Cover Image: A Clock Stopped Dead

A Clock Stopped Dead

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Member Reviews

It was so lovely to catch up with Pat, Thelma and Liz and their Thursday morning coffee get-together at the Garden Centre to set the world to rights. A mutual friend, Marguerite experiences a strange out of this world event. She thinks she has been locked in a charity shop with a clock stopped at 14.50. All is not what it seems when she tells the ladies her story!! This leads the retired school teachers on one of their investigations into the event. All in all, this was a great read, well written and very descriptive. It is full of twists and turns with a red herring or two thrown into the plot. I couldn't stop reading! I recommend this book.

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Another brilliant and gripping story that really kept you going until the end. I absolutely loved it.

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What a joy to return to the lives of retired teachers Pat, Liz, and Thelma. They have another mystery to solve with an apparent supernatural and spooky twist. A really enjoyable, cozy mystery, where we learn more of our heroines characters and families and their joys and sorrows. This series always puts a smile on my face and I look forward to the next instalment. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the AOC of this novel in return for an honest review.

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Not a book I would have chosen browsing the shelves in a bookshop, but thought I would give it a go. Certainly a different read for me but was very enjoyable.

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** “You can think one thing only to find out it’s not true at all.” **

J.M. Hall delivers another quirky mystery featuring a trio of retired schoolteachers in “A Clock Stopped Dead.”

When Marguerite — good friend to Pat, Liz and Thelma — tells them of the incident where she sees a charity shop while waiting for her train on a foggy night, they’re intrigued. Especially when they find out the shop has disappeared into thin air. And a fatal car accident occurred near the site immediately after Marguerite’s experience.

They quickly look into the situation, with the help of the accident victim’s sister Brid. What follows is a wacky and intriguing tale that gets more and more mysterious the more the ladies dig.

Hall does a great job of developing the fun and plucky Liz, Pat and Thelma, as well as other quirky and mysterious characters. He creates a plot that leaves readers guessing what the connections are between various situations and characters.

Fans of series like Richard Osman’s “The Thursday Murder Club,” Robert Thorogood’s “The Marlow Murder Club” and Peter Boland’s “The Charity Shop Detective Agency Mysteries” will love “A Clock Stopped Dead.”

One disclaimer: this novel does contain some usage of coarse language, most of all which occurs in the final quarter of the book.

Five stars out of five.

Avon provided this complimentary copy through NetGalley for my honest, unbiased review.

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I am really enjoying this series. The characters are so likeable, the mystery is clever. Even if you haven’t read the others you can still follow along. Such an easy read with a great plot. Highly recommend this one. Thank you #net galley

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I have read books by this author before and enjoyed them, but this one was just a bit too absurd. I was expecting a cozy mystery, but it was too pseudo-supernatural. The dialogue was too long and rambly, like having to listen to an elderly relative. I couldn’t finish it

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EXCERPT: 'Your train was cancelled yesterday, so you went for a walk and found this weird charity shop, saw a strange clock, got locked in and then got out again?'
Marguerite's podgy hand flew to her mouth, almost batting the tantric crystals clean across the scuffed floor tiles of Mrs Hall's Pantry. 'Oh goodness gracious me,' she said, and gave a neighing peal of laughter. 'You must think I'm a complete numpty!'
Pat smiled faintly, making a considerable effort not to look as if she agreed.
'I went back,' said Marguerite. 'I wasn't working this morning, so I went back to the charity shop. I wanted to go back and see how much this clock I saw cost. At that point I hadn't twigged that it wasn't real.' She paused dramatically.
'And?'
'It wasn't there!'
'The clock?'
'No, the whole shop. When I went back this morning, the whole shop had just vanished!'

ABOUT 'A CLOCK STOPPED DEAD': Retired schoolteachers and amateur sleuths Liz, Pat and Thelma are giving up their coffee morning for a brand-new mystery. The perfect cosy crime story for fans of The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman

Retired teachers Pat, Liz and Thelma are happiest whiling away their hours over coffee, cake and chat at the Thirsk Garden Centre café.

But when their good friend Marguerite claims to have uncovered a mysterious charity shop that has since vanished, they simply can’t resist investigating.

