Lessons in Seduction by Charlie Cochrane

Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, Book 6

Samhain Publishing

Gay Mystery / Historical

ISBN: 978-1-60504-901-4

Reviewed by Cassie




When a former mistress of the King turns up dead at a seaside hotel in Kent, Drs. Orlando Coppersmith and Jonty Stewart are called in to determine if a murder has been committed.  The only catch—Orlando will have to go undercover as a dancing instructor.  Orlando is none too pleased by this development, not least because he won’t be able to spend any time with Jonty, or even communicate with him, for fear of ruining his cover and of revealing their clandestine relationship.  Both he and Jonty are pleased to be investigating a possible murder again.  Once they begin, however, things get complicated quickly, and it becomes obvious that someone wants the case dropped.

A second death brings home the danger they’re in, but Orlando and Jonty are determined to solve the case before anyone else gets hurt.  Can they find the answers and keep their relationship under wraps?

I’ve always said you really can’t go wrong with any of Charlie Cochrane’s Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, and Lessons in Seduction doesn’t disappoint.  Jonty and Orlando have been together for long enough that they know each other very well, yet they’re still so in love, and that’s wonderful to read.  Their personalities complement each other, both during cases and in everyday life.  Jonty’s more outgoing, jump right in style meshes well with Orlando’s reserve and tendency to think things through carefully before proceeding.  They’ve also grown and changed a lot since the first book, especially Orlando.  I loved the setup of this story.  The idea of Jonty and Orlando being separated by Orlando’s undercover assignment, communicating only through secret notes and occasional glances, really appealed to my inner romantic.  Plus, Lessons in Seduction puts Orlando in a tux, as a dancing instructor, yum!  I also liked that Jonty’s father, the inimitable Richard Stewart, accompanied Jonty to the hotel.  Of course, being the clever men they are, the Stewarts and Orlando soon come up with a solution of sorts to the separation issue, which was somehow wonderful and disappointing at the same time.  I guess part of me was in the mood for a bit more angst.

The mystery itself is full of twists and turns.  I won’t give details of the storyline away here, but it’s complex without being convoluted or silly.  A host of fascinating secondary characters both help and hinder Jonty and Orlando in their investigation.  In my opinion, well-drawn secondary characters are one of the strengths of this series.  (Watch for one of the recurring secondary characters to have an adventure of her own, which I enjoyed very much.)  Ms. Cochrane rarely relies on stereotypes or two-dimensional characters—even her villains have motivations other than just being bad people.  She does an excellent job conveying the setting as well.  Simply put, Lessons in Seduction is a book that no fan of historical mysteries should miss.


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