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Publisher's Summary

Returning to London after his honeymoon (For Deader or Worse), Bow Street Runner John Pickett soon discovers wedded bliss is not without its pitfalls, as he finds it galling to be financially dependent on Julia, his aristocratic bride. When he is summoned to the home of Lady Washbourn, Pickett finds he has something in common with the young countess: like himself, Lady Washbourn has married above her station and now finds herself adrift in a world to which she does not truly belong.

After a series of unsettling incidents - dismissed as accidents by Lord Washbourn and his mother, the dowager countess - Lady Washbourn fears her husband is trying to kill her. The couple will be hosting a masquerade ball, and the countess fears the anonymity of masks and costumes may afford Lord Washbourn an opportunity to make another, bolder attempt on her life. Tricked out in fancy dress for the occasion, Pickett feels more than a little foolish, but when one of the housemaids dies shortly after stealing a sip of Lady Washbourn’s ratafia, he realizes her ladyship’s fears were not unfounded. 

Then the coroner’s jury returns a verdict of death by natural causes, and Lord Washbourn makes it clear that he considers the matter settled. Pickett stakes his professional reputation on proving the maid was murdered with a poison intended for her mistress. And with a reward of fifty pounds sterling riding on his successful resolution of the case, the marriage Pickett saves just might be his own.

©2018 Sheri Cobb South (P)2018 Sheri Cobb South

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Marriage can Mean Murder

This is a masterpiece for Sheri. The writing is, as always, excellent, the humor subtle, and the action enough to keep us excited without wearing out us readers with angst. More so, however, is how Sheri depicts the relationship, the newly married status of John and Julia. Without going into detail, she nicely shows their physical passion for one another, and the passion of their personalities. The conflicts between them are not at all contrived, and the way the two argue is so realistic I found myself cracking up, while hurting for how their pasts hurt them and threaten their love for one another.

I stayed up half the night to finish it, something I do rarely any more. But it was worth the yawns the next day.

Yes, I guessed the villain fairly easily, and in the story, doing so is just not important. On the contrary, I couldn't wait for the moment of revelation.

Can't wait for Book 8. Some interesting days ahead for our protagonists.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The best one in the series yet

In <strong>Mystery Loves Company</strong> by Sheri Cobb South, John and Julia Pickett have now been married for two months, and the honeymoon is nearing its end. Bow Street Runner John is starting to feel like a "kept man," with his noble wife, Julia, expecting him to dress up for dinner, wear clothes made to measure, and get his hair cut by her first husband's barber. So when he is asked to help Lady Washbourne, the daughter of a tradesman who married an earl, John feels a connection with her situation. She has had a series of "accidents" that make her worry that her husband is trying to murder her and invites John and Julia to attend an upcoming masquerade ball, so John can keep an eye on things. Julia is thrilled to be invited to a costume ball and makes John wear a costume with a cumbersome sword attached.

But just as the ball seems to be winding down successfully, a maid drinks a glass of peach ratafia left untouched by one of the guests and falls over dead. Though the coroner and his jury declare the death natural causes, John suspects prussic acid, now commonly known as cyanide. He investigates to try to save Lady Washbourne's life but also has a lot to do to save his marriage.

I have listened to all the previous books in the John Pickett series and have enjoyed each one. <strong>Mystery Loves Company</strong> continues with this pattern of excellence, drawing the readers thoroughly into the plot, so I didn't want to take even the slightest break in my recording. John Pickett proves his gift for detection as he solves this case, despite being the youngest detective among the Bow Street Runners. The details of his research into prussic acid and ratafia, which has an almond taste, become fascinating as John gradually puts the pieces together.

The characters in this book are relatable, and we feel a lot of empathy for their situations. We connect to the conflict between John and Julia over money and lifestyle, as she can't understand why he isn't happy with all the advantages her money can bring, while he wants to be able to provide for his wife and not depend entirely upon her. When they have their big fight, we listeners cringe because we want them to success in their marriage. We also enjoy getting to meet John's former school master, whose actions in teaching John to read changed his life. On the other hand, we also become reunited with John's old master and the man's daughter, John's first love, whom he now recognizes as crass and money- grubbing.

The audio edition of the book is performed by Joel L. Froomkin, one of the top narrators in the current field of audiobooks. He does a great job of creating voices for each character and does a highly believable Scottish accent for Mr. Calhoun, the head of Bow Street. Froomkin's performance makes this book all the more believable and goes a long way towards making us feel thoroughly attached to the book, not wanting to pause it at all.

I highly enjoyed listening to <strong>Mystery Loves Company</strong> and think this is perhaps the strongest of the books in the series yet. It combines a good mystery plot with highly identifiable characters with whom we really connect. This series has a bit more personal details than most cozy mysteries, but I have never found that to bother me because they are written so well. I really loved this book and give ir five stars.

