Siblings Matthew and Elizabeth Janssen, nineteen and eighteen, live with their parents in Lilac Cottage in Cape Cod where they had been vacationing when they discovered a time-travel grandfather clock hidden in a secret room. When their parents bought the cottage and everything in it, including the clock, Matthew and Elizabeth are elated at still having access to the time travel device. Summer vacation is over, and the two teenagers now have to plan their adventures around school and family life, making it difficult to get back into the past to solve mysteries. And, boy, do they have mysteries to solve! Not only have a number of young girls been kidnapped and murdered between 1914 and 1927—crimes the siblings are sure were committed by the same man—but the jewels from a jewelry heist in 1900 are still missing. When the siblings find a riddle written by the man who allegedly masterminded the jewel heist, they are sure that if they can just figure out the clues, they can recover the missing treasure…that is, if they can survive their dealings with the murderer of the young girls.

TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In The Murderer and the Lost Treasure by Leonardus G. Rougoor, Matthew and Elizabeth Janssen are nineteen- and eighteen-year-old siblings who have a secret. The cottage where they now live has a hidden room with an old grandfather clock that is a time travel device. They first discovered the clock when they spent the summer vacationing at the cottage. Luckily, their parents decided to buy the cottage and everything in it, including the secret room and the clock. Now the two can go back in time whenever they want, or rather whenever they can work it in between school and family time, since their parents know nothing about the clock or their secret adventures. While looking on the internet, they discover that a number of young girls were abducted and murdered in the area in the early nineteenth century, so the two travel back in time, determined to stop whoever is doing it. With the help of their friends, John and Alice, who live in the past and whose lives Matthew and Elizabeth saved while time traveling over the summer, they narrow down the suspects. Also in 1900, there was a jewel robbery, and the robber left clues to where the treasure is hidden in an old dresser. When the two siblings find the dresser in a shed on their property and discover a riddle hidden inside, they have two mysteries to solve—that is, if they survive their confrontation with the murderer.

Unlike the first book, The Clock, this one is written in past tense, rather than present, and I enjoyed it a lot more, as present tense isn’t my favorite. But tense aside, it is equally as thrilling as its processor, and I found I couldn’t put it down.

REGAN MURPHY SAYS: The Murderer and the Lost Treasure by Leonardus G. Rougoor is the story of Matthew and Elizabeth Janssen, two teenage siblings. Matthew, nineteen, and Elizabeth, eighteen, have just moved with their parents to Lilac Cottage in Cape Cod. They spent the previous summer vacationing at the cottage, and, at the end of the summer, their parents were able to buy it with all its contents. Those contents include a secret room with a time travel device disguised as a grandfather clock. Over the summer, they traveled back to the early 1900s and saved the lives of two cousins, John and Alice. Now, while surfing the internet in their own time, the siblings discover someone abducted and killed a number of young girls in the area between 1914 and 1927, and also that there a jewelry heist in 1900 where the robbers were killed in a shootout with police before they could fence the jewels, and the stash has never been found. Determined to both stop the murderer and find the stolen jewels, the teens have their work cut out for them, along with their friends John and Alice, who are only too happy to help the time travelers.

The story is well-written, fast-paced, tense, and intriguing. Easily fitting into the late YA/New Adult genres, The Murderer and the Lost Treasure is one that both young adults and adults will have a hard time putting down.

Chapter 1

A summer-long vacation at Lilac cottage on Chappaquiddick Island in Nantucket Sound turned out to be the adventure of a lifetime. Murder, theft, and harrowing experiences made using a clock to travel into the past almost fatal.

The home was built in the early nineteen hundreds within one hundred feet of the beautiful shoreline. Although there were some dunes between the cottage and the water, someone long ago had cleared an area between them. Looking through the kitchen and living room windows afforded the occupants a truly beautiful view of the waves breaking on the beach.

The quaint, handsome home was a two-story dwelling with what had been called a good morning staircase. A large landing was built near the top, leading to three short stairways. One led to the master suite and another to a renovated bathroom. The third stairway went to the two front bedrooms overlooking the driveway.

