Charlie Cochrane’s Cambridge Fellows Mysteries always rank high on my Rec Lists. Cochrane’s writing is delightful and concise, her narrative perfect for the times along with their conversations and her characters, all of them, including Jonty, Orlando, and so many others are so well rounded and endearing that you mark every minute you are with them as time well spent. The author can make you laugh, pull you into history and make you weep with despair. But don’t take my word for it, pick up the series and make your acquaintance with Orlando and Jonty!
Charlie Cochrane Interviews Jonty with Memorable Results!
Do you have a nickname?
Not a nickname as such but Orlando seems to find no end of names to call me. “Idiot” is one of his more affectionate ones.
What do you wear when you go to bed?
Silk pyjamas, of course. Doesn’t everybody?
Where do you live?
Orlando and I share an updated Tudor cottage on the Madingley Road, in Edwardian Cambridge. It’s tidy without being austere and homely without being over fussy. He says my study is a mess, but I’d say his resembles a monk’s cell!
What is your most prized everyday possession?
It’s a little toffee tin I keep doodahs in. It was one of the first presents Orlando bought me and, while the toffees are long gone, the tin is there to remind me of our early days together.
What’s your date of birth?
Must a gentleman reveal that? Let’s say Queen Victoria was still on the throne.
What’s your first memory?
My sister Lavinia taking me for a walk and collecting horse chestnuts. Then Papa teaching me how to play conkers.
What did you like best at school?
Rugby. Beating the living daylights out of each other in the cause of sport.
What is your favourite memory from teenage days?
Discovering Shakespeare and realising I’d found my metier in life, learning about him and his plays.
What’s your profession?
I’m a college don, at St. Bride’s in Cambridge, specialising in Tudor Literature. I have to admit I have a reasonable private income, inherited from my maternal grandmother, so I don’t need to work, but I’d go dotty if I didn’t! Have to exercise the brain cells somehow. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I enjoy sleuthing so much, as well.
What are the rest of the people at St Bride’s like?
My fellow “fellows” at St. Bride’s are fairly typical of their breed. Red hot on their subjects but maybe a bit out of touch with reality. (Much as Orlando was before I came along, accidentally sat in his chair and turned his world upside down.) Dr. Panesar is my favourite of the rest. Completely loopy, totally brilliant and has a heart of gold.
What’s your favourite play?
“Twelfth Night”. What was going on in Shakespeare’s mind when he wrote that? And “As You Like It”, of course, especially with a hero called Orlando.
What would be the perfect gift for you?
Oh, I have no idea. Something I didn’t realise I wanted or needed until I was given it?
What kind of weather do you most enjoy?
The sort of clear, sunny day you only get in an English spring or autumn, when the sky is a perfect blue.
What is your favourite drink?
White wine. Or a really good cup of tea.
What’s your favourite animal? Why?
It’s a glyptodont. More specifically the one in the Natural History Museum. My parents used to take me there as a child and I was fascinated by him. I told him all my problems. (Now I have my very own fossilised, crabby, armoured animal to listen to my worries. Orlando.)
Do you have any pets? Do you want any pets?
No and no. Orlando’s jealous enough of the car. If I lavished attention on a dog or cat he’d be unbearable.
What habit that others have annoys you most?
Orlando when he’s over thinking things. Especially when he’s thinking madly about something during a moment of high passion. In the dunderheads (by which I mean students) it’s when they’ve not completed their work on time or to the best of their ability.
What kind of things embarrass you?
People spouting off about things they don’t understand, especially people who spout Old Testament law and pretend that’s Christianity. Hypocrisy in general.
If you could change the way you looked, how would you be then?
No different to how I am now. Although I wouldn’t mind being a couple of inches taller.
Who was the first person you had sex with?
A fellow student called Richard Marsters, when I was nineteen. It was nice, although I don’t think he loved me as I loved him. I suspect I was just another of his good causes he’d taken pity on.
What is your deepest, most well-hidden sexual fantasy?
A gentleman would never reveal that. And anyway, Mama might read this and she’d be appalled.
About Lessons for Suspicious Minds
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.
About the Author
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! Must be 18 years of age or older. Prizes provided by the author and Riptide Publishing.