Giveaway + Blog Tour: Two Feet Under (Lindenshaw Mysteries #3) by Charlie Cochrane

Charlie Cochrane & Riptide Publishing are here today promoting the latest Lindenshaw Mystery novel, Two Feet Under. Be sure to enter to win some sweet swag below. Good luck!

An author’s sense of place

Last year, a fellow author asked me last how important is place in my stories. I was about to glibly answer, “It’s vitally important,” when I realised that was probably telling a bit of a porky pie. Sometimes it’s vital, other times it isn’t. Now, before you shake your head and say, “Well, that’s an incredibly helpful answer, Charlie!” let me try to make myself a bit clearer.

If you’re setting your story in a real location, that can be very helpful in immediately creating an intense sense of place among your readers. Mention London, New York, Cambridge, Paris, etc and the reader knows what the place is like, either from their own experience or from the depiction of these cities on film or TV. The author doesn’t have to describe in detail what the setting looks or sounds or feels like, although the author does have to be true to the reality. To have your main character walk down Oxford Street and depict the scene as though he’s walking down a country road would make you look like a twit.

The same applies if you create a fictional location within a well-known real place.  By all means create your own London borough or street or pub or whatever, but make it an authentic feeling one. A London park that didn’t have pigeons or grey squirrels or the sound of traffic or planes wouldn’t be like any London park this cockney ever knew!

Creating a completely fictional location is easier in that there are no preconceptions to overcome and less chance of making a howler, (“Tut, tut. They don’t have underground trains in Brighton.”) But it means that the author has to spend more time producing the sense of place, so that the reader can see it as clearly as the author can. Using an existing place and tweaking it slightly can be a useful strategy, although you can come a cropper. My dear pal Joan Moules set a story in a fictional seaside town and described it so well that people recognised it as Hastings even though it was called by another name. And then told her off because “there isn’t a clock on that monument!”

The other thing about a fictional setting is the challenge of keeping it all consistent, which is much easier when a real place is used. Is that fictional town east or west of that one? What shops are in that village? How do you get from a to b? All those have to be planned and put in place and even though the setting isn’t real, they have to feel true to life. A small English village with two pubs, a school and every conceivable shop, all of them thriving, wouldn’t be realistic in 2018.

The Lindenshaw mysteries are set in a fictional county that’s not generally unlike Hampshire, although it’s basically an amalgam of completely fictitious places. I tried to base Culdover, from “Two Feet Under”, on the town of Andover, but it refused to play ball. In my mind ,it kept developing into somewhere more upmarket! No matter how hard I tried to squeeze the “Two Feet Under” locations into places I’d been the more they refused to oblige.

So maybe authors (or at least this author) have less influence over their settings than they’d like.

Two Feet Under began life as a conversation in a car, when my eldest daughter and I got stuck in a traffic jam on the way to an author/reader event. It gained a criminal mastermind as a result of another conversation in the car with her younger sister. It got its background thanks to the popular television series “Time Team” and a setting care of the northern part of Hampshire. The plot came from the author’s twisted imagination, via a lot of checking. And at least one character is based on people I know. You have been warned. 

About Two Feet Under

Things are looking up for Adam Matthews and Robin Bright—their relationship is blossoming, and they’ve both been promoted. But Robin’s a policeman, and that means murder is never far from the scene.

When a body turns up in a shallow grave at a Roman villa dig site—a body that repeatedly defies identification—Robin finds himself caught up in a world of petty rivalries and deadly threats. The case seems to want to drag Adam in, as well, and their home life takes a turn for the worse when an ex-colleague gets thrown out of his house and ends up outstaying his welcome at theirs.

While Robin has to prove his case against a manipulative and fiendishly clever killer, Adam is trying to find out which police officer is leaking information to the media. And both of them have to work out how to get their home to themselves again, which might need a higher intelligence than either a chief inspector or a deputy headteacher.

About the Lindenshaw Mysteries

Adam Matthews's life changed when Inspector Robin Bright walked into his classroom to investigate a murder.

Now it seems like all the television series are right: the leafy villages of England do indeed conceal a hotbed of crime, murder, and intrigue. Lindenshaw is proving the point.

Detective work might be Robin's job, but Adam somehow keeps getting involved—even though being a teacher is hardly the best training for solving crimes. Then again, Campbell, Adam's irrepressible Newfoundland dog, seems to have a nose for figuring things out, so how hard can it be?

About Charlie Cochrane

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.

Connect with Charlie:
     Twitter: @charliecochrane

To celebrate the release of Two Feet Under, one lucky winner will receive a swag bag, including magnet, napkins, bookmark, pencils, hanging decoration, postcards, and a coaster! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 13, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!


  1. Love your take on location in stories. You'd never know Nebraska isn't only cornfields by some books. It's not, just to make clear. ;-) Love a little mystery in my life. Can't wait to check out your books.

    1. Thanks! I bet Nebraska is a wonderfully varied place.

  2. Thank you for the post and input on settings.
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  3. Thanks for hosting me. PS could you please change the tag and the name at the top? It's Cochrane, not Cochet.

  4. Thank you for the interesting post, Charlie. I must recognise when I'm reading a book about a place I know, I keep looking for recognisable places (such as coffee shops or pubs...)
    I love this series. A new book is always great news

  5. Excellent post on location/settings. I love it when books are set in locations I know - but it's also just as fun to learn about new places too!

    1. well forgot contact info! LOL! sxswann(at)gmail(dot)com

    2. *nods* Yes, I get a real wanderlust sometimes when I read something set in a new-to-me location.