The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything was MacDonald’s third “science fiction” novel. The gimmick here is a gold watch that can stop time for up to an hour at a time. While the world is frozen, the wearer can do all kinds of damage.
Poor Kirby Winters has spent the last decade running errands for his rich uncle and helping give away 27 million dollars. As a reward, when Uncle dies, Kirby gets a gold watch (whose value he has no idea) and a letter to be opened a year later. He also has a sinister pair out to charm him out if whatever secrets uncle left him and a whole world screaming that he embezzled 27 million dollars. And before he knows it he is in the run from every law enforcement agent on the Florida coast.
The difficulty many readers have is that the fun part when Kirby meets Bonnie Lee and figures out what the watch does happens about midway through. To get there, the reader has to witness Kirby as perplexed as anyone as to what is going on and who he can trust.
In effect, MacDonald tells the story a bit backwards and sideways, not letting the reader know what the secret is for much of the story. Even then, he doesn’t make stopping time (not time travel) easy as he compounds it with a whole series of rules that often make the stopped time action slapstick goofy.