by Dianne Ascroft
Be sure to scroll down to read my REVIEW of this cozy, and for a chance to win a free GIVEAWAY!
Out of Options:
A Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries
by Dianne Ascroft
About the Book
Out of Options: A Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries
Independently Published (April 28, 2019)
Paperback: 126 pages
Digital ASIN: B07R4GQWQN
Out of Options is a prequel novella to the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series, and introduces Lois Stone and her companions, Raggs and Ribbons, a pair of perceptive calico cats.
A dry district, a shocking secret, a missing person. When Lois Stone’s friend, Beth Darrow, arranges to meet her to reveal an astonishing discovery, Lois’s curiosity is piqued. Then Beth doesn’t keep their lunch date and Lois becomes worried. What has happened to her friend?
Middle-aged widow Lois is settling into life on her own in her neighbourhood and in the library where she works, and she is just about coping with her fear of strangers after her husband was mugged and died in the park at the end of their street. But her quiet existence is rocked when her friend and fellow local historical society researcher, Beth, arranges to meet her to reveal an exciting and shocking discovery she has made about the history of prohibition in West Toronto Junction, the last dry area in Toronto, and then goes missing before she can share her secret with Lois. There isn’t any proof that Beth is missing so the police won’t actively search for her. Only Lois and Beth’s niece Amy are convinced that Beth’s disappearance is very out of character, and they are worried about her. Where has Beth gone? Is she in danger? And, if she is, who might want to harm her and why? Lois knows she must find the answers to these questions fast if she wants to help and protect her friend.
And so begins a weekend of skulking in the park, apple and cinnamon pancakes, familiar faces staring out of old newspapers, calico cats, shadows on the windowpane, and more than one person who might want Beth to disappear from the quiet, leafy streets of the historic and staunchly dry West Toronto Junction neighbourhood.
About the Author
Dianne Ascroft is a Torontonian who has settled in rural Northern Ireland. She and her husband live on a small farm with an assortment of strong-willed animals.
She is currently writing the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series. Out of Options is a prequel to the series.
Her previous fiction works include The Yankee Years series of novels and short reads, set in Northern Ireland during the Second World War; An Unbidden Visitor (a tale inspired by Fermanagh’s famous Coonian ghost); Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves: A Collection of Short Stories (contemporary tales), and an historical novel, Hitler and Mars Bars, which explores Operation Shamrock, a little known Irish Red Cross humanitarian endeavour.
Dianne writes both fiction and non-fiction. Her articles and short stories have been printed in Canadian and Irish magazines and newspapers. When she’s not writing, she enjoys walks in the countryside, evenings in front of her open fireplace and folk and traditional music.
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/DianneAscroftwriter
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OUT OF OPTIONS is a prequel novella to Dianne Ascroft’s A TIMELESS CELEBRATION, a Century Cottage Cozy mystery. It highlights the time before the older librarian, Lois Stone, moves into a Century Cottage in a distant town. The short story, CITY SUNSET, included in this book, is actually a prequel to the novella and reveals the tragic circumstances that convince her to relocate. I almost would like to have read the short story, then the novella, and finally the mystery novel in that order. But this way is quite easy to follow too.
In OUT OF OPTIONS, Lois tries to find out what happened to her friend, Beth, who goes missing after revealing she has made an amazing find while organizing some historical papers for the library. Among the sermons written by temperance preacher Rev. Payne, who helped to make the town “dry” in 1904, is something so valuable or shocking, that Beth is snatched away before she can reveal it. The town will soon vote to renew the law against selling alcohol. Did Beth know something to sway the vote? Lois enlists Beth’s niece to help her find her friend before it’s too late.
OUT OF OPTIONS is not a murder mystery, so there will be no bodies found, but a suspenseful and intriguing tale introducing the main character (and her two cats) in the series.
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