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 fiancé, 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.”
“Horology. It’s the study of time, timekeepers─meaning clocks and watches─and 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