Review – Jury of One by Charlie Cochrane

Jury Of One review coverJury of One
Series: Lindenshaw Mysteries, #2
Author: Charlie Cochrane
Publisher: Riptide
Our rating: 4 stars

Publication date: March 21, 2016
Genre: Mystery (M/M)
Length: 246 pages
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Review Summary: A sweet cozy mystery set in an English village, with a male/male romance theme to the series.

Plot Summary/Description

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1 IN THE SERIES

Detective Inspector Robin Bright has moved in with teacher Adam Matthews, but the cozy village life they’re settling into is interrupted when Robin has to investigate a violent murder in a neighboring town.

Both men are drawn into danger as Robin investigates the crime, and their relationship is threatened by baggage reappearing on the doorstep in the form of an old crush of Adam’s.

Jury of One Review

This is a cute series and I’m definitely rooting for Robin and Adam, who are both very sweet guys.

The mystery side worked well. I didn’t guess the solution too soon, and all of the possibilities were realistic. There were a lot of coincidences, but that does happen, especially in the gay community in small towns. ‘It’s a small world’ is never truer than when you’re a member of a minority in a small town.

It’s definitely a cozy mystery – Robin is the sweetest police inspector imaginable. The relationship has its ups and downs but in the most realistic way, with misunderstandings over small things. And when they’re in danger, the tension, love and fear is very real.

When I picked up my review copy on Netgalley and saw it was #2 in a series, I bought #1 (The Best Corpse for the Job – view on Amazon) and read that first. I loved it, and definitely recommend starting with that one if you haven’t got it yet.

In book 1, when the guys meet, Robin has to keep Adam at arm’s length, totally believably, because he’s investigating a murder in the school where Adam works. There’s delicious chemistry between them, and we know they’re going to get it on as soon as the investigation is over 😉 Now they’re living together, and the relationship has moved on into something more lasting. I would have liked to see the getting together part, but this is sweet romance, with no graphic scenes.

It’s a nice cozy read and recommended.

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Review – Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann

Three Bags Full by Leonie SwannTitle: Three Bags Full
Series: Sheep Detective Story #1
Author: Leonie Swann
Publisher: Doubleday
Our rating: 3.5 stars

Publication date: June 2005
Genre: Cozy mystery
Length: 352 pages
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Review Summary: A fun and endearing slow-paced cozy mystery featuring a small flock of sheep as detectives.

Plot Summary/Blurb

When George Glenn of Glennkill on the coast of Ireland is found dead in a field, apparently murdered with a spade, his faithful flock of sheep don’t know what to think. Spurred on by Miss Maple, the smartest sheep in Glennkill (and possibly the world), they try to recall what they learned in the detective story that George once read them, so they can gather clues and track down suspects.

Three Bags Full Review

This is such a cute idea! The sheep are wonderful characters and the story, if a little confused and slow in places, follows their meandering path as detectives.

The sheep are from different traditional breeds so it’s easy to believe they might have different characteristics. There’s Mopple the Whale, a plump Merino who never stops eating but has the best memory; Zora, a sure-footed blackfaced ewe who likes to perch on a cliff ledge looking over the abyss to the sea far below; Sir Ritchfield, the lead ram, who’s getting old and deaf these days but still has the sharpest eyesight; Othello, a black sheep whose had a past life in a circus; and many more. They all stand out as unique and memorable personalities.

Then of course there are the human characters. We get to hear their conversations whenever the sheep can listen in, which is often enough, since many of them visit the field and George’s caravan where he seems to have hidden certain things (whose significance is clearer to us than to the sheep). He was also more popular with the ladies than with the men of the village.

George’s character is slowly revealed too. The sheep, naturally enough, rate him on the basis of the grazing he provided and the stories that he read to them every day. It’s only when another shepherd comes along who is more interested in sheep as meat than as individuals, that they truly come to see how lucky they were. And we have to piece together George’s human history from indications that mean nothing to them – that he owned a gun, for example.

The author is German so I was reading an English translation, and unfortunately the translator clearly wasn’t Irish. I kept forgetting we were in Ireland at all because there was no Irish dialect or rhythm in the dialogue. There are none of the ‘typical’ Irish names – no Brendan, Patrick or Michael; no Bridget, Mary or Siobhan – and George, the patron saint of England, seems to me a decidedly unlikely name for a man born in the Republic of Ireland in (presumably) the 1960s. Of course we don’t want all the stereotypes rolled out, but a few minor characters with more common Irish names would have helped give a sense of place.

It’s very funny in places because of the sheep’s childlike (or sheeplike) interpretations of various signs and clues. They are simple-minded but logical and often adorable.

The solution to the mystery was a little anticlimactic for me. The motives didn’t quite ring true. But I did like the way the author built up the final scene and I loved Fosco who enjoyed his Guinness in true Irish style!

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