Ask and ye shall receive! I wanted another installment that took place after the guys returned from the war (WWI) and that is exactly what I got. For some reason, I feel the way the war years tempered and matured them adds that extra layer of complexity to an already deeply engaging pair of characters. The author has done a splendid job of being flexible in how she writes these two pre and post war so that their experiences shape them instead of them being stagnant no matter what has gone on around them. And maybe I am also partial to characters who are middle-aged and still showing passion, gumption, playfulness, and ingenuity as they love and detect together. Yep, I’m a big Orlando and Jonty fan if you can’t tell.
This is book twelve in the Cambridge Fellows series about a pair of college teachers during the late Edwardian through post WWI eras. They eccentrically refuse to be stodgy as they secretly solve crimes and make a relationship work. While it’s possible to enjoy the stories out of order and each mystery is solved by the end of the book, there is an ongoing story that has developed about these two characters and those around them through the series.
This story takes place in 1921. Orlando and Jonty prepare to celebrate their sixteenth anniversary together even as Orlando pines for a new case to stimulate them. Jonty comes home from a social engagement with just such a gift for his lover. It’s a locked door double suicide only the sister of one of the men doesn’t believe it.
There is little real evidence that doesn’t point to suicide to go on and so Jonty and Orlando must carefully sift through all the facts and interview all the witnesses. The case dredges up unpleasant memories from Jonty and Orlando’s pasts and the men have to decide whether they can continue down the twisty path to the truth.
The story reads like a cozy whodunnit as the actual murder took place prior to Jonty and Orlando coming on the scene. It was a ticklish locked room case and I pointed the finger several directions and was just as confounded as the detectives. It was a strong mystery.
I also enjoyed the development of the personal story surrounding the mystery that visits Jonty and Orlando’s world at the college and also pulls Jonty’s sister, Lavinia in along with Ariadne Sheridan as partners in crime. Their sweet moments as a couple are heartwarming and I love it when they banter.
All in all, it was another absolutely delightful and satisfying installment in the series. I would recommend these to folks who enjoy gentle m/m historical romantic suspense.
My thanks to Riptide Publishing for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
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