Book Review (and a Giveaway!): The Snow Job by Dianne Ascroft

Posted February 29, 2024 by meezcarrie in Book Review, clean, contemporary, cozy mystery, Dianne Ascroft, giveaway, mystery/suspense / 15 Comments


The Snow Job book review

The Snow Job by Dianne AscroftTHE SNOW JOB by Dianne Ascroft
SERIES:
Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries #3

GENRE: Cozy Mystery (Clean)
PUBLISHER: Independently Published
RELEASE DATE: December 13, 2023
PAGES: 307

A Scottish shindig, a pretty pin, a cold corpse. When a well-liked and respected townsman is murdered on a snowy street in Fenwater, it’s up to Lois Stone to sift through a multitude of motives to find the killer.

Middle-aged widow Lois is beginning to feel part of the Fenwater community, and as winter sets in, she is getting ready for the town’s biggest Scottish event, the annual Burns Night supper. But when one of the committee members dies in suspicious circumstances, Lois has more to worry about than the fate of this year’s celebration. She tried unsuccessfully to revive the man and her friend Marge worked with him. So, they want to find his killer even though Lois promised her partner Bruce that she would stay out of police matters. But, what’s the harm in asking a few questions? Such as does someone want to safeguard their inheritance or give their business a boost? Will finding the motive for the murder lead them to the killer or maybe more?

And so begins a fortnight of slippery sidewalks, angst about ancestors, capable firemen and cunning firebugs, unreliable records, swirling Scottish music and swinging tartan kilts, calico cats and smouldering spooks set against the backdrop of snow glistening under streetlamps on serene streets, the comfort of ritual in a cold churchyard, the swish of skate blades in crisp night air and the tang of mouthwatering meatloaf in rural Canada in 1984.

The Century Cottage Mystery series is mainly set in rural Ontario, Canada during the early 1980s.

A tale for fans of Cindy Bell, Leighann Dobbs, Dianne Harman and Kathi Daley.

 


The Snow Job is my first read of the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries by Dianne Ascroft, but I was drawn to the setting – a small town with Scottish heritage in rural Ontario in winter – and decided to give it a try. While this can be read as a standalone, I think I would have benefited from reading the previous books first. As it is, I struggled a bit to get invested at the beginning of The Snow Job but all it took to catch me up was reading the sample of book one – A Timeless Celebration – on Amazon. This gave me a better sense of the main cast’s ages, jobs, and relationships to one another and a better feel for the town of Fenwater and its dynamics. Once I had that in hand and felt oriented to the series, I quickly came to like Lois, her boyfriend Bruce, her BFF Marge, her cats, her quaint cottage, the resident ghost goat (yes you read that correctly) and other supporting characters in her purview.

The mystery is intriguing, from the discovery of the body to the various layers that are uncovered as the story progresses. I appreciated the instinct and most-of-the-time-cautious sense (lol) that the author gave to Lois and Marge in their investigating, and the easy camaraderie they have. They sort-of have a Lucy and Ethel vibe going on between them, though not quite as comedic or extreme, and that made them fun to follow through the pages. While I suspected the correct culprit early on, I didn’t know the ‘why’ and I did not expect the reveal to go the way it did. Which means I stayed invested in watching them figure things out to the end, not to mention wanting to know what would happen with Lois’ heritage status application for her home and learning about her own ancestral roots.

Bottom Line: The Snow Job by Dianne Ascroft is an easygoing cozy mystery that combines several engaging elements, including Scottish celebrations that this American enjoyed learning about. I appreciated the town dynamics and variety of supporting characters, including a Dutch neighbor (whom I adored) and a Mennonite waitress, and I thought the characters were likable and the sleuthing was well-plotted. My favorite part of the book is the personalities that the author gave the pets in this story – as well as Lois’s resident goat ghost – and the role they played in the mystery from start to finish. While the book got off to a slow start for me and occasionally lagged in the pacing, overall I enjoyed my first visit to Fenwater and this series.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 3.5 stars / liked it!

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Dianne Ascroft

Dianne Ascroft writes the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries, set in rural Canada, and The Yankee Years historical sagas, set in WWII Northern Ireland. She has a passion for Ireland and Canada, past and present. An ex-pat Canadian, Dianne lives on a small farm with her husband and an assortment of strong-willed animals.

Her previous fiction works include 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 endeavor. Connect with Dianne at her website.


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15 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): The Snow Job by Dianne Ascroft

  1. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for your review on THE SNOW JOB by Dianne Ascroft and for being part of the blog tour.

    Sounds like a wonderful story and one I would love the opportunity to read. Cute cover!

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