Death Can Be Habit-Forming: Another John Pickett Mystery by Sheri Cobb South
Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: John Pickett Mysteries #11
Publication Date: 8/24/21
Period: Regency London
Much to Julia Pickett’s dismay, our handsome, sweet-tempered, honorable, and very, very stubborn John Pickett has gotten himself into quite a pickle this time. Since they married a year ago, John has struggled with the inequity of their marriage. Julia is a Viscountess and John was born in the slums and learned to pick pockets almost before he could walk. Thanks to the foresight of Magistrate Colquhoun, John was steered down the right path and became a principal officer with Bow Street. However, because John mistakenly feels tainted by the actions he had to take in his last case, Brother, Can You Spare a Crime?, he resigned his position with Bow Street. He tried placing ads in the papers for conducting discreet inquiries, but got no results and has since been drudging away as a clerk in an office. So, when Julia bursts through the doors of his employer and tells him someone wants to hire him to conduct an inquiry – John cuts his employment ties and heads out to meet his new client. Perhaps he should have asked a few more questions and maybe he shouldn’t have agreed to take the case and meet those stipulations quite so easily… Oh well – it is too late now.
Mr. Edward Poole wants John to rescue Miss Lydia Bonner, his love interest, from an opium treatment facility, Larches. Lydia’s brother Phillip died at that same facility a little over a month ago. Phillip had been committed, against his will, by his guardians. Now, Lydia is there as well and Edward has been forbidden to see her. Edward is very concerned for Lydia and wants her rescued.
John’s plan is to have himself committed, by Julia, for treatment. While Julia is totally against the idea, she finally acquiesces and signs the commitment papers. Now, all John has to do is find and rescue Lydia Bonner. That all turns out to be easier said than done. Larches is a very strange place, with a strange staff and strange inmates. John got in easily enough, but he may not get out – and if he does, it may not be in one piece.
There were a couple of chapters where I held my breath all the way through. You see, I just love sweet, lovable John and I didn’t want to see him suffer. I was so fearful of what was going to happen to him – and it did – but the author made it bearable by slipping through time and not giving a blow-by-blow description of it. There were also a few things that just didn’t ring true to me, but if I tell you what they are, it will provide spoilers for the story.
I definitely recommend the book and hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. It is well-written, excellently paced, and populated with characters you’ll either love or hate – depending on their role. Then, when we celebrate with John and Julia at the end – well, that is really special. Now, we can all look forward to the next John Pickett adventure.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.