A Clock Stopped Dead

Avon. (Liz, Pat, and Thelma, Bk. 3). Jun. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9780008606923. pap. $18. M
Three retired schoolteachers, Pat, Liz, and Thelma, meet weekly at the local cafe in Yorkshire to catch up with each other. Following the adventures of one of Pat’s former coworkers, Marguerite, they decide to investigate what Marguerite insists was an otherworldly experience. Walking down an empty lane in the fog, she stumbled across a charity shop featuring men’s clothes and a clock with hands stopped at 10 minutes to three; there she claims to have heard a disembodied voice. When she went back the next day, the shop was gone. The trio of friends don’t find the shop either. Instead, they find a young mother mourning the loss of her sister, who died in a car crash the same evening as Marguerite’s experience. In a convoluted mystery that involves an empty house, rumors of murders at that house, and misunderstandings with adult sons, Pat, Liz, and Thelma argue but find a way back to friendship and the solution to murders and disappearing shops.
VERDICT The sequel to A Pen Dipped in Poison is an unhappy story of family disagreements. Readers looking for British cozy mysteries might prefer Jessica Ellicott’s Beryl and Edwina series or the novels of M.C. Beaton.
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