Monday, April 2, 2018

Monday's Memorial Moment: Lessons in Chasing the Wild Goose by Charlie Cochrane

Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith like nothing more than being handed a mystery to solve. But why would anybody murder a man with no enemies? And was it murder in the first place?

Jonty and Orlando have been enjoying some down time but they are hungry for a case.  Their wish is granted but is it solvable when the dead man had no enemies? Is it even murder?  Have they finally found a case that stumps even their brilliant history of deduction?  Will the time before the dunderheads return be enough?

So many questions, so many possibilities, but would Jonty and Orlando really want it any other way? No.  Would we the readers expect anything less? No.  Well, good thing then because you won't be disappointed.  Once again Charlie Cochrane takes this lovely pair and puts them through their detecting paces and we're lucky enough to be along for the ride.  Would I have loved a full-length novel? Of course, I am a long read fiend but just because the tale is short in pages doesn't mean its short in awesomeness.

Lessons in Chasing the Wild Goose(great title BTW) gives us what we've come to know and expect from Jonty and Orlando's world: skullduggerry(because there is so much more to the case than what they are originally asked to investigate no other word would give it justice), humor, family(Livinia is doing her mother proud and Richard is even finding his father-in-law's shoes fitting quite well), friendship, and of course romance.  If you are looking for lots of heat between Jonty and Orlando, than you might be disappointed but just because its not burning up the pages doesn't mean the passion doesn't shine through.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  This duo is so dynamic and fun to read that I will always 1-click this series, whether the author writes only 1 more one-page coda or 100 full-length tales.  Jonty and Orlando have staying power.  Not all series can say that but Cambridge Fellows Mysteries can and I look forward to seeing them detecting, dithering over dunderheads, and dalliances for many years to come, be it new journeys or re-reading their old cases this is one mystery solving couple that will never get old even if we see them advance into their senior years.


Cambridge 1922
Autumn in England is lovely enough, a palette of red and orange hues painting the trees and bushes, but autumn in Cambridge is perfection. Especially in the last few weeks of freedom before the dunderheads appear. And autumn in the Fellows’ Garden of St. Bride’s college seemed to have reached perfection this year, with a profusion of ornamental shrubs and small flowers—which Orlando Coppersmith couldn’t quite put a name to—twinkling beneath the trees. What he could put a name to was the colour of the sky, although no artist would recognise the term “Jonty Stewart’s eyes blue”. Yet that was exactly the shade the heavens had adorned themselves in.

The colour of the sky had prompted his visit to the garden, en route home from taking part in some “frightfully important and totally incomprehensible mathematical stuff” as Jonty would have termed it. Why not spend a few minutes in a place which had played a significant role in his burgeoning relationship with Jonty, sixteen years previously? The fact that he could sit on a bench and rest his aching legs for a while wasn’t lost on him, either. Why on earth had he agreed to take part in a late season cricket match, especially one against a team of such notable batsmen? Even Jonty’s wily spin had been to little avail, although he’d not had to go haring after the ball to all corners of the field, having inveigled himself into a place in the slips where running would be at a minimum.

Still, Orlando wasn’t going to complain: that would be conduct unbecoming of a Professor of Applied Mathematics and, worse than that, Jonty would rib him for it. Jonty, whom Orlando realised with a jolt, was not fifty yards down the path and might well be heading in his direction. He quickly produced a set of papers from his briefcase and contrived an air of intense concentration.

“I wondered if I’d find you here.” Jonty’s voice sounded through the railings of the gate he was poised to open.

Orlando looked up, as though completely surprised. “Oh, hello. I was trying to find a moment’s peace.” He waved the papers.

“Sorry. Didn’t realise you were hard at work with your sums. I thought you might be sunbathing. Or resting your legs after the cricket.” Jonty, having closed the gate carefully behind him, plonked his backside two feet along the bench.

“Why exactly did you think I might be here?” Orlando asked, neatly sidestepping the aching legs issue.

“You were seen by Swann, that rather nice new porter. Limping along—you, not him, and his words, not mine—in this general direction. I deduced,” Jonty grinned at the word, “that you’d not make it all the way home so would likely seek a few minutes of repose. And what nicer place could a man find to repose in than this?”

“That last point is indisputable,” Orlando conceded. “Although I’ll take issue with ‘limping’. I merely had a stone in my shoe at the time and had to find a suitable place in which to remove it. I have killed two birds with the proverbial stone.” He brandished the papers again, having realised he’d contradicted his earlier statement.

“You’re not very good at telling fibs, so I don’t know why you bother.” Jonty gazed up at the sky. “What a beautiful day. God’s in a very blue heaven and all is right with the world. Have you had a good morning?”

“Excellent, thank you.” Orlando slipped the papers back into his briefcase—what was the use of pretence? “You?”

“Pretty good. All set for the arrival of the dreaded dunderheads. I see the college staff are fumigating the rooms and nailing down anything pawnable in preparation.” Jonty narrowed his eyes then sighed. “All we need now is a case. I think I’ve sufficiently recovered from the last one.”

“I’m not sure I’ll ever recover.” Orlando rolled his eyes. Being asked to defend one’s deadliest enemy on a charge of murder, and in circumstances where on first impressions he appeared to be as guilty as sin, would have tried the patience of any man.

⌛📘⌛#9-12 in process of changing publishers⌛📘⌛


Author Bio:
As Charlie Cochrane couldn't be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice - like managing a rugby team - she writes. Her favourite genre is gay fiction, predominantly historical romances/mysteries, but she's making an increasing number of forays into the modern day. She's even been known to write about gay werewolves - albeit highly respectable ones.

Her Cambridge Fellows series of Edwardian romantic mysteries were instrumental in seeing her named Speak Its Name Author of the Year 2009. She’s a member of both the Romantic Novelists’ Association and International Thriller Writers Inc.

Happily married, with a house full of daughters, Charlie tries to juggle writing with the rest of a busy life. She loves reading, theatre, good food and watching sport. Her ideal day would be a morning walking along a beach, an afternoon spent watching rugby and a church service in the evening.


Lessons in Chasing the Wild Goose #12.6


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