Member Reviews

Adorable cover but a story that never hooked me in.

This one might have suffered from me not having read book 1 or 2 but I typically find that cozy mysteries stand well on their own - because the mystery typically starts and ends in one book. But this one just did not work for me.

First, I couldn't keep track of narrators. It would change often (mid chapter, mid page, mid paragraph), each character voice sounded the same - typically the only way to tell who was who was by their kids. And WOW! The added cast of the kids and their partners and/or exes. For me, it overwhelmed the story with drama and characters I never felt connected to and was frustrated when their emotions would overwhelm the page and stop the mystery.

The fact that, at almost 90%, we're still left wondering what was going on - it was just too long and didn't hold my attention right from the get-go. I wish I'd like this one but it just didn't work for me.

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A really great mystery with some really intriguing twist and turns. I’m really glad I got a chance to read this.

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This, apparently is the third instalment in a series involving amateur sleuths. It didn’t however take long to get acquainted with the background so could be read as a standalone.
Liz, Pat and Thelma are all retired teachers who like to solve crimes. One day, Marguerite, their totally scatty friend, comes to them all in a dither, telling them she has either had an out-of-body or psychic episode. She got lost in thick fog in a part of town she did not know that well and found herself going into a strange charity shop where she could not find anyone to help, but the clock had stopped. Finding her way out, she vows to return the next day. When she does, there is no sign of said shop, just some derelict buildings. Our three sleuths, sensing a mystery, go to the area themselves, but are thwarted in investigating as a fatal car crash has occurred in the same area as the supposed shop. The victim, recently widowed, was known for being a safe and careful driver. Does her death have anything to do with the existence or otherwise of the charity shop?
This starts as a very original premise. Sadly, the momentum is not carried out throughout the book. Each new point is laboured over again and again to the point of tedium. The book could easily be a third less in length. The plot line from its promising beginning, turns out to be so basic it’s virtually banal. Then there is not so much a big reveal, but a mere whimper at the end. It is extremely disappointing.
I did like Liz, Pat and Thelma and the warm and witty relationship between them. The trope of 60-something eccentrics solving crime is becoming more than a little saturated in the cosy market, but something is endearing about them. If only the author had taken the time to actually construct a mystery with a little depth, then that would have been a much better read.
My thanks to NetGalley, Avon Books and J M Hall for the appreciated ARC in exchange for an open and honest review.

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A cozy mystery featuring three retirees. This is the third in the series, which I wish would've been made clear by either a series call-out or a numerical designation.

I love a retiree mystery, but the genre is becoming a bit saturated, and 60 is a bit young for my tastes.

This also features the cozy tropes of food, citizen sleuths, and complicated pasts.

I much prefer the Thursday Murder Club series, but perhaps that's an unfair comparison, as I didn't start this series from the beginning.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC.

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The best bit about this series is its detailed understanding of adult (and female friendships) that have lasted a long time.
As well as this our heroes head on another great mystery with plenty of twists and thrills while managing growing older and the stress that creates

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Three retired school teacher and former colleagues, Liz, Pat and Thelma, meet every week in the local garden centre for coffee, cake and general catchup. They are drawn into trying to explain a mysterious experience of another teaching colleague concerning a disappearing charity shop on a winters foggy evening.

The story is told in turns by each of the women and introduces their partners, families and personal challenges. The story maintains a steady pace throughout and the characters are nicely developed. I did find it useful to make a list of characters and their various relationships as it was a bit confusing at the start.

I enjoyed this story and would certainly read the earlier books. The book is described as having “Winning charm, wit and humour”. I agree that it has winning charm but found very little wit or humour.

