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Friday, January 13, 2012

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY -- GUEST AUTHOR NANCY J. COHEN

Nancy J. Cohen is our Book Club Friday guest today. In her newest mystery, Shear Murder, a wedding turns deadly when hairstylist Marla Shore discovers a dead body under the cake table. Nancy is currently on a blog tour and will be giving away a copy of Shear Murder, along with a set of Paua shell jewelry, at the end of the tour. To enter the drawing, simply leave a comment at any of the blogs on the tour. You can find the tour schedule and learn more about Nancy at her website. -- AP

Character Quirks by Nancy J. Cohen

You’d think wedding preparations would keep a bride busy, but not so for Marla Shore, my hairdresser sleuth. She has a gazillion things to do to get ready for her nuptials that are several weeks away in Shear Murder, the latest title in my Bad Hair Day mystery series. Besides running her own salon, prepping for the grand opening of her new day spa, and packing for her move into a new house with her fiancĂ©, Marla has last minute wedding details to surmount.

In the midst of this chaos, she’s a bridesmaid in her friend Jill’s ceremony. Imagine Marla’s horror when she discovers the matron of honor’s dead body at the reception. This launches her into another murder investigation just when she can’t spare the time.

One of the suspects she interviews is the victim’s husband. He owns a clock repair shop and has been accused of paying more attention to his timepieces than to his dead wife. Having fun with secondary characters is something I like to do, and I was delighted to explore this obscure art.

When’s the last time you had a watch fixed? Did you wonder how the person got their training? Where they went to school for this skill? We have a cuckoo clock in our house that once needed repair. Thankfully, there is a shop in town that does this work. It’s like entering a time machine to step inside. The musty smell and the repetitive tick-tocks ringing in your ears herald a bygone era.

Let’s listen in on my heroine’s conversation with the suspect as she interviews him in his house.

Marla sniffed at a hint of tobacco, like from a pipe or cigar. “What kind of work do you do?”

His challenging gaze met hers. “I own a clock repair shop. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but I’ve always had a fascination with time pieces. We fix everything from watches to chime and cuckoo clocks to antique long case models. Those are especially beautiful in mahogany.”

From the passion lacing his voice, she could tell he truly enjoyed his occupation. “How you do train for that type of job?”

“I studied Horology in Pennsylvania.”

“What?”

“Horology. It’s the study of time, timekeepers
meaning clocks and watchesand timekeeping. I’m certified as a master clockmaker and master watchmaker.”

Her ears picked up the sound of clocks ticking. She followed their direction to a wall unit displaying several models. “That’s a nice collection. Are they antiques?” She knew nothing about the subject. Her clocks at home were either battery run or digital, certainly unlike these decorative objects.

“Those are my vintage Atmos clocks.” Scott beamed proudly. “All of these have a mercury motor. It’s inside the round box behind the movement. The motor transforms thermal energy into mechanical energy, which the clock movement uses to drive the balance and display the time. The Atmos clock consumes sixty times less energy than a wrist watch.”

Cool, huh? Although most people today don’t think of them as such, clocks can be decorative objects. Next time you’re in a neighbor’s house, note what type of timepieces they have on display. An interesting clock may reflect their personality. And when you’re reading a story, consider how a character tells time. Does he use his cell phone or wear a wrist watch? It is quirks like these that reveal clues about people.

What is unique and interesting about you that might reveal an insight into your personality?

Thanks for joining us today, Nancy! -- AP

35 comments:

Cathy Shouse said...

This looks like a fun read and I love the cover. I've read some in this series and enjoyed them.

I'd love to win this one.

cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com

GladysMP said...

I have not had a watch fixed, but I once had an antigue clock fixed. I had purchased it at an antique shop across the street from the Old North Church when I was on vacation with my father. I still have the clock in my living room.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an interesting read, I have over 12 clocks I've inherited from various family members and love all of them!
Lynn/MI lynn@tangledyarn.com

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Cathy, I love the cover, too! Gladys, you're lucky you found a clock repair shop for your antique piece. and anonymous, 12 clocks, wow. What a nice collection.

Una Tiers said...

Hi Nancy:
You raised a good point about keeping time in a book. My protagonist wears a plastic watch!
Una Tiers

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Una: A plastic watch, huh? The point is...why? Is she cheap? Is she rebelling against fancier watches as status symbols? Or is she just pragmatic?

Jacqueline Seewald said...

My husband is fascinated by fixing clocks. He's also always early whereas I tend to procrastinate. Personality quirks do make for interesting reading in mystery characters.

