A Dead Bore

Sheri Cobb South
December 2008, Historical Mystery (Regency England)
Five Star, $25.95, 207 pages, Amazon ASIN 1594147116
Part of a series

Grade: B+
Sensuality: Kisses

A Dead Bore is anything but. The second installment in Sheri Cobb Southís John Pickett mysteries is a sweet story filled with humor, emotion and endearing characters.

Julia, Lady Fieldhurst needs to escape London for a while in wake of the scandal of her newly dead husband (see: In Miladyís Chamber). She accepts an invitation to join the Hollingshead family in the country for a short stay. Soon after arriving the cast of characters is unveiled and the stage is set for a mystery. When the local vicarage - and the vicar- is set afire Julia fears it was more intentional than accidental and calls on John Pickett, Bow Street Runner, to investigate.

John, very young and new to his career, is urged by Lady Fieldhurst to keep his true occupation hidden while he makes his initial inquires. He shows up in full livery declaring he is one of Lady Fieldhurstís footman. Together they go through the clues and finally figure out what happened to the vicar and why.

What a delightful tale! Julia is a character Iíve been dying to find in Regency England: a member of the ton that likes the life of society, but isnít shallow and has a good head on her shoulders. Sheís very much a lady, the type I would love to befriend.

John Pickett had me when he showed up as a footman. He is a sweet man, a little young, but wholly delectable. Iím a romance lover so I must look at him as a hero. And I judge him worthy. His devotion to Julia, his admiration and infatuation comes across as very real. John is also smart, but in a modest way. One might think he just stumbled into the right direction regarding the death of the vicar, but it is all summed up at the end showcasing Johnís intelligence and cunning.

Julia is slowly opening her eyes to the handsome runner. It will be exciting to watch these to come together in the course of the series. I would have liked a little more romance between them in this installment, yet I know you canít rush these things.

I see no faults with A Dead Bore. It might have lacked the extra oomph of a DIK, but still, Sheri Cobb South has penned a flat out good story - one that has a non-mystery fan like me clamoring for more. Ms. Southís name deserves to be spread as a buried treasure and Iím happy to lend a hand to that cause.

-- Lisa Gardineer

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