When Leonard and Kate Janssen, Matthew and Elizabeth’s parents, tried to buy the wonderful cottage during their vacation, they found it had already been sold. This would have been the perfect place for the family, but it had been too late. Their chance was gone. Attempting to create a lifestyle change for the family, their plans were thwarted at every turn. Each attempt to find another suitable residence on the island ended in disappointment. Although discouraged and feeling defeated, the family refused to give up.

The mystery started with Matthew seeing an unnerving sight at three in the morning as he glanced out the bathroom window facing the beach. Shortly after this event, Matthew and Elizabeth discovered a secret room containing the grandfather clock with its unique abilities. Finding a journal in the clock showed them how to use the timepiece, and the rollercoaster ride began.

This clock, they soon discovered, could transport them to any date in the past. Of course, even this timepiece had its limitations. One could only go as far back as the year nineteen hundred and no farther. The clock could also be used to go into the future, something they had yet to try.

Using the clock in an attempt to alter the past became, at times, a burden of almost unbearable proportions. Whatever could go wrong did, and the two teenagers were at the point of giving up the challenge. The two, trying to fix an event that had happened more than a hundred years in the past, came close to not returning to their own time.

What an amazing summer holiday it had been. The feeling they had when finally they had been able to correct a terrible wrong in the past was almost indescribable. After so many failed attempts, Matthew and Elizabeth managed to come up with a plan that worked. In order to save their friends, Alice and John, in the year nineteen hundred and seven, the pair had to do things that neither of them would ever have thought possible before this.

Of course, Leonard and Kate, all this time, had no idea what their offspring were up to, with regards to the fantastic clock. In the end, after the teenagers managed to correct things that happened so long ago, everything started to fall into place. The deal on the cottage fell through when the previous buyers backed out, and the Janssens had a chance to buy it, after all. This—and the successful adventure that Matthew and Elizabeth had—turned a dismal time into the best vacation ever.

Back in Des Moines, the family had put their house up for sale, and Leonard and Kate were amazed when it sold in a week. Moving to the island, which was part of Massachusetts, had been a dream come true. No more oil field work in Alberta for Leonard, at least not the long times away that, in the past, had been necessary.

Father and son drove the rental cube van to their new home, with Kate and Elizabeth driving the family car. The cottage, having been bought with all its contents included, had allowed the family to sell much of their furniture. Almost everything they needed had come with the cottage.

Tools, of course, were in the truck, and the males now had a large auto-technicians toolbox that was to go in the garage. At least, it would go in once the leaning building had been straightened out and made safe again. This project the two had been looking forward to completing before Matthew started college. The auto-technicians course was just what Matt wanted to take in college, as he had a real aptitude for that kind of work.

Chapter 2

I’m so glad to be back here,” Elizabeth said, smiling with glee. “This is the best place ever.”

“I know what you mean,” Matthew agreed. “I can hear the waves rolling onto the shore from here. What do you think, Buddy? Are you as happy as we are?” he asked their golden retriever, who let out a bark in response.

“All right, guys,” Dad hollered, as he backed the truck to the front of the house in a position to make the unloading easier. “We need to unload the truck and drive it to the rental place in Edgartown. Matthew, can you and Elizabeth shift some of the things in the storage shed to make room for the tools?”

Walking towards the shed, Matthew said, “Sure thing, Dad. Okay, Elizabeth, let’s get this done.”

The two made short work of creating enough space for the tools to be placed inside the shed. Once this was done, their television, dining room table, and a few dressers, plus their own mattresses were moved into the house, and the family settled into their new home.

With a smile on her face, Kate said to her husband, “I thought this day would never come. Now, look at us. We live in a beautiful cottage, and we can see the ocean out the kitchen and living room windows. Who would have thought this is how we would be living from now on?”

With everything unloaded, Leonard hopped into the truck, and as he drove away, Kate followed in the car. It didn’t take too long before they were back and, although the siblings had moved a number of things, there was still plenty to do.

“How about we unpack our suitcases and bring all the boxes that have our clothes in them upstairs, guys,” Leonard said. “Your mother and I will take care of the kitchen things.”

Elizabeth nodded, “Okay, Dad, we can handle that. Matthew, can you give me a hand with the bigger ones?” she asked as she bent down to get a grip on a rather-heavy-looking cardboard box.

