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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lessons in Seduction by Charlie Cochrane



Lessons in Seduction by Charlie Cochrane
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (150 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

This time, one touch could destroy everything…

Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, Book 6

The suspected murder of the king’s ex-mistress is Cambridge dons Orlando Coppersmith and Jonty Stewart’s most prestigious case yet. And the most challenging, since clues are as hard to come by as the killer’s possible motive.

At the hotel where the body was found, Orlando goes undercover as a professional dancing partner while Jonty checks in as a guest. It helps the investigation, but it also means limiting their communication to glances across the dance floor. It’s sheer agony.

A series of anonymous letters warns the sleuths they’ll be sorry if they don’t drop the investigation. When another murder follows, Jonty is convinced their involvement might have caused the victim’s death. Yet they can’t stop, for this second killing brings to light a wealth of hidden secrets.

For Orlando, the letters pose a more personal threat. He worries that someone will blow his cover and discover their own deepest secret… The intimate relationship he enjoys with Jonty could not only get them thrown out of Cambridge, but arrested for indecency.

The two men from St. Bride’s are at it again and you don’t want to miss the fun. In the sixth book of the Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, Orlando and Jonty are investigating their toughest case yet. An old mistress of the crown has died and the police suspect foul play. To investigate, Orlando must go undercover and Jonty enlists the help of his energetic father. The mystery is complicated enough when more bodies appear and the men start to fray from their time apart.

For those following the series, this additional installment will tickle your love of mystery. The mistress’ murder is complicated and perhaps the best who-dun-it of the series. There are numerous clues, red herrings, and missing details that force you to figure out who did what to whom alongside Orlando and Jonty.

There were a few things that make it less than perfect. A few too many details and characters were thrown in, so many of them blend together without much distinction while the actual identity of the murderer felt a bit dissatisfying. There was just too much going on for part of the book, too many clues, secret rendezvous, and mysterious happenings that seemed to take the plot into tangent after tangent which got a bit confusing. However, the skill of the author comes into play by weaving these threads together to form a common strand and for the most part, a real purpose to each detail. A few hanging threads were left and some details and actions unexplained, but for the most part the plot delivers an interesting, engaging mystery.

The mystery is the main focus of the story, which will please some fans, but this happens at the cost of romantic scenes. In this book, Jonty and Orlando are apart for the majority of the book, only coming together occasionally for passionate encounters. These scenes are slightly more daring than previous books but nothing that will shock fans of the historical age. Orlando’s past is offered with a visit to his grandmother, showing her acceptance and love for the young man but also setting up a question or two that may be addressed in future books. The marked lack of the wit and chemistry between Jonty and Orlando unfortunately makes this not my favorite book of the series. I prefer when the two fellows solve a mystery together with their banter and charm dominating the pages. However, no doubt other readers will forgive this and enjoy any opportunity to visit the engaging men.

The classical use of prose and writing is reminiscent of the series without many alterations. The Oceanside setting came across very nicely, in contrast to other books when the different city wasn’t translated so well. There is a very large cast and a side story about the Dean’s sister that is a nice touch, however unnecessary. Overall I think fans of the series will greatly enjoy this latest offering and continue to clamor for more. I eagerly await the next book in the series and personally hope Jonty and Orlando have more scenes together, but I could just be greedy.

1 comment:

Charlie Cochrane said...

Thanks for the review - I promise more scenes with the lads together next time.

Charlie