Thursday, February 14, 2019

Virtual Book Tour: Old Sins (The Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane (Guest Post+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?

Is Happy Ever After possible?

“And they all lived happily ever after.”

Close the book, tuck in the children and say goodnight. Leave them to pleasant thoughts of Cinderella and Price Charming or Red Riding Hood or the three pigs or whoever. We all love a happy ending, whether it’s in a book or a film. It makes us feel all warm and cosy, no matter how many traumas we’ve gone through en route to getting there. And it’s particularly true in the gay romance genre, because so often the course of true love doesn’t run smooth and ends up on the rocks. Even my favourite book, The Charioteer, has a bittersweet ending.

I do wonder if authors in the past were under pressure not to let any gay characters have a properly happy ending, from some awful “we mustn’t let these sorts of people be seen to profit from their ways” point of view. Rather like in old films, where the villains were never allowed to get away with their crime without being caught and punished. Even the wonderful “Kind Hearts and Coronets” has a little twist right at the end which means the villain is bound to be convicted, even though he has been released from prison and has dilemmas enough to deal with, considering two women are waiting for him. Murderer and philanderer to boot! No wonder he’s not allowed an HEA.

But in the twenty-first century we can give our gay characters a happy ending – ever after or “just for now” – if we want to. We can even give them a wedding or a civil partnership, as well. which wasn’t an option for people writing even just a few years ago. Or the two men (or two women) can live together, adopt children, have their own kids, fill the house with cats, whatever they feel like. Having said that, even in historical settings we can engineer solutions to the “impossible HEA” problem, often by letting our heroes hide in plain sight. For example, we can put them in a setting where unmarried men wouldn’t be looked at with suspicion, or have one of them enter into a sexless marriage to maintain a facade to the outside world. There are plenty of ideas for the ingenious author to play with.

Writing this blog has made me re-think things, though. That HEA for gay men is still impossible in some parts of the world, even today. It doesn’t even have to be in a place where being gay is illegal: for some folk, coming out can mean rejection from family and friends. The HEA of finding the love or your life can be overladen with troubles (although that’s not a problem unique to same sex relationships). In those benighted countries where your sexuality can endanger your life and liberty, the challenges of hiding your true nature must be as real as they were for our historical characters. Alas, in some parts of the world, you might as well be living in the time of Oscar Wilde.

So, should the stories we write reflect that reality? Some of them, certainly, or else we’d never be producing books which cover the whole range of people’s experiences, but we need to get a balance. It’s a whole other question about whether books and films need to capture the everyday worries we all have, or whether they should provide sheer escape, a world into which we can go where those problems disappear. My feeling is that we need both.

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.


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. I liked these so maybe next I should try the Cambridge Fellows series.

  2. There's a place for reality in books, but I don't really want to read it. My life is very small and the books I read are an escape from that. I need the HEA in my stories. I'm certainly not going to get in real life.
    jlshannon74 at

  3. I like some reality in books especially in contemporary but I don't won't it full on. Happy endings? I'll be happy knowing the characters have a HFN ending and not have it left so open ended.
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  4. I think we need a lot of HEA books for queer characters, simply because there haven't been many up to now, and even in the more enlightened countries such as our own, real queer people must feel desperate for their own 'Cinderella' type of story. Even if it turns into 'Into the Woods' later. Also, it helps create an atmosphere in which the general population see queer HEA as a norm in romantic books, films, etc. and that encourages them to put pressure on the countries where things are not so liberal. I don't mean that the Cambridge Fellows are likely to single-handedly affect the situation in Russia or Uganda, but every drop in the ocean helps. It's the same with books about strong women holding down jobs etc. or films about ethnic minority super-heroes - it really does turn around general perceptions and that can have a knock-on global effect. That isn't to say there shouldn't be books and films about the struggles in some parts of the world - of course there should, but I'm not sure those struggles need to be addressed in romantic fiction; they belong, I think, in mainstream. (Jay Mountney here.)

    1. Hear hear! It's almost like the notion of HEA for gay couples (or the notion of being gay per se) needs to become so everyday it no longer causes eyelids to be batted.

    2. I just did a random pick of blog stops then random pick of commenters and you won! Can you mail me on with your address and I'll get this here goodie bag parcel sent to you?