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We’re back with Pat, Thelma and Liz in the Thirsk Gardrn centre tea room. This time it’s about a vanishing Charity Shop. And then a woman dies in very suspicious circumstances near where the ‘shop’ was spotted. Are the two things connected. Of course. I’m not a fan of the writing style I’m afraid and found it all a bit confusing

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I made a few mistakes with J.M. Hall’s A Clock Stopped Dead. First, I thought this cozy British mystery was the first in the series featuring retired teachers Pat, Liz, and Thelma. It’s actually the third. A Spoonful of Murder is the first. I guess my biggest mistake was plunging into a mystery featuring three women, all about sixty, only to discover it was hard to tell them apart, and even more difficult to remember all of their male family members. All the women seemed to be having problems with their sons. I should have made a list of characters.

Pat, Liz, and Thelma meet once a week at the Thirsk Garden Centre Cafe. After Marquerite McAllister has an unexplained incident in the dense fog, the three women decide they need to investigate. Marguerite once worked with Pat, and twenty years after an affair with the man who fixed the school’s photocopier, she’s still obsessed with him. When the trio hear about Marguerite’s latest obsession, at first they think that’s just Marguerite. While waiting for a late train, she went looking for a restroom, wandering in the fog. She came across what seemed to be an other worldly shop with men’s wear and a clock stuck at ten to three. When she went back the next day to what she thought was a charity shop, the entire shop had vanished.

The trio of retirees decide to investigate, although Thelma, the wife of an ordained vicar, doesn’t believe in the supernatural. As they ask questions, they come across a young woman whose sister just died in a car crash just after Marguerite’s experience in the fog. They take her under their wing, only to discover connections to a house where “Mad Stanley” and his first and second wives lived. Both women died in car crashes, including the latest one who died in the fog.

While the Stanley house is described as a “said, empty house”, I felt that way about the lives of the three amateur sleuths, sad, empty lives. Thelma is angry at her husband because he’s happy in a job delivering packages. Pat doesn’t want to turn sixty, and she’s easily set off by the smallest thing. Pat and Liz are both dealing with adult children who return home.

I was anticipating what others referred to as a witty, funny mystery. It’s not. A Clock Stopped Dead for everyone in this book, at a time when they’re leading sad, unhappy lives.

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Love the ladies that are investigating! Loved the fact the shop is prime place in the stories. Really enjoyed reading this series, hope to read more too!

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Just what the doctor ordered, a perfect cosy mystery to snuggle up with. Which is highly entertaining and will have you laughing out loud, an absolute joy. This is the 3rd in J M Hall’s cozy Mystery book series and if you haven’t already read any of them, why not? You must, you won’t regret it. I always feel sad after reading one of the series knowing I have to wait another year for the next instalment but so excited as the countdown begins when the time is getting near

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I enjoyed this 3rd instalment of this series a lot! Book 1 & 2 were very good mysteries and the 3rd book was including unexpected twists and not really easily to detect culprits. The plot would probably get a 3.5 star rating this time, but I feel that the author put effort into refining the characters more than in the previous books and that brings me to a 4 star rating overall. I enjoyed that the book kept me guessing which probably was the intention! I hope the series continues!

The characters of Liz, Thelma and Pat, which I’ve been slightly criticising in book 1&2 as I felt they were not very easily distinguishable characters, were better crafted in this 3rd book in my opinion! All three are retired teachers and very cute characters. I still liked all of their personalities, and this time especially Pat and Liz were playing a bigger role for the story in my view.

To summarise, I liked that the characters were a bit more refined than in the previous books and I can recommend this whole series to anyone liking cozy mysteries and difficult cases to solve.

(A review will also be posted on my Goodreads and instagram account @anns.book.chronicles on pub day)

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I must start by thanking both NetGalley as well as the publisher Avon, for my eARC in exchange for my honest review.
Not my favourite J.M. Hall. A not so cosy, cosy mystery. It takes too long to get to where you want to know. I often mixed up all the male characters due to them not being developed strongly enough to stand out from one another.

