Back to the Past with Lessons for Idle Tongues from Charlie Cochrane -A Special Interview with Orlando & Jonty (giveaway)



Lessons for Idle Tongues (Cambridge Fellows #11)
by Charlie Cochrane
Riptide Publishing


Cover art by Lou Harper

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Charlie Cochrane and her Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, featuring Jonty and Orlando.  It is one of my highly recommended series, and the terrific story, Lessons for Idle Tongues is being published by Riptide Publishing.  And to celebrate, author Charlie Cochrane is here and interviewing those incorrigible and loving duo, Jonty and Orlando.


Interview with Jonty and Orlando

While reading her favourite mystery, Death at the President’s Lodging, Charlie Cochrane was struck by some particularly “slashy” scenes and wondered why there were no Classic Era mysteries featuring a pair of gay detectives. There were gay men at the time, so couldn’t they have taken up their magnifying glasses and got sleuthing? Frustrated at finding no answer to her conundrum, she set out to write her own stories. Here she interviews her two sleuths.

CC:  Can you tell the readers where you live?

Orlando Coppersmith: Cambridge.
Jonty Stewart: Cambridge in England. There’s another one in America, you know, Orlando.
Orlando: Really? How astonishing.
Jonty: We live here because we’re both based at St. Bride’s College, trying to knock some sense into our students. I teach them about Tudor Literature.
Orlando: And I lecture in Mathematics.
Jonty: Orlando’s worryingly bright.

CC: Did the events of your early life influence you in solving mysteries?

Orlando: Yes. Well. Hm.
Jonty: What Orlando means is that neither of us had that easy a start in life. His family were…not exactly loving. Would that be fair?
Orlando: It would. I’m not as lucky as Jonty, who has an extraordinary family with whom I get on very well.
Jonty: He means I have a very loud mother who’s madly in love with him and a terrifyingly clever father who likes to solves cryptograms with him. He wins all round.
Orlando: Meeting Jonty showed me that all sorts of things in life were possible. Love, friendship, going out and using my brains for something other than mathematics. He changed my life.
Jonty: Daft beggar. Meeting Orlando gave me hope at a time when I was a bit low. I had a rough time of things at school and it came back to haunt me at times. He changed my life, too.

CC:  Do you see yourselves as policemen?

Jonty: Oh I say, Orlando. Steady there. (He whacks his back.) I’m afraid that the police wouldn’t exactly approve of our relationship. Up before the beak and two years hard labour if they knew what we got up to in private.
Orlando: We’re amateur detectives, although we do work alongside the police when need be. That’s how we got started, acting as the eyes and ears for Inspector Wilson of the local force when there was a series of murders in St. Bride’s. (Lessons in Love)
Jonty: We get commissions, too. People ask us to solve crimes, particularly old ones.
Orlando: Sometimes hundreds of years old.
Jonty: Nearly as ancient as you, Orlando.
Orlando: Very funny.

CC: Do people contact you like they contacted Sherlock Holmes?

Jonty: You said the ‘S’ word. Orlando won’t approve. I like Holmes – and Watson, he’s a marvellous bloke – but old grumpy guts here thinks Sherlock’s a bit of a smarty pants.
Orlando: I refuse to comment. And don’t call me “grumpy guts” in public.

CC: What’s been the most outrageous thing you’ve done in the cause of investigation?

Jonty: What about the time you had to pose as a gigolo?
Orlando: I was not a gigolo. I was a professional dancing partner. Next question, please, before my “friend” finds anything else to make fun of me about.

CC: In the course of your investigations, have you encountered important historical figures?

Jonty: Figures from the past, yes. When we solved the Woodville Ward mystery we ran across Richard III, Henry VII and Elizabeth Woodville. Orlando’s almost old enough to remember being dandled at their knees.
Orlando: Don’t forget, I’ve worked out at least three foolproof ways of murdering you without the risk of being caught. Actually, he’s hiding his light under a bushel, again. He’s the one who got dandled at royalty’s knee. The Stewarts are all very pally with the royal family.
Jonty: That’s what got us involved in the gigolo – sorry, dancing partner – case. The king’s old mistress died under mysterious circumstances and they needed someone of discretion and good sense to put into the hotel where it happened. Nobody like that was available, so they asked Orlando.
Orlando: Excuse me while I resort to method number one.

CC:  Presumably you are somewhat familiar with our early 21st century, after conversations with your author. What would you most like to take back to Edwardian times?