The two moved everything upstairs and, after vacuuming the drawers, all the clothes were put away. Elizabeth stepped just inside the closet door in her room. All the things that had been in it for years had been removed and sorted. Memories of their trips into the past came flooding back. The feelings she and Matthew had felt, when they read online about their failures to change what they so desperately needed to, went through her head. How she cried when she read about John. The thoughts of what he had endured still brought tears to her eyes.

What a shock it had been to discover the things that had really gone on, instead of what they thought had occurred.

Several times they had almost been caught by people who would not have had a second thought about killing the two teenagers. But this was not the time for any more tears, as the past was the past, and all had been worked out.

With those thoughts going through her head, she wondered if they would be making any more trips into the past. It would have been nice to see John and Alice again, but the wisdom of that decision was suspect. Who knew what the future, or was it the past, would bring? There was one interesting thing about traveling into the past. No matter how long they stayed there, only a few minutes passed in the present. Of course, it did make for a terribly long day if it wasn’t planned properly.

“Hey, kids, do you want to come down for supper?” their Dad asked. “Matthew, you and I can have a quick look at the garage. Elizabeth, can you help Mom get the dinner ready?”

“Sure thing, Dad,” Elizabeth answered.

Chatting excitedly father and son headed for the garage. It was a short walk on a gravel driveway, and the two made an inspection tour around the leaning building to see if there was any rot and what might be done to make it safe.

Leonard had leaned forward to look through the window. “The foundation seems to be solid enough. It looks like a number of braces will be needed on the inside to hold things in place, once we pull it straight.”

“How do you plan to pull the building into position, Dad?”

“I have a two-ton come-along, which I bought a couple of years ago. It’s a portable manual hoist that we can hook to the bottom of the tree. Cranking the handle allows me to have two tons of pull, which is plenty to straighten the garage. We’ll run a steel cable over the top of the nearest wall and through the top horizontal two-by-fours of the far wall. The cable will be fastened to a support piece at the top of the wall on the other side of the garage.”

“Oh, I see what you mean. You’ll use the tree as an anchor and the come-along to pull the building straight. Then if it’s safe, we’ll go inside and bolt the braces into place. Do you think it will work, Dad?”

“Oh, yeah, I’ve done things like this before on some of the job sites I’ve been on,” Dad said.

“Will we be using the lumber inside the garage for the project?”

“I’ll have to take a good look at it, but, from here, it seems all right. Let’s see how dinner is coming along,” Leonard said as he patted his boy on the back.

“This is going to be great,” Matthew said to his father. “We’ll have a nice workshop when we’re done and a place for my car in the winter too.”

“Nice try, pal, but my car is going in the garage, not yours, ha, ha, ha.”

From the front porch, Kate yelled out, “Supper’s ready.”

The two headed toward the back of the cottage and entered the kitchen.

Leonard stopped by the door. Looking around, he inspected the area just outside the door. With a look of concentration, he turned to Kate. “Hey, dear, what do you think of Matthew and me building a small mudroom or a wash-up area back here? We could pour a small concrete pad and run the drain into the existing septic system. It could be enclosed or just have an awning type of cover over it. We should be able to build it so it doesn’t obstruct any of the views.”

With a real smile on her face, Kate nodded. “I think that’s a great idea. It will save me having to clean up the bathrooms so much.”

After supper, the family sat in the living room, enjoying the fire that was burning nicely. The light flickered and cast shadows around the room. After an hour of relaxing, everyone headed upstairs to bed. There was a soft knock on Elizabeth’s door, and Matthew entered when she told him it was okay.

“I just want to ask you not to go into the clock room without me, all right,” he said.

“You don’t have to worry. I won’t be going anywhere by myself. I would be way too scared to do something wrong and end up stuck someplace and not being able to get back,” she informed him.

“Do you think we might want to see John and Alice again or maybe try some new spots? It would be really interesting to see some of the things that have happened in this area,” Matthew said with a faraway look.

“Maybe I’ll look online when I get the chance and find out what might be interesting to see,” she said.

“There is one thing I think we should check out. We need to find out how long John owned the cottage and who has lived here since then. I don’t want to appear in the clock room and run into someone unexpectedly when we come out of the closet.”

She giggled. “Oh, you’re coming out of the closet, are you?”

“Very funny. You know what I mean.”

“I’ll check into that later, remind me,” she said.

And so ended the first day of living in their new home.

© 2018 by Leonardus G. Rougoor