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Another cosy crime mystery in the series by J. M. Hall. Liz, Pat and Thelma are investigating again, after their friend, Marguerite, has a paranormal experience at a charity shop, one night in the middle of nowhere.
Having read and enjoyed the previous two books in the series, I am disappointed to say that this is my least favourite. I think there was too much going on in the story to keep track of the main event. That said, I shan’t be put off by it and look forward to reading the next book in the future.

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Warm, Gentle Humour..
The third outing in this amusing and warm series of cosy mysteries featuring a trio of rather unlikely amateur sleuths. These three retired school teachers enjoy their regular meet ups of coffee and cake and unlimited chat - but now that they know of their unusual talent, what will be next? The disturbing experience of a friend is the beginning of their next investigation - but there may well be someone waiting in the wings who refuses to have their secrets exposed. Another enjoyable outing with some deftly drawn characters, a frothy plot and a warm and gentle humour.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for the ARC! For fans of cozy mysteries, this one is for you. Charming, warm, and witty - I enjoyed this book immensely.

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first of all thank you to Avon books for asking me to review another amazing thrilling book by J M Hall .


i was so excited to read this as i loved the other two books , and i can say this is now my favourite .
we are back with the amazing Liz , Pat ,and Thelma my new favourite girl detective gang ,i felt like i was in the book with them on the great murder mystery adventure . The characters I think work so well together ,i feel like i know all their quirky personalities. get me in their gang they are amazing .

I loved the plot of this story ,it had my spine tingling with excitement , and the plot twist was brilliant i never would have guessed jaw dropping . i love the setting i felt like i was right there with all the characters .

J M Hall writing is fantastic as always , very well paced ,perfection .

If you love a good cosy mystery then this is for you .

im giving the book 5 cosy ,thrilling , stars

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Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

First of all, I did not know this was the third in a series, though there’s only some personal details missing for each character that I felt like I had to figure them out more than if I had read the first two. This is just an unfortunate circumstance I found myself in, not a negative critique of the book.
Because of that, I didn’t find myself fully involved in each of the characters. I liked them, but I never felt the strong pull towards them if I had possibly read the first two books.

I did find my attention wandering with this book and I feel like it didn’t need to be quite as long as it was. I often got distracted. That being said the mystery was clever and unique and I did enjoy the 3 main characters. I did feel myself wanting more mystery and less cozy. The plot didn’t feel as strong as it could have been.

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Book Review 📚
A Clock Stopped Dead by J.M Hall - 4/5 ⭐

A fun-filled and adventurous little mystery! It was thoroughly enjoyable, but I did make the mistake of not knowing there were already 2 books prior to this one.

I think they can easily be read as a standalone the only thing your really missing is some more I'm depth information about the characters.

But nonetheless it was still a great little read. There are some great details and descriptions that make life as a reader so much easier after a long day and struggling to imagine the scene properly.

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon Books for allowing me to read this ARC - this is an HONEST review from my own personal opinion.

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This was an interesting little mystery. I think it took me a little bit to get into the book and a little longer to understand the characters. I think that could have been addressed if I had read the first two books in this series. There was enough going on where it wasn't obvious where the book was going, so it was a pleasant journey to be on with the characters. I do think I will pick up the first two books to see if that affects how I feel about the characters moving forward.

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This is the latest sleuthing adventure for Liz, Pat and Thelma retired school staff who enjoy meeting for coffee at the garden centre and solving crimes in their local neighbourhood. In this adventure, their friend Marguerite, believes she has had a supernatural experience when she chances upon a mysterious charity shop with a stopped clock which subsequently disappears. At the same time a woman driving nearby suffers a fatal accident. The trio are sure that nothing is as it seems and set out to solve the mystery of the vanishing shop. Simultaneously the 3 women are struggling with family issues. These background stories add depth to the plot and make the book more satisfying to read. However, of the 3 novels featuring the trio, this is my least favourite as the plot is not as sound and the denouement is quite weak and predictable. I would recommend reading the books in order to fully enjoy the background stories.

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