I love mysteries and the harder the author makes it for me to figure out exactly “whodunit” the better. So, imagine my delight when I began The Best Corpse for the Job by Charlie Cochrane and found myself immersed in a multi-layered mystery that grew more exciting with every plot twist and turn.
Candidates for the headteacher post at St. Crispin’s have not been having the best of luck—in fact one, Ian Youngs, has turned up dead during his interview process. Seemingly secure and nearly impossible to breach, the school’s impenetrable security means that the murder was an inside job. In fact, when Inspector Robin Bright takes on the case, he is met with half-truths and a shady process that casts a dubious light on every person on the interviewing panel—even young teacher, Adam Matthews.
But as hours turn to days, Robin is drawn to Adam for more than just information and the two begin to grapple with the fact that the lead investigator of the crime is falling for one of the potential suspects. As one secret after another is slowly revealed and a second murder is added to the heap, Robin begins to feel the pressure of turning the case around even more keenly. He can ill afford a dalliance with a suspect and yet he is drawn time and again to the safety and peace Adam’s home provides him. Now the murderer may be on the move for a third victim and Robin fears the next homicide corpse may be Adam himself.
Robin had secrets of his own well before his attraction to Adam gives him another. It seems that St. Crispin’s was a place where the young Mr. Bright bore up under cruel bullying while teachers turned a blind eye. In placing this subplot into the story, author Charlie Cochrane allows for some healing to occur when Robin meets Adam—a teacher who obviously would never have turned away a frightened and bullied boy such as Robin. On top of that story line, the author paints a vivid picture of two men who, while they do not hide their sexuality, neither are they out and proud at their jobs. By allowing both men to grapple with that fact, the author builds into their relationship a common bond and understanding, making their mutual affections for each other all the more real and tender.
Often times in novels such as this, there are either only wonderful romance elements or a weaker mystery element or vice versa. Not so in this story. Both the growing relationship between Robin and Adam and the ever-deepening mystery were solid and well done. I was kept guessing till the very end by the continual “red herrings” that peppered this murderous tale. With the introduction of each member of the interview panel, each with their own peculiar quirks and secrets to hide, the novel glided along shrouded in a murky fog of subterfuge and lies. All in all, this was a top-notch mystery with fascinating characters and humbly sweet heroes.
The Best Corpse for the Job by Charlie Cochrane is a must read for mystery fans and romance junkies alike. It’s a fast paced story that will keep you guessing to the end and a tender romance that will leave even the tough-hearted sighing just a bit by novel’s end.