A Timeless Celebration
(Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries)
by Dianne Ascroft
About the Book
1st in Series
Self Published (October 25, 2018)
Print Length: 245 pages
A small town, a big party, a stolen gift. When an artefact from the Titanic is stolen before her town's 150th anniversary celebration, it's up to Lois Stone to catch the thief.
Middle-aged widow Lois has moved from bustling Toronto to tranquil Fenwater and is settling into her new life away from the dangers of the city. Then two events happen that shatter her serenity: her house is burgled and an antique watch belonging to a Titanic survivor is stolen from the local museum. Her best friend, Marge, was responsible for the watch's safekeeping until its official presentation to the museum at the town's 150th anniversary party, and its disappearance will jeopardise her job and the museum's future. Lois won't let her friend take the blame and the consequences for the theft. She's determined to find the watch in time to save her best friend's job, the museum's future and the town's 150th anniversary celebration.
And so begins a week of new friends, apple and cinnamon muffins, calico cats, midnight intruders, shadowy caprine companions and more than one person with a reason to steal the watch, set against the backdrop of century houses on leafy residential streets, the swirling melodies of bagpipes, a shimmering heat haze and the burble of cool water.
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. A Timeless Celebration is the first novel in the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries 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. Readers can connect with Dianne Ascroft on her website, Facebook, Twitter (@DianneAscroft), and Goodreads. You can sign up for her newsletter here.
A Timeless Celebration by Dianne Ascroft is the first novel in A Century Cottage Cozy Mystery. Lois Stone and her two cats have moved to Fenwater, Canada into a stone home that is just over a hundred years old (called a century house). She needed to get away from Toronto after the death of her husband, James who died of a heart attack after being mugged. Lois is happy to be living near her best friend, Marge Kirkwood again who works part-time at Oatka Museum and Archives. Marge has invited Lois to the opening ceremony of Fenwater’s Sesquicentennial Celebration Week at the museum. Before the ceremony begins, Marge takes Lois to her office to show her the museum’s latest donation which is an antique watch that had belonged to a Titanic survivor. The watch will be presented at the closing ceremony in one week, and then put in a special display case. Marge is responsible for the watch until that time (you can see where this is headed). At Marge’s request, Lois takes photos of the event for the museum. After the ceremony, Marge notices the watch is missing from her desk (in an unlocked office). The loss of the watch could cause Marge her job and affect the future of the museum. Lois is not about to let her friend take the blame and assures her that they will find the watch before the presentation. Lois sets out to explore her new town and discover who stole the valuable watch. Thus, begins a week of sweet treats, questioning suspects, cute cats, the drugging of the Titanic expert, making new friends, intruders, another theft, and the discovery of an unusual ghost. Can this duo find the watch in time?
A Timeless Celebration has the unique setting of Fenwater, Canada. A small town with quaint shops, a local diner, friendly citizens and beautiful old stone century homes. Lois Stone is in her 50s and has been a widow for three years. She wants a fresh start and liked what Marge had to say about Fenwater. When Lois saw the advertisement for the house, she bought it immediately. Lois is a smart woman and brave to make such a big life change. I did find her aloof which balanced with Marge’s outgoing and friendly personality. When the watch goes missing, Lois is quick to step up and offer to help her friend. I was surprised that such a valuable artifact was kept in an unlocked desk in an unlocked office. Lois’ investigation has her making a list potential suspects with Marge’s assistance (people who were at the event) and then she starts asking questions. It gives Lois a chance to explore the town, meet people and find the thief. The culprit is easy to identify thanks to the pointed clues. I was disappointed that the theft was not completely resolved. There was still a big question looming at the end of the story. Lois can play the bagpipes, but she has not since her husband’s death. She gets involved with the local band which allows her to interact with suspects and readers to get learn all about bagpipes. A Timeless Celebration is a gently paced story with detailed descriptions. The story takes a interesting turn when Lois discovers an unusual ghost inhabits her home. This ghost helps keep Lois safe and aids in the solving the crime. Lois’ cats are adorable and good judges of characters. A Timeless Celebration is a laid-back cozy mystery set in a quaint small town and includes two cuddly felines, an unexpected apparition, a good friend, a century home, and timely theft.
