Join in the Mystery Hunt with Charlie Cochrane’s The Best Corpse for the Job (tour and contest)

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Do you love mysteries?  Are  British “Cozies” mysteries must reads?  Then Charlie Cochrane has just written a mystery for you! Today Charlie Cochrane has stopped by to talk about writing, story locations, and of course, The Best Corpse for the Job!  Check it all out below and don’t forget to leave a comment with an email address to be entered in the contest.

Saving my bacon – tales of the eleventh hour by Charlie Cochrane

All of us make mistakes in our writing. Sometimes it’s just about making assumptions, like the provenance of the word blizzard. It sounds nice and old and sort of Shakespearean, so it never occurred to me to check whether my nice gay Regency vicar could use “blizzard” in my short story “The Shade on a Fine Day”. Turns out he couldn’t, as it’s late Victorian, of US origin. Rats. I’m not alone, though – PD James has allegedly featured a motorbike reversing down a road, when they don’t have reverse gear.

I’ve been saved from making a major blooper on several occasions. The little voice in your head which tells you to double check something should never be ignored. For example, I set Lessons in Seduction in and around Pegwell Bay, Kent. As a child, I used to go on day trips there from Ramsgate when we were on holiday and in my memory, the access to the beach was flat. My memory lied to me, as I discovered when I looked at pictures of the place – there were cliffs. Luckily I had time to go back and change some of the relevant bits of the story before sending it off, but it was a close shave.

I had just such an experience relating to “The Best Corpse for the Job”. In the original draft, the people who turn up to process the crime scene were called SOCOs (Scenes of Crimes Officers), but recently those title changed to CSIs (Crime Scene Investigators). In another bout of good fortune, I was out at a barbecue with someone whose daughter was a SOCO turned CSI, so I could pick her brain about what things should be called now. Thank goodness for word processing, “find and replace”, and all the other blessings of modern writing!

The other peculiar thing which happened when writing the story is related to the name of the school where the first murder takes place. To put it in context, the governors of a school in a typically leafy, middle England type of village are recruiting a new headteacher and one of the candidates gets done in. I called the school…well, I won’t tell you what I called it originally, because it was awfully like the name of a real village school. I do some freelance training and blow me down with a feather if I didn’t get asked, just at the time I was drafting Best Corpse, to go and do some training at (you’ve guessed it!) that place I will refer to simply as “a real village school”. It gets funnier. The training I was asked to take was “Selecting and Interviewing Headteachers”.

Find and replace, find and replace, find and replace…

About The Best Corpse for the JobBest Corpse for the Job cover

Tea and sympathy have never been so deadly.

Schoolteacher Adam Matthews just wants to help select a new headteacher and go home. The governors at Lindenshaw St Crispin’s have already failed miserably at finding the right candidate, so it’s make or break this second time round. But when one of the applicants is found strangled in the school, what should have been a straightforward decision turns tempestuous as a flash flood in their small English village.

Inspector Robin Bright isn’t thrilled to be back at St. Crispin’s. Memories of his days there are foul enough without tossing in a complicated murder case. And that handsome young teacher has him reminding himself not to fraternize with a witness. But it’s not long before Robin is relying on Adam for more than just his testimony.

As secrets amongst the governors emerge and a second person turns up dead, Robin needs to focus less on Adam and more on his investigation. But there are too many suspects, too many lies, and too many loose ends. Before they know it, Robin and Adam are fighting for their lives  and  their hearts.

About Charlie Cochrane

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:

Giveaway Contest:

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for an e-book from Charlie Cochrane’s backlist (excepting The Best Corpse for the Job). Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 29. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.   However, you must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Don’t forget to leave an email address where you can be contacted if selected in the body of your comment.

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You can follow Charlie Cochrane on her The Best Corpse for the Job tour here!

A MelanieM Review: The Best Corpse for the Job by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Best Corpse for the Job cover

Tea and sympathy have never been so deadly.

The private school of Lindenshaw St Crispin’ has long lost the luster it once had.  Once a sought after place of high education, it has now sild slowly into the ranks of lesser schools and its dwindling enrollment reflects that.  But the governors want a return to its glorious days and to do that they need to hire a new Head Master or Head Teacher as the title is now called.  Among those chosen for the selection panel is schoolteacher Adam Matthews.  All Adam wants is to chose the best person for the children and go home to his quiet life at the end of the day.  But when one of the applicants is found strangled in the school, everyone looks to be a suspect, even Adam himself.

