Sunday, 19 July 2015



Pages: 291
Date: July 18, 2015
Details: No. 11 Cambridge Fellows 
            Copy received from Riptide
            Publishing through NetGalley

The blurb:

Amateur detectives Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith seem to have nothing more taxing on their plate than locating a missing wooden cat and solving the dilemma of seating thirteen for dinner. But one of the guests brings a conundrum: a young woman has been found dead, and her boyfriend is convinced she was murdered. The trouble is, nobody else agrees.

Investigation reveals that several young people in the local area have died in strange circumstances, and rumours abound of poisonings at the hands of Lord Toothill, a local mysterious recluse. Toothill’s angry, gun-toting gamekeeper isn’t doing anything to quell suspicions, either.

But even with a gun to his head, Jonty can tell there’s more going on in this surprisingly treacherous village than meets the eye. And even Orlando’s vaunted logic is stymied by the baffling inconsistencies they uncover. Together, the Cambridge Fellows must pick their way through gossip and misdirection to discover the truth.

My thoughts:

From the moment I started this book I couldn’t get over how charming – and I mean that in the best possible sense of the word - Lessons for Idle Tongues is. The setting, the characters and the story seduced me from the first paragraph. I think it’s fair to say I’ve been a fan of mysteries for almost as long as I’ve been able to read, and to discover a new (to me) series is always a pleasure.

Lessons for Idle Tongues was no exception to that rule. This is the 11th title in the Cambridge Fellows series although it was my first introduction to Jonty and Orlando. I was delighted to discover that I could thoroughly enjoy this book without having read the previous instalments. It is quite possible I missed one or two in-jokes or references to earlier mysteries, but if that was the case I can’t say I noticed it.

There’s a lot to love in this book. The dynamics in the Stewart family, Jonty and Orlando – both separately and together -, the mystery of the wooden cat and the mystery of the dead youngsters, the period the story’s set in, the beautiful language, the pompous yet time-appropriate manner of speech.... I could go on but will limit myself to saying I read this book with a huge grin on my face.

I love how the author managed to convey that Jonty and Orlando’s relationship is illegal without making that a huge plot point. The characters and therefore the readers too, are well aware they’d be up to their necks in trouble should their relationship become common knowledge and act accordingly, but this is a minor detail and not something that motivates either the story or Jonty and Orlando’s actions.

Since this is a mystery – as well as an utterly charming story – I should mention that both mysteries in this book were intriguing, cleverly investigated and solved in a very satisfactory manner.

I’m not entirely sure what else to say about Lessons for Idle Tongues without giving too much away, except maybe to repeat that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is wonderful that I have ten previous titles in this series to peruse at my leisure. Jonty and Orlando have found themselves a new fan. 

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