A Timeless Celebration is available on Amazon (ebook--US, UK and print--US, UK). It is available on Kindle Unlimited as well. In honor of The Timeless Celebration Great Escapes Tour, there is a giveaway. You can enter here or use the Rafflecopter form below. I hope you will take the time to visit the other stops on the tour that have author interviews, recipes, spotlights, guest posts and giveaways (schedule below). Thank you for visiting today. I will return tomorrow to let you know about the latest book releases and share my review of In In Peppermint Peril by Joy Avon. I want to share some Christmas books with you before the season is over. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
She was enjoying the afternoon. It had turned out to be fun to get out and meet people, but she really wasn’t ready for anything more than friendship with a man. James was always there in her mind. The pain was lessening but it was nowhere near gone yet. It wasn’t time to think about a new relationship yet, despite Marge’s attempts at matchmaking. But she did have to agree with her friend: it had been a good idea to get out today.
As she stood, staring off into space, a hand gripped her upper arm. She jumped and turned to find Marge leaning close to her ear. “Lois, I don’t believe it!” “What?” “I can’t find it.” “What are you looking for?” “The watch.” “Your watch?” “No, the one from Isabella Morton,” Marge hissed. “Isn’t it on the desk where you left it before the speeches?” Marge shook her head. “Did it fall off? Maybe it’s under the desk.” “No, I’ve looked all around the office. There’s just the box where I left it on the desk.” “Want me to help you have another look?”
The two women crossed the room and walked the short distance to the end of the hallway. In the office, they searched the top of the desk, all the drawers in it and every other surface and shelf, but half an hour later there was still no sign of the watch. “Would one of the other staff have moved it somewhere for safekeeping?” Lois asked. “Nah, I’m responsible for it. No one would’ve touched it.” “You’re sure?” “Positive.”
“Then what’s happened to it?” Lois frowned. She couldn’t remember Marge locking the office when they left earlier. “Was the room unlocked all afternoon?”
“Yeah. People are honest around here. I never even thought of locking it.” Marge raked her hand through her hair, messing up the carefully hairsprayed coif. “Man, I’m in for it now. I’ll probably get the sack.”
The sound of heavy footsteps approaching the office made both women look toward the doorway. Dave Stewart poked his head through the door and grinned. “Everyone’s leaving and I’m locking up now. You ladies planning to stay here tonight?” Marge stared at him speechlessly.
“Everything alright?” Dave asked. When Marge still didn’t speak, Lois smiled at the man. “Yeah, we just lost track of time chatting here.” Dave laughed. “Well, everyone knows what Marge’s like when she gets going.” He looked at Marge again. “I think this is the quietest I’ve ever seen her. You sure you’re alright, Marge?” Marge gave Dave a weak smile. “Yeah, sure. We’ll get out of here. Don’t want to keep you from your supper. Are you barbecuing burgers tonight?”
“Yeah, every Saturday night during the summer. Nothing beats burgers in the backyard.”
The two women lifted their purses and silently followed Dave from the room. Marge stopped and locked the office door before they made their way to the front entrance where they left Dave. They still didn’t speak as they walked down the two flights of stairs and around to the parking lot behind the building.
“Oh dear, now what?” Marge looked dejected as she gazed at her friend. “If I can’t get that watch back, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I really like it at the museum. I don’t want to lose this job. And I won’t get another archivist’s job around here. I don’t want to commute to Toronto every day.” Lois gripped her friend’s forearm. “You’re not gonna lose this job. It has to turn up. It didn’t just walk out of there on its own.” “I know but—” “Can we get into the building tomorrow when no one will be around so we can have another look?”
“I don’t have a front door key. Just one for my office, which I’ve never used before today.” “Well, come around to my house and we’ll go over everything and see what we can remember about this afternoon. Maybe we’ll be able to figure out what’s happened to it. I’ll meet you back at the house.” “I can’t tonight. I’ve got to drive Mom over to her cousin’s in Georgetown for supper.” “Well, come around to my place in the morning then, when your mom’s at church.”
“Okay, thanks. I’m so glad you’re here.” Lois squeezed her friend’s arm again and gave her a determined smile. “Don’t worry. We’ll figure this out. Try to relax and enjoy the evening with your relatives. See you in the morning.”
The Avid Reader
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