Jonty: The freedom to hold Orlando’s hand in public – at least in Brighton. Not that he’d let me, probably, being a shy old stick, but the opportunity would be nice.
Orlando: I’d welcome the chance of entering into a Civil Partnership with Jonty. An official declaration of how much we mean to each other.
Jonty: I’d like to fly in one of your modern aeroplanes. How wonderful to cover the length of the British isles in little more than an hour. And going to Jersey without resorting to a ship would be good, wouldn’t it, Orlando? He gets sick as a dog when we sail.
Orlando: Hm. In his case it might be an Uncivil Partnership.

CC:  I’m sure you’d never murder anyone, but is there someone, whom you’d like to murder if you could?

Orlando: Owens, from “the college next door”.
Jonty: He’s St. Bride’s arch-enemy and any decent college man would strangle him with his own bicycle clips.
Orlando: I’ve devised two other foolproof and undetectable methods of murder, just for Owens.
Jonty: I said he was frighteningly clever, didn’t I? If he ever took to a life of crime, we’d all be doomed.


About Lessons for Idle Tongues (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #11)
Cambridge, 1910

Amateur detectives Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith seem to have nothing more taxing on their plate than locating a missing wooden cat and solving the dilemma of seating thirteen for dinner. But one of the guests brings a conundrum: a young woman has been found dead, and her boyfriend is convinced she was murdered. The trouble is, nobody else agrees.

Investigation reveals that several young people in the local area have died in strange circumstances, and rumours abound of poisonings at the hands of Lord Toothill, a local mysterious recluse. Toothill’s angry, gun-toting gamekeeper isn’t doing anything to quell suspicions, either.

But even with a gun to his head, Jonty can tell there’s more going on in this surprisingly treacherous village than meets the eye. And even Orlando’s vaunted logic is stymied by the baffling inconsistencies they uncover. Together, the Cambridge Fellows must pick their way through gossip and misdirection to discover the truth.

About Author 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:

Twitter: @charliecochrane
Facebook profile page:
Riptide Publishing’s Author Page


Lessons for Idle Tongues Giveaway:

Cambridge Mysteries bundle

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a title from Charlie Cochrane’s backlist (excluding Lessons for Idle Tongues.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 4. 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 to enter.  Prizes provided by the author and Riptide Publishing.

Cambridge Fellows Mysteries Bundle Sale!

Get 30% off books 1-8 of the Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, exclusively in a bundle from Samhain!

Cambridge Fellows Mysteries






If the men of St. Bride’s College knew what Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith got up to behind closed doors, the scandal would rock early-20th-century Cambridge to its core. But the truth is, when they’re not busy teaching literature and mathematics, the most daring thing about them isn’t their love for each other—it’s their hobby of amateur sleuthing.

Because wherever Jonty and Orlando go, trouble seems to find them. Sunny, genial Jonty and prickly, taciturn Orlando may seem like opposites. But their balance serves them well as they sift through clues to crimes, and sort through their own emotions to grow closer. But at the end of the day, they always find the truth . . . and their way home together.

,[STRW Note: I highly recommend reading them in the order they were written in order to understand the relationship as it builds, the men, and the times.  This is especially true for books starting with Lessons in Trust, All Lessons Learned and Lessons for Survivors which hold huge spoilers and surprises for the previous books]

Publisher Note:Cambridge Fellows mysteries may be read in any order but for those who wish to read in release order, they are:

Lessons in Love (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #1)
Lessons in Desire (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #2)
Lessons in Discovery (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #3)
Lessons in Power (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #4)
Lessons in Temptation (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #5)
Lessons in Seduction (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #6)
Lessons in Trust (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #7)
All Lessons Learned (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #8)
Lessons for Survivors (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #9)
Lessons for Suspicious Minds (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #10)
Lessons for Idle Tongues (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #11)
Lessons for Sleeping Dogs
The first eight books in the series are with Samhain Publishing. You can purchase them wherever ebooks are sold.

– See more at Riptide Publishing’s Cambridge Fellows Mysteries page.

March Came Roaring In Like a Lion and the Week Ahead in Reviews


Remember last March in Maryland?  The sun was shining over plants newly emerged from the ground,  our temperatures hovered in the high 70’s after experiencing absolutely no winter at all.  Birds were nesting, the butterflies were flying, and thoughts of picnics and outdoor barbecue dinners molded our grocery lists.  Even now I can bask in the memories….

Now switch to present day and the snow flurries I saw swirling around in clear defiance that it was March.  It was cold and dark clouds made sure the sun never made an appearance.  I stopped to look at the pansies with their smiling faces at Good Earth and thought “not in a million years am I hanging around outside to plant you so bugger off”,  channeling some Brits I know.  Those of you in the middle of huge snowstorms or still in recovery from the same are probably wanting to smack me over such piddling weather.  Me too.  I do realize it could be so much worse but this dang climate change has upped our expectations for March beyond all reasonability, hence the whining.

