One of the oddest books to receive a Booklist star this year is Gus Twintig’s The Clock without a Face, a picture-book (kind of) mystery (kind of) that’s a head-scratcher on more levels than you have fingers to scratch. To boil it waaaaaaay down, the Emerald Khroniker, a clock of incalculable value, has been stolen, and someone in a 12-story apartment is the one whodunit.
What has gained more attention than the book’s clever characters and droll writing, frankly, is the ongoing hullabaloo surrounding the bonus mystery: each spread in the book contains secret codes that refer to 12 actual locations across America, where actual jewel-encrusted clock numbers await discovery. It’s a real-word/fictional-world mash-up that has amateur puzzlers a-puzzling. If this is your kind of thing, you probably already have the wiki bookmarked.
So it’s no surprise that the book trailer–if you want to call it that–is one more sleight of hand. Presented as Episode #308 (is that a clue!?!) of a TV show called “Mystery/History,” it runs down the cursed past of the Emerald Khroniker. Using the sonorous voice-over and ominous music of TV documentaries trying to convince you that the Mothman just might be real!, it’s a lovely mock-up that holds off playing its full satirical hand until partway through. (One tip-off: a man whose credential is simply “Expert.” Another: the list of rumored Khroniker owners including Larry King, Carrot Top, and the cast of “Who’s the Boss?”)
Verdict: Totally confused! Isn’t it great?