A MelanieM Review: Lessons in Chasing the Wild Goose by Charlie Cochrane


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

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?

I’m always so thrilled to see another Jonty and Orlando mystery be released from Charlie Cochrane.  It means I get to go back and spend my time with those deeply in love Cambridge Fellows I have come to adore over a series of stories that span 20 years of their lives together in approximately Edwardian England.

While the earlier stories follow a rigid timeline, the later tales are more fluid so I never know where they might fall along the 20 some span of years so far.  Lessons in Chasing the Wild Goose sees them in their later years, post WWI,  where the effects of that war is still raw, on them and England.  Both men still bear the scars of service, inside and out.  And as this story is to prove, they are far from the only ones.

There are so many things I admire about Charlie Cochrane’s writing and this series.  For one, its authentic, from the language down to the accoutrements of the people at every level of society you see within the stories.  And not once will it every feel anything but completely natural and easy (as opposed to a knowledge dump).  You become immersed in the times, first pre-war England and then all the horrors of  WWI, the very first war of devastating impact with chemical weaponry and  more.  We see it all through the eyes of Jonty and Orlando, Jonty’s family, and the extended “family” they have gathered together at St. Bride’s College, where they have taught all these years and met.

Then, there are the characters, no people, you have come to love over the series of stories.  Its not just Orland Coppersmith and Jonty Stewart, but everyone that Cochrane has created as foundation characters, including the Stewart family and the St. Bride’s College staff, from the head of the college right down to the men who take in the luggage and keep the grounds proper.  Not to forget the housekeeper at their cottage or the detectives they work with.  Nope, all real.  And when over the course of the years, some die, as the intrepid Mr. and Mrs Steward did, how I wept with loss.

So you can imagine, jumping into a new mystery is like coming home again.

Here Cochrane has come up with a doozy of a murder mystery. A man is hit by a car but his wife is convinced it was murder.  It kept me guessin with layers upon layers, surrounded with the poignancy of the survivors and the ever  deepening ramifications from WWI upon people and place.  Stepping up is Jonty’s sister and brother in law to help with the mysteries (yes, multiple) as well as the crew from St. Bride’s.

But the best?  Being gently swung back into the loving, long-established relationship of Jonty and Orlando.  It now has all the hallmarks of a couple who knows each other so well they answer for each other,  the adoration for each other, for each other’s intellects  to their aging bodies is cellular that it glows off the page.

How I love them and this series.  Its one of my heartstones of fiction and one I always recommend.  Now I have another story to add to my recommendations.  Love historical fiction and romance?  Pick up Lessons in Chasing the Wild Goose by Charlie Cochrane.  I hope you are familiar with all of the Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, of which this is but one.  Gather them all up and hold them close.  They are true gems!

Cover art: Alex Beecroft.  Love the cover.  Works perfectly for the story and its charming.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 104 pages
Published March 19th 2018 by The Right Chair Press
Original TitleLessons in Chasing the Wild Goose
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Cambridge Fellows

A Cambridge Fellows Q & A with Charlie Cochrane

When I finished All Lessons Learned I found question after question popping into my mind for the author of this remarkable series. Primarily, All Lessons Learnedwhat happens next?  Or is there a next for our beloved Jonty and Orlando?  Over the course of the series, I feel like I have walked the paths of Cambridge, gone punting on the river, watched honey buzzards in the sky and ridden the marvelous Flip-Flap ride during the Franc0-British Exhibition in the White City.  All that was all due to Charlie Cochrane’s ability to bring us right into her story as though we were physically there ourselves.

So I scribbled off some questions about the series and here are her replies.  One more thing mentioned in a comment previously is that she is thinking about writing a 10th book to finish the series off completely.  So here we go:

Scattered Thoughts:  What pushed you forward to right one more book after All Lessons Learned (not that I am complaining)? After the epilogue which I found to be bittersweet for the couple, what prompted more in the series?

Charlie Cochrane:  “Two things. Fans asking when another book would come out and Jonty and Orlando whisering in my ear saying “write me, write me”. It always feels like coming home when I’m back with them. (If that makes any sense.)

Scattered Thoughts: And I say bittersweet because of the time frame. They had stayed hidden for so long and change is in the air just not soon enough.###

Charlie Cochrane: “I know. Ironic, isn’t it? Mind you, Orlando wouldn’t like the modern day so maybe it’s as well. Can you imagine Jonty dragging him to Provincetown?”

Scattered Thoughts: Do you have a favorite book of the series? And if so, why?###

Charlie Cochrane:  “Maybe Lessons in Trust because of the White City. I had books about it and an original programme from the Anglo French exhibition which was constantly at my side when I wrote it. Also Lessons in Power because it deals with poor Jonty’s past. And has rugby in it.”

Scattered Thoughts: And do you have a prompt, either a historic artifact or location that you build your books around when you are getting started?###

Charlie Cochrane: “Usually a location, so Jersey, or Pegwell Bay or Bath or – in the case of the one I’m writing at present – a thinly disguised Cliveden house.”

Scattered Thoughts: I have to ask because I know I am thinking it so others are too. Any chance of “lost cases from the Cambridge Fellows mysteries” popping up? Stories out of sequence from the books already published. You know we just hate to let Jonty and Orlando go.

Charlie Cochrane: ” I think it’s entirely possible that lost cases will pop up. I have one buzzing at the back of my mind. Also lost scenes/snippets. I want to post something for Mothering Sunday, maybe a letter from Mrs. Stewart to Jonty when he was young. Still getting my thoughts together on that.”

Scattered Thoughts: And do you have any new series in mind for the future?

Charlie Cochrane: “New series? Maybe. I’ve just completed a contemporary cosy mystery (think Midsomer Murders but with a gay detective) and will be trying to find the right home for it. If it succeeds, I could see me writing more.”

Scattered Thoughts:  I love a good cosy and can’t wait for this one.  Thank you so much for such a wonderful series and taking time to answer my questions.

To learn more about Charlie Cochrane, her books and stories, visit her website and blog listed below.

You can find many free stories by Charlie Cochrane at Charlie’s Free Fiction group.  Or visit her website

Her last release, Promises Made Under Fire, Carina Press February 2013, is also available from Amazon and All Romance.

Promises Made Under Fire