<strong>Disclaimer:</strong> I received this book for free for review purposes, but that in no way had any influence on the content of my review.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan
  • MKE
  • 09-23-18

Excellent plot!

marriage, cozy-mystery, regency, relationships

Two couples with the potential for some major resentments. The client is a young woman with pots of money but not the same class as her husband, and the man from Bow Street is a Runner while his new wife is the widow of a viscount. The client hires the runner because she is afraid that her husband is trying to murder her. The plot has lots of twists and not a few red herrings before coming to a positive conclusion. Quite well done!
Joel Froomkin gives his usual fine performance as narrator.
I requested and received a free audio copy from the author via AudioBookBOOM.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Excellent installment - just keeps getting better

Excellent follow-up to the last book. There is great character development and hints of new characters to further expand the series. I've thoroughly enjoyed every book in this series. I'm anxiously awaiting some movement in the mystery of John Picket's father. I feel certain he will pop in at some point. In any event, I can't wait for the next book!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderfully entertaining Plot & Characters

I haven't read the other books in this series, but I didn't need to because Sheri gave enough of the backstory to keep me from getting lost. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it kept my attention and I didn't want to put it down. The characters were relatable and the mystery was fun and not too predictable. It was just a very well written mystery that offers more with the side story of the newly married couple.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan M
  • Southwest
  • 10-05-18

"Lord" John and Lady Fieldhurst-Pickett

Sheri Cobb South has written 2 great stories in this book. I love the characters of John Pickett and Lady Fieldhurst (aka Julia Fieldhurst-Pickett) and Mr. Colquhoun. This book deals with marriage and murder. I loved how the killer was revealed and it was a surprise to me. The twists the author writes are so well done. The imagery in the story is so vivid, and the details are perfect. The humor is an added plus. Joel Froomkin performs this book (and series) perfectly. He gives distinguishable voices to the various characters. One can hear who is speaking by just listening to his smooth sigh voice. I requested this review copy audiobook and have voluntarly written this review. I cannot recommend this book and series enough. This is a delightful listen and continuation to the series. I am looking forward to listening to more books by this author and narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Please give me more!

A few months ago I got the opportunity to review For Deader or Worse, the previous book in this series. I have no qualms saying that it was the narrator Joel Froomkin (a.k.a Joel Leslie) that made me pick it up. He's a fabulous narrator and I was curious to know him outside the m/m genre where I'm so used to listening to him. It didn't take long for me to fall in love with these characters, this world, so when there was an opportunity to listen to this book I couldn't request it fast enough.

And I'm so happy I did, I had a wonderful time listening to this book, to visit with Julia and John again. The Bow Street Runner and the Lady.. It does have a nice ring to it if you ask me. Anyway, this time John is asked to look into a series of accidents that might not be accidents. Lady Washbourn is convinced that her husband is trying to kill her. John is far from convinced but promises to look into it. During a masquerade ball hosted by the Washbourns, one of the housemaids dies after taking a sip from a glass meant for lady Washbourn. John is convinced something sinister is going on, but proving it and finding the guilty party is an entirely different matter.

At the same time, things between him and Julia aren't going as smoothly anymore. Sadly the honeymoon is over and now they need to agree and understand each other’s differences. Emotions run high, things are said, feelings are hurt and both being proud and stubborn people, they are facing some rough times. I'm not a fan of drama for drama's sake or as a filler to increase word count. But credible drama, drama that fits with the characters and the story, that's something else. And in this case it's the latter. I believe in it, believe in the reactions from both Julia and John. It wasn't overly dramatic, but showed us that the couple don't only have smooth sailings and happy times.

So back to the narration and Joel Froomkin. I'm a fan, a huge one. Froomkin nails each character perfectly and he brings the listener back in time, back to Victorian London. You can see it before you; feel the feelings of the characters. You can't really smell it, but considering the era, I think that's a good thing ;)
Anyway, Froomkin adds emotions to his narration, he is the story and the characters, which for me is the sign of a great narrator and why I keep coming back to his books.

I loved listening to this book and I'm eagerly waiting the next instalment. Something tells me the couple are in for some challenges ahead.

A copy of this audiobook was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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This Series Keeps Getting Better and Better

This series is so wonderful. I thoroughly enjoy Ms. Cobb South's writing. Her wit is brilliant, her characters are fun, witty and loveable. AND she weaves an awesome mystery that keeps the tale fresh. This particular mystery is about a wife who suspects her husband wants to get rid of her permanently so that he can move on with his first love, who has recently become a widow.