Congrats on the excellent reviews your novel has been getting!

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Jacqueline, my husband is always early everywhere, too. I like to be on time but not the first one there. Besides, ladies take longer to get ready for events.

tripearl said...

Nancy & Marla's fans have been waiting for this book, and finaly we can raise a glasss of champagne,and a hanky for the wedding! Can't wait.:)

Jane R said...

Another new series to explore. This one sounds exceptional and I can't wait to start reading. Thanks!!

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Linda, let me know what you think of the wedding! And Jane, I hope you'll explore my series. Thanks for stopping by.

Susan Santangelo said...

This looks like another good read from one of my favorite authors! I'll add it to my must-read list.

Susan Santangelo
suthor of the Baby Boomer Mysteries

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thank you, Susan! I always like my books to be on a TBR list!

Nancy said...

My husband received an antique clock from his brother who worked parttime in a shop in Vienna. It didn't work, so he took it to a repair shop. We now have the casing, but not the inside works because my husband balked at the cost of repair. I think that's a shame even though I wasn't fond of the clock.

jenny milchman said...

I love weddings in fiction! So much potential for mayhem--and disappointment.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Yes, nancy, that is a shame. You would have had a nice working clock from Vienna. You could always take it to the shop and ask about filling in the innards? Jenny, weddings and murder always stir up the passions!

Nancy said...

I have an antique Mantal clock and have tried to have if fixed so it would work but no luck. It came froma grandfather's family. My brother has an Antique Annisersary clock from our Grandmother's family and he wa able to get it to work. At least my clock looks good on my mantle.

Nancy love the Marla books.

nlb1050@yahoo.com

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thank you, Nancy. Yes, clocks can be decorative objects even if they don't want. We've gone digital in the bedrooms, esp. like projection clocks that show the time on the ceiling.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

I meant, if they don't work. See what happens from typing too fast?

Angela Perry said...

I use my cell phone as a timepiece, but in my home a have a black wrought iron clock that I love. I think it reflects me in many ways, modern and strong.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Both of our kids used their cell phones to tell time then decided they wanted wrist watches. Cool analogy, Angela: an iron clock reflecting your inner strength.

Liz said...

Unfortunately, clock and watch repair is an art practiced now only by a few. At least it's alive in your book!

Dru said...

I never thought of that before, but I just finished a book where the lead character was always running late. She never looked at her watch.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Hey, Dru, maybe your character's watch battery ran out. Liz, you're right. Clock and watch repair is a dying art. Makes you sad, doesn't it?

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Lois, thanks so much for having me here today. I'm going to retire for the night, but I'll check back in the morning to respond to new comments. It's been a great discussion.

ANASTASIA POLLACK said...

Always a pleasure, Nancy!

squiresj said...

I would like to win any books that are on this blog tour. I also will review any book I read. So enter me please
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

cyn209 said...

sounds like a great read, Nancy!!! congrats to you & good luck!!!
i'll be attending MaliceDomestic in April too!!! hope to meet you!!

thank you for the giveaway!!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Cyn, I'd love to meet you at Malice. Look for me, please! I like to hang out in the hospitality room or whatever site they have where readers and authors can meet.

JackieW said...

Something interesting about me is that I have a twin sister. This has helped to shape me into the person I am today.
JFWisherd(at)aol(dot)com

traveler said...

Clocks add character to a home, are an integral part of life and important. Your series sounds compelling.

petite said...

Enjoyable excerpt. What is unique and interesting about me. Not too much except sometimes I an very intuitive about the future, people and events. Many thanks.

Maureen Hayes said...

I worked as a PI in my twenties so I have a lot of good stories that people find interesting. I find every person has an interest, hobby, or occupation that can be fascinating if you only take the time to learn more about them. Thanks for the question and for the chance to win the book. It sounds like a great read.

Maryann Miller said...

Interesting post. I did not know what the science of timepieces was called.

We have a beautiful old wall clock that my husband's mother bought in Europe. It has recently stopped working and the local Clock Shop has closed, so I am having trouble finding someone to work on it. Would love to get it running again.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Our daughter bought us a cuckoo clock when she went to Europe. It stopped working so I brought it into the local clock repair shop. The multitude of clocks ticking, the musty smell, and the old world ambiance inspired this aspect of Shear Murder. Maryann, I hope you find someplace to get your timepiece fixed. Maureen, you're right in that everyone has a hobby or fixation of some sort. That's what makes us all so interesting, right?