author of three published romance novels.
Reviewed 2015