I really appreciate that each book in this series can stand on its own. The listener is given enough backstory that he/she feels up-to-date on previous events and can enjoy the story in full. Of course, the backstory will only make the listener want to backtrack and listen to the story from the beginning. Be warned..this series is addicting!

Which leads me to the narration/performance of Joel Froomkin. Brilliant. I have graduated Mr. Froomkin to the ranks of my all time favorite narrator, Barbara Rosenblat and her Vicky Bliss and Amelia Peabody narrations. He (Mr. Froomkin) is so good! Mr. Froomkin has truly developed this cast of characters and made them 'real' to the listener. I feel like I really know Mr. Colquhoun, Julia and John.

You will laugh out loud and maybe even gasp aloud as you listen to the tale unfold. A thoroughly enjoyable listening experience. It's no wonder the team of (Cobb South and Froomkin) have received Listener Awards.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author. I voluntarily created this review and appreciate the opportunity to share this recommendation with others. Thank you.

CONTENTS: no worries (No S,V,L)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A great historical mystery

This is the first book that I’ve listened to in this series, but I had no trouble getting into it. Sheri Cobb South has written a great story... great plot, character development, and details. I’ll certainly be checking out the other books in the series!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and I have voluntarily left this review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dee
  • LA
  • 10-12-18

Another excellent listen!

I absolutely cannot get enough of John Pickett! He's settling into married life in this listen and the growing pains have begun. The aristocratic life is an acquired taste and as John muddles through, another murder needs his deft hand (and head.)

This was a simple mystery but therein lies the genius. No spoilers though.

The narration continues to blow my mind. The variety of characters just burst to life!

I haven't check yet but I hope there is a book eight.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • choccygrl
  • 11-27-18

Fun historical mystery

I picked this up because I really like the narrator. Plus it's a historical mystery and those really are my cup of tea. I enjoyed the mystery, and even though I'd not read/listened to any of the previous stories I didn't have too much problems with picking up the relationship and the history behind it. But it's Joel L Froomkin's narration that really makes this story for me.

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  • Layla
  • 11-27-18

A great series!!!!!!

I loved this one because I don't know who did it. I usually guess the murderer even though I guess for the wrong reason.
All I am saying is that the author plays with words. you think she means one thing when actually she is talking about something else.
I was really surprised who the murderer ended up being. I didn't see it coming.
Also, the two lovebirds have there first fight and there is a surprise towards the end.
The narrator is brilliant I am so glad that he did all the books in the series.

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  • Inishowen Cailin
  • 09-26-18

I love this series.

I love listening to this series and I eagerly await each addition as it is published. The narration is always very good.

John Pickett always seems to find the most intriguing cases to solve. This one was no exception.
I liked that John's new case involved his attending a masked ball. He was out of his element and it was humorous to watch him grapple with social niceties and fashion. I'm hoping to see more of John attending high society events in the future.
His relationship with Lady Julia has its rocky times but they are always outweighed by sweet, romantic moments. You can't help but want good things to happen for the pair of them.

I enjoyed listening to this book very much. I can't wait for the next one.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy provided by the author at my own request.

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  • Norma Miles
  • 09-25-18

With little legal recourse...

John Pickett, proud but relatively impecunious bow street runner when compared with his aristocratic lady wife, Julia, is finding married life deliciously enjoyable but, simultaneously, very hard to accept. Julia wants the change in his situation to reflect her own ideas of proprietary and has the money to fund it. John feels the changes not only undermine his ability to support his wife from his own income but also indicate that he is being forced to give up all of his life for appearances same for fear Julia will think less of him.
Meanwhile, he is asked for help by another who married above their station - a wealthy brewer's daughter, now Lady Washburn, fears that her husband is trying to kill her. Her father's full fortune is now his, following the brewer's death. And her husband's former love before their marriage of convenience is free to marry again.

This delightful series set in a period of manners and class restrictions now mostly left behind, delivers both an enjoyable mystery to solve as well as the ongoing story of Lady Julia and one time street urchin, John, attempting to defy the conventions of the day to be together. Narrated again by Joel Froomkin, the numerous characters further come to life as each is given distinctive voice, be they male or female. His style of reading, too, although initially can seem a little unconventional, somewhat echos the feel of the period and carries the story nicely to the reader.

Mystery Loves Company is an excellent stand alone addition to the John Pickett Mystery series, one which readers of the earlier books will definitely not want to miss, but also a good start point for anyone as yet unfamiliar with the stories. There is also the additional bonus following of a short entitled, Tales Out of School. My thanks to the rights holder who, at my request, freely gifted me a complimentary copy of the book, via Audiobook Boom. This series just keeps getting better.