Meet the Women of the WISE Enquiries Agency by Cathy Ace

The Case of the Dotty DowagerDuring her journey on the number 19 bus from Finsbury Park to Sloane Square, Mavis MacDonald had a lengthy, silent chat with herself about how she enjoyed the company of her three colleagues, but that she was under no illusions about the fact that the WISE Enquiries Agency was facing a challenging time. She was well aware they needed A Serious Chat about their future, and, by the time she alighted at her bus stop, she’d decided that this would be the day for that discussion.

On this particular morning, the stairs from the street to the office were also proving to be a challenge, and Mavis felt all of her sixty-odd years as she tried to maintain a steady pace upward. She told herself she was thankful that Christine Wilson-Smythe’s father, the viscount, had been allowing them to use the office space for almost nothing, but the income just wasn’t, well. . .coming in. She then told herself that was understandable, because Annie Parker had been laid up for some time after being stabbed while in pursuit of a vicious kidnapper a few months back, and Carol Hill – the woman whose computer skills were quite amazing – was happily pregnant.

Mavis smiled as she recollected Carol’s delight when she’d told them all about the baby – Carol and her husband had been trying for so long, and it seemed that their doctor had been right after all; Carol had given up her stressful, high-powered job in the City to join the team and had fallen pregnant within the year. “Good for you, Carol,” thought Mavis as she approached the door to the office. Having two grown sons and now two grandsons herself, she knew how fulfilling family life could be, though she still mourned the loss of her poor, dear husband.

Before she opened the door, Mavis drew herself up to her full five feet and straightened her serviceable navy blue gabardine. It wouldn’t do for the girls – which was how she thought of them, even though Annie was in her fifties and given to the odd bout of unenviable perspiration – to see her looking anything less than her best. Her decades as an army nurse had taught her that appearance matters; to be taken seriously, first one has to take oneself seriously. She was pretty sure there must be an old Scottish saying along those lines, but she couldn’t recall it at that moment.

She hoped there’d be a pot of tea ready, and was pretty confident that both Carol and Annie would already be at their desks. As for Christine? It was difficult to berate her for her lack of punctuality because she was a delightful wee girl. Ah, to be beautiful, rich, titled and in your twenties. . .Mavis envied her, but she was such a bright, happy, and thoughtful person, she just couldn’t find it in herself to be cross with her. Annie Parker on the other hand – now she was a real handful. Like Pooh’s friend Tigger, that was Annie – always bounding about the place, and tripping over her own feet on many an occasion. But also a good woman, at heart. Sharp tongue on her though, and always running off with that cockney rhyming slang nonsense. Mavis tried to keep her under control, but she just wouldn’t be silenced sometimes. No discipline.

Carol was a delight. Pure and simple, a country girl originally, Mavis had warmed to her the day they’d met. Mavis had known a lot of Welsh men and women in the armed forces, and had always been aware of their often-intense intelligence and quick wits – plus their ability to sing or fight at the drop of a hat. Carol was like that, though much more likely to sing than fight, thought Mavis. But with a wee bairn on the way, she might be off and leaving them before they knew it. Then where would they be?

Sighing heavily, Mavis opened the door, ready to face the day. There was Carol, her head bent over her computer, twirling one of her short blonde curls with a finger, and Annie’s tall, angular frame was jerking about on her chair as she battled with the running shoes she wore for her tube journey every morning. No sign of Christine. Not a surprise; she was probably trying to park her Range Rover somewhere. Mavis hooked her practical, short-bobbed hair behind her ears, then unbelted her coat, placing it carefully on a hanger.

The day had begun. She wondered what it would hold for the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency.

You can read more about Mavis and her friends in The Case of the Dotty Dowager, the first book in the NEW “WISE Enquiries Agency” mystery series, published by Severn House Publishers.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on July 3 for the chance to win a signed copy of The Case of the Dotty Dowager. The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Born and raised in Swansea, South Wales, Cathy Ace is the author of the Cait Morgan Mysteries. Her new series is The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries – featuring four female professional investigators, one of whom is Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish and one English (hence the acronym). They tackle quirky British cases from their base at a Welsh stately home – the ancient seat of the Twyst family, the Dukes of Chellingworth, set in the rolling countryside of the Wye Valley in Powys, Wales. Cathy now lives in Beautiful British Columbia, where her ever-supportive husband and two chocolate Labradors make sure she’s able to work full-time as an author, and enjoy her other passion – gardening.

Visit Cathy at, on Facebook and on Twitter


  1. I love, love, love Cozies set in Britain. This one sounds appealing. I like that it has different age characters who will solve together.

    • So pleased you like British cozies, Pamela. You’re right – the characters range in age from late-twenties to mid-sixties, and are a mix of single, widowed and married too. They bring their life experiences to their cases – and their cases will change their lives! Hope you enjoy meeting the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency 🙂

  2. Clever title 🙂 I love classic Brit-style mysteries with contemporary settings. It’s also a great idea to have a mixed age group as main characters. Navy gabardine is always a classic.

    • Thanks Maureen 🙂 Yep – you cannot beat navy gabardine…as Mavis, being a canny Scot, well knows. I hope you enjoy meeting the WISE Women!

  3. I would love to find out more about the 4 women of the Wise Enquiries Agency. They sound like a nice mix of interesting characters. And I always enjoy a good British crime book. Thx for the giveaway opportunity.

