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Thursday 9 June 2016

‘Lessons for Sleeping Dogs’ by Charlie Cochrane

Published by Riptide Publishing,
12 October 2015.

ISBN: 978-1-62649-274-5

The year is 1921 and the Cambridge Fellows, Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith, are back in their Cambridge College having survived the Great War, although scarred in both minds and bodies. They are delighted to be offered a new mystery to solve, and a genuine locked room mystery at that, even though the Coroner's verdict of double suicide is the most likely solution. Wealthy invalid, Edward Atherton and his doctor, Paul Robertson, were found dead in the doctor's surgery. Both men had been poisoned by cyanide and both had left what appeared to be suicide notes. The surgery door was locked and had to be broken into by Atherton's manservant to gain access, and this was witnessed by Dr Robertson's housekeeper. Atherton had often spoken about taking his own life as the progress of his illness robbed him of the ability to move until he could not even raise his hands to his mouth to feed himself. However, Atherton's sister is convinced that he had found true religion and had a change of heart. She believes that Dr Robertson murdered her brother and then committed suicide and wants the Cambridge sleuths to prove this.

Always eager to establish the truth, Jonty and Orlando start to question those who knew the dead men and, in the course of their investigations, uncover another possible crime. For Jonty the case proves especially traumatic as it brings back a promise he had made to a comrade in the trenches, which shock had caused him to forget.

Lessons For Sleeping Dogs is the twelfth in The Cambridge Fellows Mysteries. As with the earlier books, the author skilfully captures the feeling of the period she is writing about. In this case, set after the Great War, the prevailing feeling is of gentle melancholy and the determination to survive and rebuild, as the two heroes mourn for their own lost youth, and for all their comrades who died, and also for their loved ones who were taken by the Influenza Pandemic. It is good that there are still people eager to help the sleuths, most notably the redoubtable Ariadne Sheridan and Jonty's sister, Lavinia, both of whom play a significant part in unravelling the mystery.

This is a delightful series and Jonty and Orlando are appealing protagonists. A very enjoyable read.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Charlie Cochrane  couldn't be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team— so she writes. Her favourite genre is gay fiction, predominantly historical romances/mysteries.  A member of the Romantic Novelists’  Association, and International Thriller Writers Inc, Charlie's Cambridge Fellows Series, set in Edwardian England, was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her second book About the Children was published in May 2014.

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