June 15, 2016 by kitmoss
LESSONS FOR IDLE TONGUES and LESSONS FOR SUSPICIOUS MINDS
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Two stories about Cambridge Fellows Jonty and Orlando that take place some years before the World War and our collective readership trauma.
REVIEW by Christopher Hawthorne Moss
I decided to review these two books together because while I have and will read every single Jonty and Orlando book just for the pleasure of their company, the two most recent (?) books are enough alike as to make it hard to recall what happened in each. But I will do me best.
IDLE TONGUES starts with, of course, a rugby match and a missing four-foot carved cat, but it manages to become a mystery after all. A young woman is reported to have died while out strolling through the countryside, but her rather excitable boyfriend, who is none too popular with her family, insists there is something rotten in Denmark. There are discrepancies in testimony and evidence and other suspicious deaths in the tiny village. Suffice it to say you will have to read the book to find out who is telling the truth, if anyone.
SUSPICIOUS MINDS finds our boys drawn to a country house along with Jonty’s mater and pater by the doyenne of the house to look into one, maybe two, suspicious suicides, one in the house and the other discovered on the way thereto. The two men find themselves anxious about having their relationship uncovered by servants, but the issue of scandalous romances is also involved in the circumstances of the deaths.
The fact that Cochrane continues to delight readers with more Jonty and Orlando stories by having them take place before World War I is kind of cheating or perhaps putting the investigational cart before the horse, except that these stories felt more formulaic than the original several—I’m not complaining.