Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Old Sins by Charlie Cochrane - Blog Tour with Author's Guest Post and Giveaway

A detective, his boyfriend and their dog. That’s the Lindenshaw mysteries in a nutshell. Old Sins is the fourth instalment in the series, and not only does Robin have a murder to investigate, he and Adam have got the “little” matter of their nuptials to start planning. And, of course, Campbell the Newfoundland gets his cold wet nose into things, as usual.
About Old Sins
Past sins have present consequences.
Detective Chief Inspector Robin Bright and his partner, deputy headteacher Adam Matthews, have just consigned their summer holiday to the photo album. It’s time to get back to the daily grind, and the biggest problem they’re expecting to face: their wedding plans. Then fate strikes—literally—with a bang.
Someone letting loose shots on the common, a murder designed to look like a suicide, and the return of a teacher who made Robin’s childhood hell all conspire to turn this into one of his trickiest cases yet.
Especially when somebody might be targeting their Newfoundland, Campbell. Robin is used to his and Adam’s lives being in danger, but this takes the—dog—biscuit.
About the Lindenshaw Mysteries
Adam Matthews's life changed when Inspector Robin Bright walked into his classroom to investigate a murder.
Now it seems like all the television series are right: the leafy villages of England do indeed conceal a hotbed of crime, murder, and intrigue. Lindenshaw is proving the point.
Detective work might be Robin's job, but Adam somehow keeps getting involved—even though being a teacher is hardly the best training for solving crimes. Then again, Campbell, Adam's irrepressible Newfoundland dog, seems to have a nose for figuring things out, so how hard can it be?

Playing fair with the reader

I really enjoy reading classic age mysteries; one of my great pleasures is nipping into second hand book shops and turning out some forgotten gem.   One of the authors I enjoy is Georgette Heyer: although her romances aren’t my cup of tea, she wrote some pretty good murder mysteries! (Funny how writing romance and writing crime seems to go together. Agatha Christie, Ellis Peters and Ruth Rendell wrote romance under a different pen name, but that’s a whole other subject for a post.)
However, recently I got rather miffed with one of Miss  Heyer’s books,  because I knew who  the murderer was from the first page and the more I read the more bleeding obvious it became. I’ve never been let down by this particular author before and I hope I won’t be again as I work through her canon, although I have to confess it’s happened to  me with other writers. 

It’s not always a matter of knowing who the culprit is from too early on – sometimes it’s a romance book where the entire storyline seems telegraphed from the start. Yes, I know the standard romance is boy meets girl (or boy meets boy or girl meets girl), boy loses girl, boy gets girl back (or any gender variation) so there’s no surprise in the overall story arc but there have been occasions you can spot the plot twists coming like an oncoming train down a straight track! That really isn’t playing fair with readers who’ve spent their hard-earned spondoolicks on your book.

Mystery readers (like readers in any genre) have certain expectations. They want to have a reasonable chance of guessing the killer but not have it spoon fed to them. They want to have time to weigh up all the suspects so it’s annoying if a book jump cuts to the killer being identified – which reminds me of another story that made me miffed. A cosy crime, amateur detective thing, well written up to the bit where all the suspects and their motives had been lined up for us. At which point the murderer suddenly confessed! I thought I’d missed a whole chapter and went back to check. Nope. Just an abrupt leap from suspicions to certainty. I was less than happy. Why hadn’t the editor picked that up? 
So, I utter this plea with my reader hat on. Authors and editors, please treat us fairly. We’re not dumb, and we have our proper expectations. Don’t mess with them. Or us.

About Charlie Cochrane
Because Charlie Cochrane couldn't be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her mystery novels include the Edwardian era Cambridge Fellows series, and the contemporary Lindenshaw Mysteries. Multi-published, she has titles with Carina, Riptide, Endeavour and Bold Strokes, among others.
A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, Charlie regularly appears at literary festivals and at reader and author conferences with The Deadly Dames.
Connect with Charlie:
To celebrate the release of Old Sins one lucky person will win a swag bag from Charlie! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 16, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!


  1. Sounds good!
    jlshannon74 at

  2. Unpopular opinion, perhaps, but the Sherlock Holmes books drive me mad in this respect, because Sherlock usually solves the case based on either something he read in a newspaper 3 years ago (not shared with the reader until the big reveal) or a clue Watson hasn't noticed (and therefore doesn't share with the reader). I want a fair crack at the case, which means at least a passing mention of relevant clues!

    1. Yes. This. Couldn't agree more. (That's also one of the reasons I hated the Branagh Orient Express film - they had done away with all the clues!)

  3. I love crime books and hate the ones where the clues are either only accessible to the detective or aren't there at all until the perpetrator confesses. Part of the pleasure of a detective mystery is putting yourself in the position of the detective and solving the case alongside them. If, as a reader, you can't do that, the book is unlikely to be a favourite! Having said that, my very worst reading experience was a 'whodunnit' which ended before there was a conclusion to the case. Apparently the author died and a friend felt they should publish the work anyway... I suppose there are precedents, but I would have liked some kind of heads-up and felt I'd been scammed out of the admittedly small price. (Jay Mountney again - I can't persuade Blogger to let me edit my old profile which was part of my LJ identity!)

    1. I've had to open blogger sites on Chrome or else they won't recognise me!
      I do so agree about working alongside the detective. I don't mind them outwitting me but I need to have had the chance to work it out. (Peter Lovesey is the king of the tiny, one line clue that gives the game away but is truly blink and you miss it.)
      Your story of the book reminded me of this:

    2. That sounds utterly infuriating. If I ever die before finishing a murder mystery (not that I've ever written one but hey, I get bored frequently and genre-hop so it's not impossible) I think I'd rather my friend posted it as a competition (enter your ending to the story, then maybe the most convincing few get compiled into a sort of anthology to tack onto the end) than just leave it. It would still be frustrating, but you'd at least get a heads-up and a choice of possible solutions...