    • Thanks for your kind comments, Cozynookbks. I hope you get to meet them “face to face” one day soon. 🙂

  4. What a combination of women. Sounds like fun! Will definitely add this title to my book list!

  5. I’m a dyed in the wool Anglofile. I need another trip across the pond. This book sounds like a great way to do that.

  6. After living in Britain and missing it so much , I love reading books set there. This sounds great, would love to read this

    • Thanks Debbie – this one gets you into three parts of the UK, so good coverage from one spot 🙂

    • Hi Deb – a lover of Agatha is clearly blessed with excellent taste – hope you get to visit Britain with this book 🙂

    • Thanks Kathy – I love all those PBS series too, and I’m sure you’ll be able to picture the stately home in the book 🙂

  7. I’ve been lucky enough to read this book and it is delightful–great characters, interesting setting, and a complex and intriguing plot with a twist I never saw coming. Well worth the read!

    • Thanks for dropping by, Sheila…I was so happy you liked the book, and will always be grateful for your kind words. A super recommendation from a super author 🙂

  8. This sounds like a great read. Already had it on my TBR list, not knowing the premise. I was going just by the great title. Thanks for the opportunity!

  9. Interesting plot and I love the characters. Thanks for entering me for a chance to win the book.

    • guess I read that wrong – this must be the first book. Love that it’s set in another country. The lilt of the words is wonderful.
      thanks again

      • Hi marylouh – yes, this is the first in a new series, set in Wales. (My Cait morgan Mysteries are set in different places around the world.) 🙂

  10. Great title! This book sounds fascinating~ real page-turner! thank you for the chance to win a copy!

  11. This new series sounds incredible. Can’t say enough good about British based cozy novels. Thank you for the chance to win this great book.

    • So pleased you like the sound of it, and that British cozies appeal to you – good luck 🙂

    • Thanks Robin – yes, Dru’s site is a great way fro readers to find out about new series 🙂

  12. Sounds like a real interesting whodunit! I’m definitely putting this series on my TBR list.

    • Thanks for putting it on your TBR pile, Mary Jane H – that’s a great place for an author to see their work 🙂

  13. I really like how this new series is starting off. I am just now starting to read her other series and can’t wait to get the books thru my library.

    • Thanks for commenting here, Doward – hope you enjoy the Cait Morgan Mysteries, and then the WISE Enquiries Agency ones….which are a bit different in that these ladies don’t sleuth – they enquire!! 😉

  14. I always enjoy a cozy mystery that is set in another country because I know that I will learn about a new culture or update my knowledge about an old favorite (England and Wales). Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Thanks Libby – it’s such fun to have the chance to write these special little pieces for Dru Ann’s blog. Each time I enjoy thinking “What happened before this book started….” So pleased you like it 🙂

  15. This mystery interests me greatly since I am Canadian, love B.C. and enjoyed learning about your books and your life. Best wishes.

    • Thanks Sharon – wishing you a happy Canada Day for next week (July 1st is also the launch date for this book!) 🙂

  16. These sound like great characters and a fun new series! Thanks so much for the chance to win!

  17. Sounds like this will be an interesting series with a little bit different cast of characters.

  18. Loved the write up. Sounds like something I’d like to read. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

  19. This series reminds me a bit of the Alexander McCall Smith books The #1 Ladies Detective Agency. Looking forward to reading it.

    • Thanks Cynthia….one reviewer said those who like Alexander McCall Smith and MC Beaton will likely enjoy this! WOOT! 🙂

  20. Loved what I read so far and really want to read the rest 😉 Thanks for the chance to win !!!

    • Oh Lisa – you’ll have to read the book to find out 😉 A cuppa sounds like a good idea.

  21. The book sounds fantastic.
    I know the route from Finsbury park to Sloane square well
    As I did live near Finsbury park before we emigrated to Canada in the Sixties.
    I am looking forward to reading it
    Judy in Chatham, ontario

    • Isn’t it a small world, Judy! I bet you sat on the number 19 bus quite a bit then! me too 🙂 Hope it brings back a few happy memories

  22. This sounds great – set in my favorite place and with women of all ages. I’ll be sure to read even if I don’t win!

  23. This certainly sounds like an intriguing new series!! Hope I get lucky and win a copy!!

  24. First of all I love older characters and then if it has an English sound to it and tea…I can’t resist. Sounds wonderful. Thanks for the chance.

    • Thanks Marilyn – I am delighted you like the older characters….so do I 😉 Tea, too.

  25. Sounds like a great story. I love the book cover. English mysteries are my favorite. 😉

  26. Cathy…you had me at “alighted”. Great intro, characters, and to top it off…set in Wales. Thanks for the generous opportunity to win a copy.

  27. Cathy…you had me at “alight.” Great intro, character set-up…and to top it off, set it Wales. Looking forward to reading this. Thanks for the generous opportunity to win a copy.

    Best, Dina

    • Hey jagjhd – that’s great news….she’s in the title, but you’ll have to picture her for yourself 😉

    • Thanks suekey12 – the first in a series is always challenge….how much backstory vs how much THIS case….I hope I got the balance right! 🙂

    • I am totally on the side of all dotty dowagers, Veronica. I wonder if you’ll see anything of yourself in Althea Twyst 😉

    • Thanks for having me, and the four women of the WISE Enquiries Agency, along, Dru Ann – and thanks to everyone who left a comment. Even if you don’t win the free copy of the book, I hope you consider reading it….your own copy, or via your local library (if you’re lucky enough to have one!). If you choose to follow my Facebook page you’ll get a glimpse of the cover of the second book in the series too:

Comments are closed.