In the innocent pre-war days, an invitation to stay at the stately country home of a family friend means a new case for amateur sleuths Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith. In fact, with two apparently unrelated suicides to investigate there, a double chase is on.
But things never run smoothly for the Cambridge fellows. In an era when their love dare not speak its name, the risk of discovery and disgrace is ever present. How, for example, does one explain oneself when discovered by a servant during a midnight run along the corridor?
Things get even rougher for Orlando when the case brings back memories of his father’s suicide and the search for the identity of his grandfather. Worse, when they work out who the murderer is, they are confronted with one of the most difficult moral decisions they’ve ever had to make.
Grab your copy of Lessons For Suspicious Minds now from Riptide Publishing!
Tams 3 star review...
Apparently Jonty and Orlando can’t even go on Holiday without bodies starting to pile up. While staying with a family friend, two people commit suicide, or do they? The case not only piques their interest, but brings back long buried emotions in relation to Orlando’s own father’s suicide. While Jonty and Orlando investigate the deaths they also try to find some alone time together and deal with their individual personal demons.
When you live in an era where your sexuality could leave you disgraced, or worse, institutionalized or even put to death, secrecy is of the utmost importance. But as someone once said, the maids know everything!
There was a little bit of a requirement to suspend your belief in reality in this story and that threw me, as there hasn’t been anything like that in previous books. There was this repetitiveness as well that I hadn’t notice before, the term ‘his lover’ was definitely worn out about midway through. And the story drug in a few places for me, but picked back up right about the time I was ready to set the book down.
I do continue to love the character development between Jonty and Orlando. I can’t even imagine having to hide your true nature to the extent they have to go to. Their interactions and constant growth really made reading the book worthwhile. And didn’t you just love Jonty’s parents? Oh, the wording is very accurate to the era and class of people, the phrasing used and tone of voice you can associate with the writing.
Overall, this was just an okay read for me. Fans of Jonty and Orlando will definitely want to see what shenanigans these two are up to now. If you like historical romance, I think this is a safe bet.
Guest post with Author Charlie Cochran
Authors get inspired by all sorts of things. A favourite actor, an overheard conversation, and interaction seen in a car park that makes you think, “I wonder what’s going on there?” Places can be inspirational, too, especially if you’re a writer (like me) who sees scenes in their head, almost like a film playing through. I like to have a clear mental image of where my heroes are – although this sometimes drives my editors to distraction. I can envisage the locations so clearly I forget to include the details of them in the manuscript. I get my knuckles rapped and have to edit them in like mad!
I have three places in particular which have really got my writing juices going. The first is Cambridge, where I was university and – as a little cockney girl from a not very well off family – I seemed to spend an awful lot of time just going round with my mouth wide open in a state of “How can I actually be studying here?” gobsmackery. A place like that stays with you forever, providing an atmospheric and instantly recognisable location. That element of worldwide place recognition makes life easier for the author, as it’s likely that the reader will have a general mental image of Cambridge to slip the characters into. So when I decided to write a series of books about two gay Edwardian amateur sleuths, I had to make them dons at the university.
The second place is Jersey (old, not New), which inspired the second in the series of Cambridge Fellows books and is nudging me to finish a contemporary WIP. (Its nudging isn’t very efficient, as four years later this is still a WIP). For a small island, just five miles by nine, it has a huge range of locations. Stunning clifftop walks, headlands, long sandy beaches, little coves, lush valleys and dramatic headlands. And everywhere lush flowers and lovely local granite buildings. Who couldn’t experience these things and not want to put their heroes/heroines there, feeling the sand between their toes or having the exhilaration of turning the corner of a cliff path and finding a chine cut by a tinkling stream? It may not have the familiarity of Cambridge for the reader, but every time I post pictures of the place on my blog, people are enchanted.
The third place is that part of the Thames either side of Maidenhead, particularly Monkey Island and Cliveden, both of which I’ve been privileged to visit, eat at and – in the case of Cliveden – stay. There’s a magic about both of them, partly to do with the opulence (and eccentricity!) of the surroundings and partly in the connection with the past, a world of “upstairs downstairs”, bells to call servants and gentleman in suits and ladies in long dresses pleasure cruising along the Thames. Talking of those bells, the ones at Cliveden gave birth to a particular plot twist, from which all the story of Lessons for Suspicious Minds sprung. Both these locations feature in the book, although Cliveden is heavily disguised. Monkey Island appears as its wonderfully peculiar self.
As Charlie Cochrane couldn't be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.
Charlie's Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.
Connect with Charlie:
·Facebook profile page: facebook.com/charlie.cochrane.18
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a title from Charlie Cochrane's backlist (excluding Lessons for Survivors.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 25. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don't forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!