cover image For Deader or Worse: Another John Pickett Mystery

For Deader or Worse: Another John Pickett Mystery

Sheri Cobb South. Sonatina, $12.95 trade paper (284p) ISBN 978-0-6927-2983-0

Affairs of the heart, both honorable and ignoble, take center stage in South’s touching sixth Regency-era mystery (after 2016’s Too Hot to Handel). In London, Bow Street runner John Pickett marries the beautiful Julia, Lady Fieldhurst, whom he met in 2006’s In Milady’s Chamber while investigating her first husband’s murder. On their honeymoon, the couple travels to the Somersetshire home of the bride’s parents, Sir Thaddeus and Lady Runyon, who are horrified by their daughter’s mésalliance. Pickett fortunately finds a way to prove himself when the Runyon family groom, Tom, is found murdered. Family secrets from across the countryside, the vicarage included, are soon revealed, as well as the fate of a long-missing daughter. A tepid ghost story and a villain earmarked too vigorously are less successful elements of the story. Much more winning is the depiction of a marriage made not for family or financial advantage but for true love, and the deepening of that love amid all manner of obstacles. (Mar.)