Monday, April 8, 2024

The Clock Struck Murder - Historical Mystery Review

Goodreads: The Clock Struck Murder by Betty Webb

Rating: Just Okay (2 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  One woman's trash is another woman's--lost Chagall masterpiece?!? Expat Zoe Barlow has settled well into her artist's life among the Lost Generation in 1920s Paris. When a too-tipsy guest at her weekly poker game breaks Zoe's favorite clock, she's off to a Montparnasse flea market to bargain with the vendor Laurette for a replacement. What Zoe didn't bargain for was the lost Chagall painting that's been used like a rag to wrap her purchases! Eager to learn whether Laurette has more Chagalls lying about like trash, Zoe sets off to track her down at her storage shed. With no Laurette in sight, Zoe snoops around and indeed finds several additional Chagalls―and then she finds Laurette herself, dead beneath a scrap heap, her beautiful face bashed in. With Paris hosting the 1924 Summer Olympics, the police are far too busy with tourist-related crimes to devote much time to the clock seller's murder. After returning the paintings to a grateful Marc Chagall, Zoe begins her own investigation. Did the stolen paintings play any part in the brutal killing? Or was it a crime of passion? Zoe soon discovers that there were many people who had reason to resent the lovely Laurette. But who hated the girl enough to stop her clock permanently? When Zoe discovers a second murder victim, the pressure is on to find the killer before time―and luck―run out.

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I absolutely love the in between the wars Paris setting and anything involving art theft also grabs my attention.  

My Impression:  Oh I so wanted to love this.  I love the time period and the independent American artist main character and the mystery itself sounded interesting.  Unfortunately, by about 30% or so I found I just didn't care and the rest of the book was a bit of a slog.

This book is a fairly character forward mystery and we follow Zoe throughout her day to day life and part of that life involves searching for Chagall paintings and trying to figure out just who killed Laurette.  The problem was I just didn't like Zoe and really didn't care what she wore or what she had for breakfast.  As well, the flashbacks from her life in Alabama just seemed over the top and the reading to her lover's paralyzed wife seemed just unnecessary.  

The mystery was good and the author did a great job of setting the scene but in the end I just didn't enjoy it and what's worse is that I didn't care.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Probably not.  While I did enjoy the author's ability to make 1920s Paris come alive for the most part this book just didn't work for me.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you are absolutely obsessed with 1920s Paris this might be worth the read but for the most part I would skip it.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. I dislike a book that at 30% you know its going to be a slog. Pity as it seems you liked the mystery part.

  2. I hate when a book that should be really good ends up being a slog instead. Those are the ones I quickly DNF.

  3. It's too bad this one wasn't better. It had such a good premise and I like the cover. I have heard of Betty Webb, but haven't tried any of her books.

  4. Man, the synopsis sounds so promising. I am sorry this one didn't work.