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Monday 11 May 2020

‘A Carriage of Misjustice’ by Charlie Cochrane

Published by Riptide Publishing,
5 May 2020.
ISBN: 978-1-62649929-4 (PB)

The last thing that Robin Bright and Adam Matthews want is to be separated, especially only a week after their wedding, but when Robin is asked to head an investigation in another part of the country they realise they have no choice. The Senior Investigating Officer in a murder enquiry has been rushed to hospital with peritonitis and his boss, Detective Superintendent Betteridge, has requested that Robin takes over the case. Betteridge was Robin’s mentor when he was a junior officer and Robin feels he owes her his help; and he is also aware that refusing would not help his career.

Robin is concerned about the competence of the initial enquiry, when it was led by a detective inspector who was already feeling ill, and he needs to establish this without alienating his new team. The more he probes, the more complex the case appears. A man was found dead of head injuries in the changing rooms of Hartwood Wasps Rugby Club, a successful amateur club that had previously consisted of gay and bisexual players, although it now takes heterosexual players as well. The team coach has a strict policy of not allowing players to return to the clubhouse during practice time, but the body was discovered earlier than might have been expected because an accidental injury to one of the players necessitated calling an ambulance and brought practice to a halt. Robin does not believe in coincidences, but he discovers that this case is full of events that may be coincidences or may be clues. Was it a coincidence that the injury to the rugby player occurred on the same evening that a man was killed in the changing rooms? And was it a coincidence that the player responsible for the injury insisted that he wanted to go straight to the hospital and seemed so unwilling to enter the changing rooms? Was it coincidence that the coach ordered him to go and get changed first and this meant he found the body? Was it a coincidence that the victim had once been a member of a rival rugby team and that he had an acrimonious relationship with some of the Hartwood Wasps players? As Robin tries to separate coincidence and clues, he also has to discover whether there is a connection between this murder and a hit and run, which left another young rugby player dead. However, there is one question that concerns Robin more than anything else connected to the case: is it a coincidence that the brother of one of the players is travelling several miles to become a member of the same fundraising choir that Adam has recently joined?

Robin and his sergeant have to work hard to motivate and win the confidence of their new team of detective constables and to establish whether the previous investigative work has been done properly. Robin is determined to discover the truth and get justice for the victim, which is not easy when the murdered man had a skill for making enemies. All the time he is haunted by the fear that Adam may have again become inadvertently entangled with his investigation and be at risk.

A Carriage of Misjustice is the fifth in the Lindenshaw series, featuring Detective Chief Inspector Robin Bright and Deputy Headteacher Adam Matthews, and, alongside the murder mystery plot, one of the main delights of this book, and indeed the whole series, is to observe the development of their relationship. Robin and Adam are engaging protagonists, although the heart-stealer is Campbell, their adorable (and very spoiled) Newfoundland dog. A Carriage of Misjustice is a thoroughly enjoyable read, which I would recommend for those who like their cosy crime mixed with romance.
Reviewer: by 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 the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link below.
To read a review of Carol latest book Strangers and Angels click on the title.

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