I’ll be chatting to Charlie next Tuesday about the book and the inspiration for it.
An invitation to stay at a friend of the Stewart family’s stately home can only mean one thing for Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith—a new case for the amateur sleuths! With two apparently unrelated suicides, a double chase is on.
But things never run smoothly for the Cambridge fellows. In an era when their love dare not speak its name, the chance of discovery (and disgrace) is ever present—how do you explain yourself when a servant discovers you doing the midnight run along the corridor?
The chase stops being a game for Orlando when the case brings back memories of his father’s suicide and the search for the identity of his grandfather. And the solution presents them with one of the most difficult moral decisions they’ve had to make…
“Are we content, Dr. Coppersmith?” Jonty, warm from the port and just slightly dishevelled from an encounter with the family’s Irish wolfhound, stood in Orlando’s doorway in the guest corridor to say his goodnights. Although, as usual, the loquacious toad couldn’t just say “see you tomorrow” and have done with it. Not when five hundred words would suffice.
“We are. Two mysteries. What more could a man want?” The man he loved to share his bed with him, obviously, but neither of them would be getting that. They’d managed a bit of room hopping at the Old Manor—where nobody seemed to bat an eyelid—and when they took a two-bedroom suite at a hotel, but neither of them was going to risk a pyjama-clad slink along the corridor at Fyfield.
Maybe Jonty was feeling the same reluctance to part for the night.
“The nature of the cases not worrying you?”
“No!” Orlando said, avoiding Jonty’s gaze but not able to avoid the disapproving sniff. “Sorry, shouldn’t have been so abrupt. No, I’m fine.”
Jonty leaned his head against the doorframe, clearly weighing up whether he was being told the truth and how far to pursue it if he wasn’t. Orlando had seen that determined look before.
“As you wish.” Jonty stifled a yawn. “I shall see you in the morning. Breakfast and then interrogating the chambermaids?”
“Something like that. Sleep well.”
“I will. My head will hit the pillow and then it’ll be morning tea time.” Jonty slipped away to his room, leaving Orlando, unmoving, staring at the door. Sleep wasn’t going to be easy to find, with dormant memories of his father—cruelly awoken more than once today—dogging his thoughts. He was far too used to having Jonty’s cold feet in the small of his back or his gentle snoring in his ear.
Maybe he could lull himself to sleep by dreaming up a plan of campaign to solve what seemed like two impossible problems.