Before I start querying, I'd greatly appreciate your thoughts on the genre of my novel. I have some intuitions about its genre, but I'd like to be more sure. I'll try to keep this summary as brief and clinical as I can.
-The novel is set is an unnamed city in the everyday, actual world. The main character is an introspective philosophy professor, named Cal, and the story is told from the first person. There's nothing supernatural in the story and none of the characters have special powers.
-Following a strange encounter one night, Cal discovers that a fellow professor has invented a working time machine. The latter man and his colleagues use the time machine for historical research and recovery of lost things. One critical element of the story is that the past cannot be altered. The past can be visited, the characters can learn things, they can find "lost" items, but they can't alter any events. It's not that kind of time travel story. (most all the trips back in time are to the mid to late 20th century)
-An unnamed man (our villain) hires our guys to find something: a stuffed raven that belonged to a murdered woman. They travel back and find the raven, give it to this mystery client and this client later assaults one of the time travelers over what was found. The raven is later found to contain a key. What does the key open? Why was a woman apparently murdered because of this stuffed raven? Will our time travelers be able stop the villain before he kills one of them, or exposes the time machine to the world? (There's very mild violence in the story.)
-In an effort to learn the full truth about the stuffed raven, our main character travels back to meet the murdered woman the summer before she was killed. They have a brief, but doomed love affair (no explicit sex scenes). I say 'doomed' because the past can't be changed. This woman WILL be murdered the following spring, and our time traveler has to return to the present-day before then. The main character does suffer her loss. Should he have told her about her fate? Did he just use her to learn about the stuffed raven?
This is merely a clinical summary of elements of the story. Based on this, what kind of novel do you think it is?
Many thanks in advance for your advice.