Please give a warm welcome to Jonty Stewart from Lessons in Cracking the Deadly Code by Charlie Cochrane today as we sit down and see what makes him/her tick.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not saving (the world, clients, your mate)?
Warm my feet by the fire while reading Shakespeare’s sonnets, especially if the rain is tipping down outside and I’m cosy inside. Ideally with Orlando in the other fireside chair, working on one of his obscure sums.
What is it about your love interest Orlando, that makes you crazy in a good way?
How long have we got? He’s handsome, of course, and doesn’t realise just how handsome he is, which makes things even better. He’s clever, but no so much that he’s insufferable, and he has an adorable awkwardness to him, although that’s being rubbed off with time and experience. And he’s extremely good in the mattress department.
Do you sometimes want to strangle your writer? Thrash her to within an inch of her life? Make her do the stupid crap they makes you do?
All three. Especially when she writes us into dangerous situations from which we have to escape by the skin of our teeth, or makes us have an argument. Then there are times I want to buy her a bottle of champagne and a large bag of jelly babies (all green and black ones) – that’s when she organizes a nice reconciliation between us or makes sure that we solve a seemingly impossible case!
How is it possible to just select one? Steak and kidney pudding (with a nice glass of claret) is hard to beat, as is roast beef with a nice crisp Yorkshire pudding on the side and lashings of good quality gravy. Mind you a portion of apple crumble with custard on the side is very nice, too. Or what about the first ripe cherries of the season?
Tell me a little bit about your world. What are your greatest challenges in that world?
The prevailing attitude of society in general and the church in particular towards men of Orlando’s and my persuasion. Not to mention the risk of prison and disgrace. One might say that’s been exacerbated by the scandal surrounding Oscar Wilde, but there are plenty of folk who’d be happy to hound to death men who love their own gender.
Describe yourself in four words.
Swashbuckling. Determined. Garrulous. Good-humoured.
What do you do for a living?
I’m a do at a Cambridge college, specializing in literature, especially the Bard’s sonnets.
What do you fear the most?
Being hurt and bullied the way I was hurt at school.
Book: Lessons in Breaking the Deadly Code
Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JM5Q3J6
Blurb: St Bride's College is buzzing with excitement at the prospect of reviving the traditional celebration of the saint's day. When events get marred by murder it's natural that Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith will get called in to help the police with their inside knowledge. But why has somebody been crawling about on the chapel roof and who's obsessed with searching in the library out of hours?
“Snow. Ice. Snow. Ice. Bloody snow. Bloody ice.”
Jonty Stewart glanced over the top of his reading glasses to where his friend—plus lover plus colleague plus constant companion all rolled into one—was standing by the window. “As a song lyric that has originality but could be said to be slightly repetitious.”
Orlando Coppersmith snorted. “This weather is more than slightly repetitious. I suspect we’ll never see the sun again.”
“You can’t see the sun now, anyway. It’s evening.”
“Don’t quibble. You’re well aware of what I meant.”
“You should live at the top of Norway. They go without it for months on end. Anyway, you complain like billy-oh when it’s too hot.” Jonty went into his best impression of his friend’s deep tones. “Sun. Heat. Sun. Heat. Bloody sun. Bloody heat.”
“I’d come over there and slap you if I wasn’t too cold to move.”
“Then come away from the window. There’s bound to be a draught with the wind blowing a gale out there. It’s toasty by the fire.” Jonty patted the arm of his chair.
“My mother always said I’d get chilblains going from extreme cold straight into extreme heat.”
Jonty sighed. Orlando’s mother had told him many a thing, most of which appeared to have been a load of old rubbish. This particular tripe hadn’t been aired before, but then they’d not encountered a day quite so bitterly cold. January had certainly given them a blast of almost arctic conditions, conditions which they’d attempted to brave, but returned home after no more than ten minutes, feeling like explorers attempting to reach the South Pole and failing abysmally. No amount of wool or fur lined collars seemed able to keep the cold at bay.
“Why don’t you edge closer, then, old chap? At a rate of, say, one foot per minute? That should allow your feet to thaw without risking them provoking a medical episode.”
“To hell with it.” Orlando frowned, set his jaw, then strode over to a spot in front of the roaring hearth. “Ah. Bliss.”
“I told you so. When will you ever learn that Jonty knows best?”
Orlando muttered something along the lines of, “Never, I hope,” then carried on warming his backside.
As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her favourite genre is gay fiction, sometimes historical (sometimes hysterical) and usually with a mystery thrown into the mix. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, and International Thriller Writers Inc.
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