Before long, our trio of unlikely sleuths find themselves embroiled in a race against the clock to get to the bottom of this mystery – but who has a secret to hide and how far will they go to keep it concealed?

MY THOUGHTS: I quite enjoyed catching up with this trio of ex-school teachers, but I didn't love it as much as I wanted to. I think, because there is simply too much dialogue. Far too much. Understandable perhaps with the author being a playwright first and foremost. So I shall temper that comment by saying 'far too much dialogue for a novel.' I find it very hard to get a sense of place or character with so much dialogue and so little of anything else.

I do love the characters, Pat, Liz and Thelma. There's a little conflict between them in this installment that leaves Pat wondering if, after twenty-five years, give or take, they were all growing apart now that the common bond of teaching that had drawn them together was gone.

There are adjustments to be made all round. Two of the women have their adult children return home unexpectedly, Pat has to come to terms with her aging, and Thelma has something to learn about her husband.

There are some beautifully humorous moments such as when Pat's husband Rod is trying to plan a holiday for them, and the feud between Polly, Thelma's workmate at a (different) charity shop, and the manager of said shop. The window display scene is priceless.

But the mystery . . . the mystery is messy and hard to follow. There are psuedo-supernatural elements that only cloud the issues, too many extra characters and simply too much going on with all the different side-stories. The author seems to have thrown everything but the kitchen sink into this - but wait, I may be wrong, he may well have thrown the kitchen sink in as well - I'm sure there was a mention of dishes being done . . .

To be quite honest, I was more interested in what was going on in the lives of these three women than I was in the mystery.

I do love the lead ins to each chapter, a la Winnie-the-Pooh, e.g. CHAPTER FIVE Two friends don't fall out and a plan is hatched

My least favorite book of the series so far.

⭐⭐⭐.5

#AClockStoppedDeadJMHall #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: J.M. Hall is an author, playwright and deputy head of a primary school. His plays have been produced in theatres across the UK as well as for radio.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Avon Books UK via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of A Clock Stopped Dead by J.M. Hall for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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It’s so nice to be reunited with Liz, Thelma and Pat in another mystery. This story has a bit of a darker, paranormal side, by no means did I find it scary, it was good to read a slightly different kind of mystery, I think the different approach made it harder to figure out what happened and solve the mystery. I love the ordinary lives of the three women, and the family tales which are written or the blunders the women make add an entertaining or comical element to the plot. Although this is one in a series, I don’t feel they need to be read in order, JM Hall has a great way of subtly recapping the women’s lives and how they know the other characters.

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Bizzare, marvellous and a little unnerving in a good way. I didn’t see that one coming…
One of Pat’s friends, stumbles upon a creepy charity shop that suddenly disappears, a psychic connection is assumed but Pat, Liz and Thelma suspect foul play… The one thing for me, is that J M Hall never plays it safe - here is novel number three and we are given something completely fresh, no none of the plain old murders here. Instead, we are introduced to the bizarre case of the missing charity shop. The psychic themes rather put me in mind of the way Agatha Christie uses it within a Poirot episode. In A Clock Stopped Dead, the plot trope is given a new twist. It could have become a trifle over theatrical and incredulous, but given the characters it worked.
It is a great skill to be able to write so many unique voices and bring them to life on the page like this. I must say that through this series I could imagine being in a room listening to all the characters. It’s great to hear northern voices.
The ladies, Pat, Thelma and Liz have the ability to cut through to the truth in a motherly sort of fashion. As usual one of the highlights for me was the continuation of the back storyline of our main characters. This novel, like the others, veers off into each of the main character’s heads, though central plot line is never far away. Each chapter looks at the crime as part of a jigsaw piece that when it came together left me wanting more.

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This third visit to North Yorkshire and retired primary school teachers Pat, Thelma and Liz certainly didn’t disappoint. The three best friends once again find themselves embroiled in another mystery, alongside a good dose of family drama. There’s plenty of twists and turns along the way that kept me guessing to the end and I thoroughly enjoy watching the cogs turn in their minds as they slot together the pieces of the puzzle. As a retired primary schoolteacher myself, having grown up in Yorkshire and even taught in North Yorkshire, I often find myself grinning and nodding along at the little quirks and quips of our three teachers and bringing to mind pupils I’ve taught. Once a primary school teacher, always a primary school teacher and Pat, Thelma and Liz are those real gems that you’d find in those Yorkshire schools. A really good yarn for fans of cosy mysteries and I do hope we’ll be back in the garden centre with ladies with coffee and cake very soon.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Avon Books UK for an arc in exchange for a review.

