When amateur sleuth Jonty Stewart comes home with a new case to investigate, his partner Orlando Coppersmith always feels his day has been made. Although, can there be anything to solve in the apparent mercy killing of a disabled man by a doctor who then kills himself, especially when everything takes place in a locked room?
But things are never straightforward where the Cambridge fellows are concerned, so when they discover that more than one person has a motive to kill the dead men—motives linked to another double death—their wits get stretched to the breaking point.
And when the case disinters long buried memories for Jonty, memories about a promise he made and hasn’t kept, their emotions get pulled apart as well. This time, Jonty and Orlando will have to separate fact from fiction—and truth from emotion—to get to the bottom of things.
Guest Post: You say either, we say either. But you say jelly, we’ll say jam
by Charlie Cochrane
Jelly is a wobbly, gelatine based concoction to be eaten with fruit or cream or inserted into a trifle. It’s what those west of the Atlantic refer to as jello. What they call jelly, that wonderful mixture of fruit and pectin and sugar that’s delicious spread on muffins, those of us in the UK call jam. And the muffins we spread it on aren’t what you think of as muffins; those are cakes. Two nations divided by a shared language; names of foods are just the start of the nightmare for those who make the trip over the ocean. Our scones are not your scones, our biscuits are not your biscuits and your broilers are a total mystery to us!
The Cochranes often holiday on the east coast of the USA. Let me state here and now we always have a fantastic time and are made to feel incredibly welcome wherever we go. (Although note to those of you across the Atlantic – the UK is a big place, full of people. If we say we’re from England, it isn’t likely that we’ll know your friend in London or Manchester or Edinburgh, so don’t be disappointed when we don’t. Just sayin’.)
The fun and games with the subtle differences in the language, which make everyday life an adventure, spice up our holidays no end. If you live in Massachusetts and ever see a family in your local supermarket, scratching their heads and wondering whether what was in the package was what they actually wanted, that could be us. You see chips are chips, not fries. And what you refer to as chips we call crisps. Your crisp (as in apple crisp) is properly called crumble (as in apple crumble). Let’s not even get into the difference in brands – the Coca Cola over here is much less sweet and cloying this side of the pond, or at least it is to our tastes.
It’s not just about nosh. Driving cars is just as much of a linguistic challenge. We have bonnets and boots – you have hoods and trunks. Our cars don’t run on gas (we use that for heating and cooking), they run on petrol. And we drive around roundabouts, not rotaries. As for sport, football is football and always will be. Not soccer. And hockey is played on grass, not ice. That’s ice hockey. And toilets are toilets, not restrooms. Am I sounding too grouchy? Sorry, I’ll behave myself.
There is a real implication for the author who uses an argot particular to their country. It’s quite right that if a story is set in the UK that it should employ UK terms, especially in dialogue. I stopped reading a mainstream cosy mystery series, set in England but written by an American, because I kept finding bits of dialogue which sounded “off”. I was shouting at the page, “We don’t use that word!” In all seriousness, each duff word or expression is like a bad note in music; enough of them jars so much you give up.
And an appreciation of the finer differences in language can avoid all sorts of embarrassment, particularly if you travel east to visit us. You see, if you say someone’s pissed, over here that doesn’t mean they’re angry. It means they’re drunk or might have wet themselves. And here, ‘period’ is more likely to be used as a noun for a menstrual bleed rather than a full stop. Don’t even think about the word ‘fanny’ – that’s not your backside, that’s…well just don’t use that word in polite company.
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for your choice of an a ebook from Charlie Cochrane’s backlist (excluding Lessons for Sleeping Dogs.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 17, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your contact information so we can reach you if you win!
About the Author & Links:
As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.
Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.