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Hour is Come (A Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery, #0.5) by Victoria Tait

A tantalizing beginning for the new Dotty Sayers Mystery series! 

When Captain Alasdair Sayers was killed while on a peacekeeping tour in Africa, he left behind a young wife, Dorothy (known as Dotty to all), and two children he’d shared with his former spouse, Angela. The regimental benefits provided Dotty a place to live at the camp and a small annual income; however, the amount earmarked for the children didn’t even cover their school fees, and Angela was beside herself. 

Although Angela had left Alasdair for another man, she was bitter that Alasdair, after her desertion, had risen to the officers’ ranks and re-married. She and Dotty had never been friends, but their relationship had never been acrimonious, and she appeals to the younger woman’s naivety and tender emotions for money. She bulldozes Dotty into placing some of Alasdair’s antique furniture for sale in an upcoming auction nearby. 

After the auction house men removed the pieces selected for the sale, Dotty realized she’d not completely emptied Alasdair’s bureau and went to the auction location to retrieve the contents. But as she removed one of the bureau drawers, she was thrown off balance and accidentally bumped into a large grandfather clock, and out fell a dead body. 

Hour is Come, a generously sized prequel to author Victoria Tait’s Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series, is fast-paced and really fills out the background for Dotty and her family and friends. This is not a historical mystery; Dotty is not THE Dorothy Sayers; she’s a namesake via her marriage to the deceased Captain Sayers. 

Frankly, Dotty surprised me. She’s meek, timid, and achingly reserved. She is putty in the hands of Angela, the more worldly, bold, and grasping ex-wife. However, as Dotty’s backstory is revealed, I could easily see how she’d developed into her current condition. She came from a sheltered girlhood home straight into a “father-approved” marriage with an older, set in his ways, rigid army captain, not to mention the shock of becoming a widow at age 28. I almost cheered at the mention of her purchasing the china cups from Akemans Antiques Centre, something her deceased spouse would never have allowed her. Baby steps. I’m glad that as the story progressed, she continued to test her wings, desires, and judgment. 

Dotty’s world is initially populated by kind Army wives and regimental staff who also display the tendencies to protect, guide, and try to make decisions for the young woman. She abruptly expands her circle of acquaintances through her unplanned involvement with the antique dealers, including members of the local constabulary. I most enjoyed her burgeoning friendship with the “hot mess” known as Constable Keya Varma and anticipate more adventures between the two. 

The Cirencester-area setting was terrific. The author gives us enough detail to picture where the action takes place without bogging down the story with exposition. It felt comfortable, and the descriptions of the lovely scenery, bustling markets, quaint shops, and snippets of its long and storied history were tantalizing; just the place to visit next time you travel. 

But speaking of tantalizing, Hour is Come is precisely that. After reading it, I was absolutely sold on continuing this series, ready to begin book one, Fake Death. However, the prequel is only available through the author to subscribers to her free e-newsletter, so sign up and get your download. I recommend HOUR IS COME to cozy mystery readers who enjoy female protagonists, sleuths with superior baking skills, settings in the Cotswolds, and antiques. 

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author.

*As of April 13, 2022, HOUR IS COME is available FREE on Bookfunnel here.

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