Lessons for Sleeping Dogs, by Charlie Cochrane
Series: Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #12 (Stand-alone)
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (October 12, 2015)
Page Count: 240 pages
Genre: Historical; Mystery; Gay (M/M) Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5
When amateur sleuth Jonty Stewart comes home with a new case to investigate, his partner Orlando Coppersmith always feels his day has been made. Although, can there be anything to solve in the apparent mercy killing of a disabled man by a doctor who then kills himself, especially when everything takes place in a locked room?
But things are never straightforward where the Cambridge fellows are concerned, so when they discover that more than one person has a motive to kill the dead men—motives linked to another double death—their wits get stretched to the breaking point.
And when the case disinters long buried memories for Jonty, memories about a promise he made and hasn’t kept, their emotions get pulled apart as well. This time, Jonty and Orlando will have to separate fact from fiction—and truth from emotion—to get to the bottom of things.
Companionship and murder don’t normally go hand-and-in, but in “Lessons for Sleeping Dogs” Charlie Cochrane does an excellent job of showing the comfortable intimacy of Jonty and Orlando side-by-side with the intricate and delightful murder/suicide mystery that they’re working to solve.
I’ll talk about the mystery first. This was mystery writing at its finest, with an apparently-unsolvable case being slowly unraveled as Orlando and Jonty piece together clues. There were a few times that I felt confused, especially when characters referenced victims by their last name for several pages, before switching to their first names. But each clue peeled back another layer of the mystery, and I felt like all of the conclusions were reached organically and logically.
“This has all the makings of an unsolvable puzzle. Although I suppose you’ll relish the challenge of that.”
The relationship between Jonty and Orlando balanced out the mystery perfectly. These are two men who are completely comfortable with one another. They’ve known each other for years, and have been blessed with a lifestyle that allows them to live together with no suspicion, despite the fact that homosexuality is illegal in this time period. And I actually really liked that there were no explicit scenes, because it made the relationship feel more intimate, focusing on the emotions and characters instead of the sex.
“You’re a hero.”
Orlando could feel the blush rushing up his cheeks, but he didn’t care. To be a hero to one’s own hero was everything a man could want.
I very much enjoyed this book. It’s the first one that I’ve read in the “Cambridge Fellows Mystery” series, but never once did I feel like I was missing something. Cochrane expertly weaves in references to previous mysteries and to the men’s pasts, so I feel like I’ve known these characters for years!
I’m looking forward to going back and reading the previous books in this series… thankfully there are a lot of them, so I’ll get my fill of Jonty and Orlando’s brilliance!
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