The Clock Struck Murder by Betty WebbThe Clock Struck Murder by Betty Webb
Series: Lost in Paris #2
Published by Dreamscape Media on April 9, 2024
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Historical Mystery
Length: 8 hrs 3 mins
Pages: 320
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at or Audible
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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.

Paris during the 1924 Olympics is a wonderful setting. Zoe, an artist, has been living in the city for 6 years, since she was exiled from Alabama. She has a lot of backstory, almost too much for one character. Anyway, she stumbles across a stolen Chagall painting and then the body of a murdered woman. She takes it upon herself to try to track down more of the paintings and also starts asking questions of people who knew Laurette.

The plot was fine even if the killer was a bit obvious. It’s also a who’s who among the expats in Paris at the time. We either meet or hear gossip about Marc Chagall and his family, poet Blaise Cendrars, Ernest and Hadley Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, and Pablo Picasso and his first wife. We’re also introduced to several members of the American swim team. The author shoves a lot in to this book.

I actually liked Zoe. She’s kind and makes a decent amateur sleuth. She is also, of course, dating a detective, which leads to really the oddest parts of the book. Her detective is married, but his wife is in an unresponsive state due to a stroke and Zoe reads to her on a weekly basis. I couldn’t tell from the story if she knew her before the stroke or not. There are also several weird chapters from the wife’s point of view, inside her head. They felt out of place with the rest of the book and didn’t add anything to the mystery.

I listened to the audiobook book and the narrator did a good job. The accents were well done and the dialogue sounded natural.

The mystery itself was fine, even it the killer became rather obvious. For all the available suspects, not many had a legitimate reason to kill Laurette.

Overall, the book was fine, but I didn’t enjoy the characters enough to feel the need to read more in the series.

About Betty Webb

Betty Webb is the author of three mystery series—her new PARIS series, the LENA JONES series, and the GUNN ZOO series. Before writing full time, Betty was a journalist, interviewing everyone from U.S. Presidents, astronauts who walked on the moon, and Nobel Prize winners. She is a member of the National Federation of Press Women, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

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