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It took me a while to get into this book but once I did I enjoyed it, very well written and all the characters were believable, some I liked, some I didn't but the storyline was interesting.

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The three main characters were very likeable. Their relationships and friendship was strong and their situations were so normal everyone can relate to them. I felt find however that there was just too much going on with lots of sub plots trying to throw you off and give you - and the budding detectives - red herrings that I just ended up a bit confused as the three character's blended together a bit and the mystery was a bit of an after thought to all the busy goings on in their lives. A readable cosy mystery but not the best I have read. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Our ex-teachers find themselves another mystery when another ex-colleague, Marguerite, witnesses, what she says is a paranormal event when her train has been cancelled and she goes in search of a loo in a fog bound town.
When she returns to the town to clarify things in her mind, the "charity shop" that she sawa has disappeared and there is nothing but derelict buildings. There has also been a death close by.
meanwhile the Ladies have various issues in their own lives to deal with and when Pat seems to have a new best friend in Jamie, who is connected with the death near to where Marguerite had her experience.
Another twisting, turning tale full of red herrings as the Ladies put their heads together to try and solve the various mysteries thrown up.
Entertaining as always.

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I love a good cosy mystery and this is just that, with a little touch of the supernatural. I have really enjoyed the books in this series and this is no exception. As a retiree myself, I particularly like the way the three protagonists are not ready to accept that their useful lives are over.

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This is the third book in the series but all can be read as stand alone novels. Retired teachers Pat, Liz and Thelma have a habit of stumbling across crimes that only they can solve. In this book we have a disappearing shop, a clock that chimes at ten to three and the mystery of a young woman who dies in a car accident only a short time after her much older husband dies in unexpected circumstances.

This is marketed as a cosy crime thriller and it certainly fits that description. Slightly more complex than the other books in this series but still highly entertaining.

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I think I should have read the first 2, but that being said, I thought it was a good story, with really likable characters and a good plot!
Fits in with the Thursday murder club stories and kept me entertained!!
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC copy

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A treat of a cozy set in Thirsk featuring Pat, Liz and Thelma, retired teachers who solve crimes with a degree of fond camaraderie. This is the third in the series but the first I've read and it was just fine as a standalone. The mystery is a little more complex than I expected (although to be honest, it had to be given that there is a missing shop) and that's a good thing.. Loved the small town atmospherics and the banter. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Delightful.

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A bit of a different sort of crime novel but an intriguing plot. The three retired teachers are well depicted, with their different characters and strengths, and together they manage to solve the mystery.

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A Clock Stopped Dead is the third installment in the series (following A Spoonful of Murder & A Pen Dipped in Poison), and returns us to the world of Pat, Liz and Thelma. The retired schoolteachers return in the book, investigating their friend's supposed supernatural encounter, and the car accident that happened just round the corner that same night. Alongside their investigation, we are brought into the women's personal lives; of their children and their romantic relationships, of both old and new friends, and changing jobs.

Whilst A Clock Stopped Dead can be read as a standalone I highly recommend reading the first two in the series first, as there are a number of characters mentioned, and it can be difficult to keep track of who is who. Even having read the first two books I did find a few of the lesser mentioned returning characters had slipped my mind, although they could largely be figured out using context clues.

I found the premise of the story intriguing - a disappearing charity shop, a coincidental car crash, supernatural experiences - but unfortunately found that the number of sub plots drew me away from the investigation. We hear about marital issues, quarreling coworkers, and unwell pets, to name a few. Whilst I continued reading to the end, I lost track of the investigation a little, and had to reread pages on a few occasions to refresh my memory. I did not solve the mystery, and did enjoy reading the sections where it was all laid out to the reader, but felt that the book rambled on in parts where it wasn't necessary. I would still pick up a fourth book in this series if one was written, as generally I find them enjoyable and that they have unique but largely realistic mysteries being investigated

I rated A Clock Stopped Dead 3 stars
Thank you NetGalley, Avon Books, and J.M. Hall for this ARC

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