Canadian Author

Mary Spilsbury Ross

Current Novel

No Intermission

Sometimes, following your dreams dances you straight into the arms of intrigue, wonder and danger. 19-yr-old aspiring ballerina Margaret Alice Dinsdale, from the Pacific Northwest’s sleepy North Oyster, long envisioned dancing with the Royal Ballet in post-WWII London. Her dream crushed, Maggie leaps headlong into life as a showgirl with edgy Les Ballets Jazz Europa, strutting across Europe’s nightclubs, cabarets and bombed-out opera houses. Backstage, she’s hanging out with The Rolling Stones and other 1960s celebrities. The troupe travels to Egypt where Maggie dances for President Nasser and the King of Jordan and, on a dare, climbs the Great Pyramid of Cheops. Why do Nazi-looted Degas, van Gogh and Picasso masterpieces keep disappearing from museum walls and private art collections wherever the ballet performs? As the mystery unfolds, Maggie is confronted with wartime devastation, anti-Semitism, art smuggling and unimaginable poverty, yet tells her story with unbridled humour and grace.

No Intermission, inspired by the author’s travels and love of art, will dance its way into your heart and leave you longing for more.

“The majestic sky changes from a pinkish blue to a gentle orange, as the artist’s brush dissolves it into purple.  Suddenly silent, they listen to the lonely melody of the desert; the echoes of the Arab world. “We go now,” Abdul is watching the darkening sky and points to the headlights of a taxi still far off to the east…I’ll remember this moment as long as I live.” And Maggie, taking one last look, vanishes over the edge.” 

The Author

Mary Spilsbury Ross’ life is a gala of dance, travel, art, and the written word. A graduate of the University of British Columbia (BA’63) No Intermission is her first historical mystery novel.  During the 1960s she danced professionally through eleven countries in Europe and the Middle East before returning to Canada where she taught ballet, modern jazz dance and turned to writing. Her first publication, an international cookbook Frugal Feasts became an instant bestseller and led to a newspaper column that she penned for five years. No Intermission was inspired by her theatrical career, the love of fine art, and years of family travel.  Mary Spilsbury Ross lives on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia.

Sign up for updates from the author, as well as to be notified of upcoming releases or opportunities to be an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) reviewer.

Reader Reviews

Very interesting read.

It started a little slow and awkward for me, but it quickly became very interesting. Lots of memories as I was in a similar situation around the same time period. Worth reading.

– sharronH

No Intermission by Mary Spilsbury Ross

Another great book by Mary Spilsbury Ross. The Historical inserts certainly added to the context of the story. Im pleased Mary is writing about dancers and their lives . It gives the general public a chance to see some of the culture of being a dancer.

– Bev Blundell

Mary spilsbury ross is one amazing woman

I’m not much of a reader but this book kept me interested the entire time i was reading it, i really hope Mary writes another one.

– jason jones


The author’s writing is so fluid and keeps me hooked throughout. The story is spectacular and has so much history within. Loved it! Highly recommend

– Alex Russell

Give this to your kids!

I heard this author on Vicki Gabereau’s CBC radio show a few years ago and bought it. I then bought 3 for my twenty-something children and then gave it to all the young people on my Christmas list. It’s quite fantastic in that it shows you how to make great simple international dishes using a simple list of ingredients and basic kitchen tools. Economical, quick recipes with great spice information. As for the comments by one reviewer regarding the review from Moscow….the author describes in the book how she learned to cook (often backstage with little resources) while touring with a dance company all over Europe…. I imagine Ross has created a “bible” for others living the simple life in any country who are grateful to have this terrific cookbook!

  – Diane Farris

A great chronicle of a time long gone

A delightful read – down to earth and not at all pseudo and pretentious like so many theatre reminiscences – A great chronicle of a time long gone and it grabbed my attention from page one.

 – Louche Ladies Book Club

Previous Works

Frugal Feasts

101 Quick and Easy Single-Serving Meals From Around The World

Culinary globetrotting for one? Welcome to award-winning, best-selling Frugal Feasts. Mary Spilsbury Ross has compiled 101 recipes from her travels to serve you a comprehensive cookbook that caters to singles. No more need to half recipes, she’s got you. Cooking for more than one? Double it up—bon appetit.

From Japan’s savoury Torimaki Omelet with Ginger Chicken to Italy’s sensational Salsa di Noci (pasta with walnuts), Ethiopia’s Doro Wat Chicken Berbere to the Czech Republic’s Syr Smazeny (Crispy cheese cutlets), Frugal Feasts has your taste buds covered. What’s more, each recipe is easy, quick (less than 20 minutes) and cheap.

Designed to guide the beginner, Frugal Feasts has tips, metric conversions and a foolproof list of DIY French, Greek, Iranian spice mixes, to name but a few. This is a must-have cookbook for singles, students, and anyone with an appetite for rich flavours and new adventures in taste.


Cucina Povera

Cooking in a Medieval Village

The close-knit quarter of Pianello, in Italy’s ancient village of Montalcino, was desperate to restore their 17thCentury church of San Pietro and its famous altar painting, Glorification of the Eucharist (aka Sputnik in Paradise). The area’s pro-active inhabitants initiated this English cookbook to raise funds for the restoration of both the church and the painting. Family recipes from locals and friends from around the world contributed to this mouth-watering enterprise. Mary Spilsbury Ross was a contributor. Cucina Povera was an outstanding success. San Pietro and the sputnik painting were restored, and Montalcino remains one of the most popular tourist towns in Tuscany, home of Brunello wine.

Mary’s recipes include ‘Meringue Alla Maria Taglione “Tutu” with Honey Cream’, ‘Green Bean and Pecorino Salad with Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette’, ‘Quail with Honey, Balsamic and Rosemary Potatoes’.

In My Library


Books are my passion, my relaxation and inspiration.

A warm fire, soft background music, my Jack Russell snoozing in my lap and life is good.

One of my favourite novels of all time is Michael Ondaatje’s 1992 THE ENGLISH PATIENT. Admittedly the first time I read it I didn’t understand the plot, nor the characters and was totally confused, but,  just swooned over the language, lyrical, melodic almost poetic.  After Michael Ondaatje won the Booker Prize, I read it all over again, all 300 pages and was forever captivated.

“Moments before sleep are when she feels most alive, leaping across fragments of the day, bringing each moment into bed with her like a child with schoolbooks and pencils”

Maybe it is my age, but, I seem to be drawn to novels about WWII and the devastation of war, intrigue, spies and deception. Kate Atkinson’s historic fiction TRANSCRIPTION published in 2018 by Little, Brown & Company is wonderfully clever, full of intrigue and sparkles with British humour.

“Juliet was waiting to be seduced by him. By anyone really, but preferable him. It was turning into a long wait.”

I love books that make the reader want to laugh and cry at the same time.  One of the best tragicomedies has got to be OLD FILTH (Failed in London Try Hong Kong) by Jane Gardam written in  2006 as part of a trilogy It is a masterpiece of sharp, eccentric humour based in part on the early life of Rudyard Kipling a child of the Raj.

“Present us with a silver cup for something when you’re a filthy rich lawyer, I dare say? Yes. You’ll be a lawyer. Magnificent memory. Sense of logic, no imagination and no brains.”

Mary Spilsbury Ross’ newest release is available at:



Media Requests