DINNER MOST DEADLY – Sheri Cobb South
Another John Pickett Mystery
Five Star Publishing (Hardcover)
ISBN 13: 978-1432830960
It has been six months since Lady Fieldhurst's husband was murdered. Now that Julia has moved from deep mourning blacks, to half mourning grey, her friend, Emily, Lady Dunnington, decides what Julia needs to get out of the mopes is a lover. She plans to give a dinner party where all six guests are male, five for Julia to choose from and one for herself. (Emily and her earl go their separate ways; the succession is secure.)
Julia is not keen on the idea, but she's unable to overrule her friend. The dinner proceeds, but it's not as jovial as Emily desired. It seems that no one but Emily likesSir Reginald Montague, the man she chose for herself. In fact, all the guests said their thanks and goodbyes as soon as dinner was over, with Sir Reginald being the last to take his leave. However, it wasn't the leave he meant to take. A shot rang out, and the ladies found him dead in the hall by the front door.
Lady Dunnington sent a message to the Bow Street Runner office and asked them to send investigator John Pickett, a young rising star of the force. Julia has mixed feelings about meeting Pickett again. He solved the murder of her husband, Viscount Fieldhurst, thereby proving her innocence. They worked together and she's grateful—and attracted---to him. Her marriage was an unhappy one as is told in IN MILADY'S CHAMBER, the prequel to this novel. In it, unbeknownst to both Julia and John, when Julia traveled to Scotland and used the name Pickett, and John followed and did not correct the innkeeper's conclusion that they were married, they actually are legally married under Scottish law! John recently learned of this and now faces the task of informing Julia. Their stations in life—not to mention the state of their fortunes—make for an impossible situation! Is an annulment possible? If so, what steps must be taken?
Ms. South has made the Regency era come to life in both her mysteries and romances. She once again presents us with two extremely likable characters in Julia and John and puts them in the middle of a puzzling plot. Who shot Sir Reginald, and why? At least a half dozen suspects appear likely. Along with the mystery is the dilemma faced by Julia and the younger by two years John Pickett…both decent and honorable souls.