Lessons in Love
In Lessons in Love, the first volume in Charlie Cochrane’s murder mystery featuring St. Bride’s College professors Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith, the murder of a student sparks an adventure and joins a new sleuthing team in bonds of fraternity that quickly turn erotic. None of which would be particularly noteworthy in itself –except that Cochrane’s novels take place in Edwardian England, where open homosexuality was a serious criminal offense. In crafting her stories, Cochrane has created a nimble and winning combination of unspeakable crime and unnamable passion; her two main heroes are a match of opposites who are drawn to each other at the same time that they’re compelled to seek the truth behind what quickly becomes a string of student deaths.
The whole subgenre of murder mysteries featuring lovers is a tricky thing and full of misfires. It often happens that the fascination evolving between the two main characters derails the suspense building around the crimes, and that happens in Lessons in Love, although to a modest enough degree that readers will certainly feel they’ve been satisfied on both fronts. This is a sparkling, intelligent series, not to be missed.