Inspector Robin Bright isn’t thrilled to be back at St. Crispin’s. the scene of the crime and his old alma mater.  The school and its grounds,  as well some of the old staff that still remember him, bring back old painful memories Robin would rather stay forgotten.  The one bright spot is one that he shouldn’t be thinking about? That would be the handsome and kind schoolteacher, Adam Matthews.

 

All the secrets of Lindenshaw St. Crispin’s start to surface as another body is discovered.  As the stakes get higher and the murderer becomes more desperate, Adam and Robin have to decide who they can trust and rely on, even deciding if that includes each other.  The complications rise up and the race is on to find the killer before Adam and even Robin himself are targeted.

If you look up the definition of Cosy Mystery in the dictionary, it includes this statement ”

“Cozies are mystery novels typically set in English country houses, villages, or other benign environments. Cozies feature very little violence, aside for the murder, and few gory details. The term arose from the relatively genteel settings, the common use of amateur sleuths as protagonists, and the fact that all loose ends are tied up and the villain caught and punished by the novel’s conclusion.”

To that I will add, the Cozy Mystery is a popular trope found in all forms of media, from Agatha Christie, the grande dame of Cozies to Murder, She Wrote.  It has a timeless appeal with its small town settings and the intimacy found between all the various townspeople… victims, murderers, suspects alike.  It lacks the brutality and rawness of other mysteries, concerning itself with the amateur sleuth and their ability to reason.  Small wonder that Charlie Cochrane, that marvelous author of stories composed of civilities, history, and relationships has written a cozy to delight us all.

The Best Corpse for the Job brings us into the small English village of Stanebridge and a school in decline.  Lindenshaw St. Crispin’s is a school mired in its past.  And its teachers, well, most of them, realize that to survive it needs a new Headteacher (formerly known as Headmaster) and direction to pull it into the present.  A panel is chosen to decide who is the best candidate for the job and then hire that person.  So deceptively simple a decision and yet so fraught full of politics, personality clashes, and ambition that you know it will go wrong right from the start.  And it does, deliciously so.

Cochrane brings us into the civilized halls and playing  fields of this most austere establishment, letting us feel our way through the aged paneled hallways, noting the deep history of the school while subtly highlighting the wear, tear, and worn nature that its lowered status has caused.  Through Cochrane’s descriptions one doesn’t have to had stepped foot in such a school to feel the atmosphere of stress, age, and years of children of all ages trooping in and out have wrought upon St. Crispin’s.  It’s all marvelously there, a perfect setting for murder most foul.

Adam Matthews, a kind and caring teacher who prefers to keep his homosexuality quiet from some of the more bigoted members of the staff, is such an attractive main character.   His geniality, his concern for his students and the future of the school make him immediately likable.  We get his concerns and we adore the way in which he appreciates his life, from the school to his small house, complete with enormous Newfoundland called Campbell.  He’s the perfect amateur Cozy sleuth and he acquits himself handsomely here from start to finish.

More complex, definitely more brooding, Inspector Robin Bright has a painful history that is deeply rooted in the very school that is the scene of the crime.  And this crime has brought up all the old hurtful memories and issues that Robin thought he had put in the past.  Again, Cochrane makes us feel the bitterness and anger Robin has carried with him all these years and it’s a stark contrast to Adam and the type of teacher he represents. Robin too is someone the reader will care about greatly.

And at the heart of this story is the crime and murderer who remains hidden for most of the story.  It’s a twisty little mystery, one that the reader will enjoy puzzling out along with Robin and Adam, as the scares, clues, and suspense ratchets up the stakes for all.  Is there a heart thumper or two?  Why, yes, there is and it makes the ending all the more enjoyable.

I hope that there are further mysteries ahead for Robin and Adam, they make quite the team.  And Charlie Cochrane’s ability to bring the gentility, intimacy, and sometimes deadly village goings on to life makes her a Cozy Mystery author to write home about.   Consider The Best Corpse for the Job, and its author, Charlie Cochrane both among Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words highly recommended reads.

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase.  I have to admit to being disappointed in the cover.  Too modern for a Cozy, it missed so many opportunities to highlight the story and the mystery it involves.  It looks more like a modern office than ancient private school.

Sales Links:  Riptide Press (available for pre order)   All Romance eBooks   Amazon – all links to follow

Book Details:

ebook, 298 pages
Expected publication: November 24th 2014 by Riptide Publishing
original titleThe Best Corpse for the Job
ISBN139781626491571
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://riptidepublishing.com/title