Greetings! Today’s Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour is for A Well-Timed Murder by Tracee de Hahn. Ms. de Hahn has provided a guest post for today’s post. Purchase links and a synopsis of the book will be below the guest post.
Tracee de Hahn’s Guest Post
Would you kill for a watch? That’s what was on my mind when I began research for the next Agnes Lüthi mystery, A Well-Timed Murder. To immerse myself in the world of watches I decided to visit Baselworld, the world’s premier watch, jewelry and gemstone show. An annual occurrence in Basel, Switzerland it is the perfect setting to test the lure of luxury timepieces.
What I discovered, is that you don’t have to collect jewelry or watches to enjoy Baselworld. What’s the scientific basis for this statement? I took a friend along on my research trip, a friend, who we will call JSP, who is a definite foil to my attraction to all things glittery. An architect, JSP embraced the journey as an excuse to visit the buildings designed by the famous Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron. This was perfect. I wanted to note the impact the show had on a visitor with no interest in the merchandise.
The day started off perfectly. The spring weather was clear, the crowd gathering under the expansive canopy at Baselworld was restrained but excited. For JSP, the main expo building lived up to its reputation. The exterior walls are textured aluminum, creating the impression of a woven façade. The entrance canopy reaches across the street, sheltering a restaurant, flower stall and other activities. Happy people were heading to the expo doors with money to burn. JSP entered the exhibition with a smile on her face.
I thought her initial attitude would buy me a few hours of interest on her part. Five minutes later I knew that I’d made a mistake. She might not want to leave. It is impossible to ignore the effort that goes into making Baselworld an incredible experience. The ‘pavilions’ (showrooms) would be at home on any high fashion street in the world. However, it is the product that steals the show.
Name a dream design and it is there. Precious gems, high performance mechanisms, antiques. I should note that there are five exhibition halls and, as a foil to the luxury, in the corner of one it is possible to find simple watch cases and inexpensive timepieces appropriate for any shopping mall. Personally, I wanted to spend more time in the section where loose gems are sold. Running your fingers through a box of rubies is an experience that doesn’t come around every day! (Trust me, security is tight! That pigeon’s egg sized ruby didn’t make its way into my pocket.)
JSP kept me focused on my research. We studied overhead walkways, examined isolated bathrooms, and spent enough time in back corridors to likely warrant extra scrutiny on security cameras. This is the fun part of research – imagining what could happen. Luxury automobiles lined up between two halls: Inspiration!
At the end of the day, JSP and I left without purchasing any watches or gemstones. But we did have a greater appreciation for the entire industry. To the casual observer, watches are objects of beauty. However, behind that beauty is science and technology. Which metal to use? How to form it, make it stronger, more pliable, more rigid? Watchmakers are constantly pushing the envelope: lightweight, shock resistant, accurate. And, of course, there is beauty. I spent a long time hovering over the work space of a master engraver at Blancpain, watching him etch the back of a watch with a tiny, highly detailed, animal scene. Pure artistry.
In the book, Agnes shares my experience and more. She also sees the behind-the-scenes competitiveness of the industry. How much is at stake and how much people are willing to sacrifice to stay on top. Murder comes to mind.
A Well-Timed Murder (Agnes Luthi Mysteries)
2nd in Series
Minotaur Books (February 6, 2018)
Hardcover: 352 pages
E-Book ASIN: B073TSWJMJ
Swiss-American police officer Agnes Lüthi is on leave in Lausanne, Switzerland, recovering from injuries she sustained in her last case, when an old colleague invites her to the world’s premier watch and jewelry trade show at the grand Messe Basel Exhibition Hall. Little does Agnes know, another friend of hers, Julien Vallotton, is at the same trade show—and he’s looking for Agnes. Julien Vallotton was friends with Guy Chavanon, a master of one of Switzerland’s oldest arts: watchmaking. Chavanon died a week ago, and his daughter doesn’t believe his death was accidental. Shortly before he died, Chavanon boasted that he’d discovered a new technique that would revolutionize the watchmaking industry, and she believes he may have been killed for it. Reluctantly, Agnes agrees to investigate his death. But the world of Swiss watchmaking is guarded and secretive, and before she realizes it, Agnes may be walking straight into the path of a killer.
Tracee de Hahn’s next mystery, A Well-Timed Murder, is another magnetic mystery that will engross readers from the opening page to the stunning conclusion.
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