Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday Tangent with Charlie Cochrane

Household phrases and foot-in-mouth disease

I was inspired by a post I saw about local sayings and how they mean very little to those outside the area; it made me think about the things we say chez Cochrane, and whether they’re unique to us.  Some of them must be – I can’t imagine any other family says “Go for it, Marjorie!” when one of them wants to attempt something ambitious. That comes from way back in prehistory, my in-laws playing golf with friends and the aforesaid Marjorie being urged by her hubby to attempt an impossible shot.   Now it’s part of Cochrane folklore as is the (also golf based) exhortation to “Keep walking!” It’s often used in its full form, “In the words of your uncle,  eep walking!”, when we need to get away from the scene of the crime, either ours or someone else’s.  Refers to a wayward golf shot at a seaside links course which flew over a fence and bounced along a row of parked cars.

I’m fairly certain other people use the expression, “I haven’t laughed so much since we mowed the cat” or its variation, “I haven’t laughed so much since Granny caught her tit in the wringer.” The cat expression usually goes into the dialogue:
“I haven’t laughed so much since we mowed the cat.”
“We haven’t got a cat.”
“Not since we mowed it.”
Can’t help feeling we got that from a comedy show, as we got other Cochrane catch phrases.

Clearly some ‘in-house’ expressions are almost a code, indecipherable to the outside world, a sort of shorthand to save long winded explanation.  All Cochranes know where ‘The place we swam outside in the rain’ is and ‘the place which has chickens which doesn’t have chickens any more’ makes sense to us. Exaggeration, the skilful embroidering of the tale, is part of the fun. “The day Mum got drunk and set the restaurant on fire,” is a vile embellishment of an occurrence involving one or two glasses of wine and a mild incendiary incident.

Sometimes things get repeated because they were a classic case of foot in mouth and people will never be left to forget about them. In The Best Corpse for the Job, Adam can’t help saying the wrong thing when Robin’s around, probably because he fancies the pants off him. “I guess that makes me the chief suspect” is hardly the sort of phrase to use when you’re being interviewed after finding a dead body. Nor is, “Not my handbag. I keep that at home with the stilettos,” the best sort of joke to make to a policeman who might just be gay. I can sympathise with him, being liable to come out with the wrong remark at the wrong time. You want an example? Oh, you’ll have to get a glass or two inside me, first. I promise I won’t set the restaurant on fire...

The Best Corpse for the Job

Tea and sympathy have never been so deadly.

Schoolteacher Adam Matthews just wants to help select a new headteacher and go home. The governors at Lindenshaw St Crispin’s have already failed miserably at finding the right candidate, so it’s make or break this second time round. But when one of the applicants is found strangled in the school, what should have been a straightforward decision turns tempestuous as a flash flood in their small English village.

Inspector Robin Bright isn’t thrilled to be back at St. Crispin’s. Memories of his days there are foul enough without tossing in a complicated murder case. And that handsome young teacher has him reminding himself not to fraternize with a witness. But it’s not long before Robin is relying on Adam for more than just his testimony.

As secrets amongst the governors emerge and a second person turns up dead, Robin needs to focus less on Adam and more on his investigation. But there are too many suspects, too many lies, and too many loose ends. Before they know it, Robin and Adam are fighting for their lives and their hearts. 

The Best Corpse for the Job is available from Riptide Publishing.


Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for an e-book from Charlie Cochrane's backlist (excepting The Best Corpse for the Job). Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 29. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

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:


  1. Your writing is what made me love mm historicals! Thanks!


    1. Aw, thank you Susan. You've made my day!

  2. Family expressions can sound so innocuous yet bring back such memories. And I still cringe at some memories of saying the wrong thing under pressure. One can only hope that the other person barely noticed it, yet alone remembers it still ...

    1. I know the feeling. Especially if the family expression borders on the disgraceful.

  3. Thank you for the interesting post. I know I've been caught outside the household using some expressions that aren't exactly correct and have been laughed at for it.

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    1. *nods* I learned my lesson recently. We've always called a cafetiere a cafayteeairee as that's what someone we know calls it. My daughters thought that's how you really did pronounce it...

  4. I've read a couple of your books and loved them. I'm looking forward to reading more.

  5. We have such family favorites as " I AM being haved."


  6. Thanks for the great post! We definitely have quite a few of our family sayings as well that no one else would understand. amaquilante(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. The puzzled looks from strangers make them all worthwhile!

  7. Charlie you had me LMAO!!

    jasdarts at hotmail dot com

  8. I love the Cambridge fellows, so I await this book with"battered" breath :)
    bikemudd@yahoo dot codot uk