Rating: 5 stars out of 5
St Bride’s College is buzzing with excitement at the prospect of reviving the traditional celebration of the saint’s day. When events get marred by murder it’s natural that Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith will get called in to help the police with their inside knowledge. But why has somebody been crawling about on the chapel roof and who’s obsessed with searching in the library out of hours?
Yes! The mystery is afoot to borrow another sleuth’s phrase in the latest Cambridge Fellows mystery by Charlie Cochrane. The author is not following along a specific timeline for her stories, happily for us who follow this series, so here some of our favorite characters like Jonty’s parents can still be seen taking part in solving this quite puzzling affair. What a joy as I love them so.
In Lessons in Cracking the Deadly Code, St. Bride’s is looking to reestablish many of its older traditions for Saint’s Day, and it has called upon it faculty and staff for assistance. That includes the mystery of who killed one of its students, and cause behind his death. Once again it’s Jonty and Orlando on the job. Orlando especially who was feeling maybe out of sorts, and needing a mystery to solve, got several handed to him.
Because as we all know, nothing is simple in a Cambridge Fellows mystery. There are layers, and complications, and a knotted path to follow to the end. A marvelous journey done in companable conversation, affectionate glances, witty phrases (with the occasional snark thrown in), hewn through years of partnership and love that the author has crafted so carefully and genuinely. I know these men because I have been through so much with them with this series that coming into this stories feel like visiting with old friends.
Charlie Cochrane is a master at placing her characters and story into a historic setting with accurate touch that’s so subtle that she makes it look easy. It’s not. The time period comes alive in her hands just as Jonty and Orlando do, as they have gone through the years in this series, emerging on the other end of the war, back in England. All the changes reflected in each story as it is here. Along with that you get the deepening romance and love over the years of these two remarkable men and often some very gnarly murders as is the case here.
I adore the mysteries Cochrane concocted for this one, all for a story in 110 pages. Amazing.
I had a great visit and can’t wait to see where the next mystery takes us. I’m thrilled that the author is happy to go willy nilly all over this couple’s timeline. I want their journey never to be over and this is a great way to do it.
I highly recommend this and all the Cambridge Fellow Mysteries, but especially 1 through 10 should be read in the order they were written.
Cover art by Alex Beecroft: I love the soft tone of this illustration. Great for the era and story. Love the author’s novels too.
Buy Link: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 110 pages
Published November 26th 2018 by The Right Chair Press
Series Cambridge Fellows #12.7