On the other hand, it does give me time to spend with plant catalogs, and go to a whine oops wine and cooking demonstration like I did  yesterday.  Had the weather been gorgeous, I would have been outside and missed a Mahi Mahi cooked in a buirre blanc sauce to die for, a lovely Coq au vin and a porc du rose, just a lovely 3 hours spent with nice people, great wines and food and a very funny Chef Read.  So highs and lows, cold and hot, one friend moves away and I get the chance to meet others. Life, the weather and changing climate keeps springing changes upon us whether (ha!) we are ready or not, usually mostly not.   Hmmmm,..rambling here again.

So where were we? Ah yes, the week ahead.  Hopefully that will see the Caps win, the Nats all heathly and happy in Florida, honestly don’t care what’s going on with the “Skins, and new recipes to try out.  I will be finishing up the Cambridge Fellows Mysteries series this week and it will be sad to say goodbye to Jonty and Orlando.  Look for a post full of Q & A with Charlie Cochrane to post the day following.  She was wonderful in answering all the questions that kept popping into my brain as I finished All Lessons Learned.  We have a mixed bag of new and familiar authors here, something for everyone I believe.  So here is the way it is scheduled so far:

Monday, March 4:                     Spot Me by Andrew Grey

Tuesday, March 5:                     Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C

Wed., March 6:                           Velocity by Amelia C. Gormley

Thursday, March 7:                    Lessons for Survivors by Charlie Cochrane

Friday, March 8:                         A Cambridge Fellows Q & A with Charlie Cochrane

Saturday, March 9:                     His Best Man by Treva Harte

So there it is, a really good week ahead.  Now if just those blasted snow clouds would go away I might just think about planting some pansies….

Rushed Dental Work, a Delay In Today’s Review and the Franco-British Exhibition of 1908


So, yeah, here I am about to head off for some rushed dentistry, a root canal that had to be done asap and I am not happy or feeling great at this moment.  But I won’t rush the review of Lessons in Trust by Charlie Cochrane, so there will be a slight delay in posting.   I will say that I loved this book and it sent me into paroxysms of  delight when researching the 1908 Franco British Exhibition which Orlando and Jonty attend.

See, this is one of my anticipated joys of Charlie Cochrane’s writing, she always includes  some wonderful tidbit of information or history I didn’t know about, educating me just enough to make me want to know more.  I mean really, how could you resist a 1908 ride with the name The Flip-Flap?

Here is a postcard view of the White City, the location (on 120 acres) of the Franco-British Exhibition in west London.  It was called The White City because all the exhibition buildings were  painted white. There were “villages” of various nationalities people could visit, like an Irish Village, a Senegalese Village,  Think of it like the Las Vegas strip of its day with the Luxor Pyramid, Eiffel Tower , well, you get the drift.    Here is a central view:


Then there is the marvel called The Flip-Flap ride.  Orlando, Jonty, and Mr. Stewart could get enough of this ride,  Think of the most popular rides at Busch Gardens or Six Flags, and they would not come close to the popularity and awe that was The Flip Flap .  It’s outline dominated the skyline.  Here is a post card of the ride, wouldn’t you just love for a chance to climb on?

Postcard of the Flip-Flap ride

And finally,  the age of the automobile has arrived and Jonty is full of enthusiasm for this new form of transportation.  Jonty has bought a Lagonda and loves it dearly, an affection Orlando doesn’t share.  So of course I wanted to know more about what the car looked like that drove Jonty to such heights of prose and poetry.  Off to research some more.  And I found out that the  Lagonda cars were invented by an American named Wilbur Gunn.  Wilber had two passions in life, singing and engineering and it was as an opera singer that he came to Britain.  But once there he started crafting things from fast boats to motorcycles.  In 1904 he progressed from 3 wheeled vehicles to motor cars of which  74 original models were made.  Of course, Jonty would have one of them.  The name Lagonda?  That is Shawnee for Bucks County in Ohio where Wilbur Gunn was from.  It is also the name of his father’s company, the Lagonda Corporation which made tube  cleaning machinery.  I was unable to find any photos of the model Jonty would have had but here is a  photo of a 1928 Lagonda.  So sporty and elegant I would dearly love to have one as well:

Lagonda 1928 lag 3 litre

So I hope this will give you a taste of what is to come in my review of  Lessons in Trust. Keep these images in mind when I am relating parts of the story.  It is a marvelous book so I hope you won’t mind the wait.  See you here a little later on, sore jaw not withstanding.