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This was my first John Picket mystery and I am just sorry I had not discovered them sooner. The book was entertaining and fun to listen to as it contains many of the things I like to read about. There’s a mystery to solve, a romance to sigh over and it takes place during Regency England, a time period that I find fascinating, especially from a social history perspective.
Though the romance between John Pickett and Julia, Lady Fieldhurst develops across the series, you can pick a book midstream – like I did – and not be lost. Each mystery begins and is solved during the one book and the romance arc develops nicely. You understand what has gone on before but there are no detailed spoilers.
The writing is wonderful. There is no purple prose here. It’s crisp, expressive and articulate. The openness of some of the characters may not be in keeping with the times but it works well in telling this story to a 21st century audience who may not understand the nuances of Regency times; It was definitely a time where you could say much without using words at all.
Joel Froomkin’s narration is excellent. His portrayal of each character is very well done. The character of John Pickett is the star. His romantic feelings for Julia, his resignation at not being ‘the right sort’ for her, his desire to honour the man who helped him rise to his current position in society all come through in the narration.
The identity of the murderer is kept until the end. I did not guess who it was, but then I rarely do. I could find no fault in the steps and logic taken to determine who committed the murder. In fact, it’s a nice change of pace to read about solutions that don’t rely on technology to help solve a crime.
Finally, a special mention goes to the character of Emily Dunnington. She is an excellent representation of what was expected of and what was condoned for a woman of her standing but underneath this, she was still a person with thoughts and feelings who was trapped by her circumstances. I loved hearing about her life and listening to her advice to Julia.
Most highly recommended.
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Dinner Most Deadly was a really great read. While I loved all of it, I adored the mystery part. Dinner party tension has always been one of my favourite murder mystery themes. In this story, Lady Julia Fieldhurst’s friend Lady Emily Dunington throws a dinner party to introduce Julia to a choice of potential new lovers. After the dinner, one ends up dead - time to call Bow Street! I loved following all the clues. Sheri is a giving author who provides all the info to the reader as John discovers it. The reader is able to follow all the steps with John, or even may manage to get to the truth before him. The backstories that are delved into regarding the suspects were all very interesting, and made me wish there were more chapters about each of them. Sheri introduces some great new characters that I hope she will keep around or maybe just bring back from time to time. This is definitely one of Sheri’s strength. She writes fascinating and fabulous characters that you want to be included in more of the series. Have to admit as much as he’s unpleasant, I enjoy reading the passages about Lord Rupert Laytham. He’s such good value and entertaining in his role, however I’m very glad he’s not the MC;) I was also delighted that Sheri chose to bring back another character from the last book, which was wonderful, am hoping we get to see more from that character popping up from time to time too.
Other random mentions regarding the story... I loved the matchmaking scene, it was a highlight. I also appreciated the reference to the three Bs - birth, breeding and brass and their reality. Class differences are really highlighted/magnified in this story, and rightly so. John and Julia are headed into territory where this is going to impact them dramatically, so it was imperative that the story involve all aspects of their situation. It was carefully detailed throughout the story and historically correct.
Lastly, I have been constantly impressed throughout this series with how Sheri has created a MC/hero/detective who is truly a kind, sincere good man. It is very refreshing to have a leading male who is decent, and not brooding, domineering and forceful. As a reader that means that I can enjoy John’s character and his journey completely without being conflicted by that kind of boorish behavior. There was a scene that was very slightly rough, however I seriously LOVED that Sheri did not in any way portray the anger as romantic. Intense emotion yes, but not sexy. Very well written!!
‘He was able to clear me of any involvement in Fredrick’s death, because I was innocent!’
Pickett wondered wistfully if there was any way to prove a conspiracy of five and thus hang the lot of them.
‘No one threatened to stab him with the butter knife.’
‘Particularly if he himself were unaware of the problem until quite recently, say within the last hour or two.’
‘I can assure you Mr Pickett will be well familiar with masculine bluster, after all I have met his magistrate.’
‘Mr. Pickett is leaving now, please throw...show him out.’
There could be no other reason why, in a city of a million souls, the absence of one should be so keenly felt.
This attempt at the epistolary arts joined its predecessor in the flames.
‘I doubt there is a married couple in existence who has not considered annulmnet at some point, or divorce or murder.’
‘If youth but knew. If age but could.’ (Henri Estienne)
‘Balderdash, if she were capable of such a thing I should have been dead years ago.’
‘Ah, but you know that I am not much of a lady, and I believe you have a greater claim to the title of gentleman than many who are born to it.’
Life is too short and love is too precious to waste time on things that don’t matter, not really, not when one’s future happiness is at stake.’
‘Do you know, I don’t think I shall tell you. It seems to me that a great part of your charm springs from the fact that you are utterly unaware of your own appeal. I should hate to spoil it.’
Narration: Joel Froomkin is one of those narrators who immediately makes you forget that it is just one person voicing all the different characters. His choice of accents and tones for the many characters are distinct and fantastic. Joel completely immerses the reader in the story, so it’s like taking a mini holiday. I’m loving this series and very happy that it has such an excellent narrator!
For those who like to know... an excellent clean read with no sex, profanity or graphic violence.
I received Dinner Most Deadly: Another John Pickett Mystery free in exchange for an unbiased review.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about this story?
I loved the suspense between John Pickett and Lady Fieldhurst. I kept wondering if they would ever get together or not.
Any additional comments?
I love John Pickett Mysteries. I think this more to do with the characters themselves, that is not to say that the mystery was bad. On the contrary, I did not who did it until John did and I did not know why until he explained why they did it. The clues where there but I did not put them together at the time until John explained the motive.
The romance between John Pickett and Lady Fieldhurst is sort of stationary but there is a lot of intrigue of will they wont they. I felt sorry for John more in this book then any of the others because he was a bit of a yoyo when it came to his love interest. He wanted her and yet he knows nothing can come of it because of their stations in society. I am interested to see where the author would take it in the next book. If you have been following the series you will notice that there romance is progressing in intensity and feeling for each other.
I am glad that the same narrator is used throughout this series, since he does an excellent job of voicing the characters and I have gotten used to him narrating this series. I hate it when the narrator is changed in a series. Especially when they are good or you got used to them voicing the characters.
I would highly recommend this book/series!
It is a clean Mystery romance so it suitable for all!
Another John Pickett mystery that I couldn't put down.
I loved how the author tied various threads together in this novel. There was a clever murder mystery, the developing romance between Julia and John plus additional matchmaking involving minor characters. It's also set in the regency period which I adore.
I can't wait to find out how things eventually resolve for the couple. Although, if they get their HEA in the last book of the series I hope it doesn't happen too soon! As I'm not ready for this series to end.
The narration, as always, is excellent.
John Pickett is one the top 3 historical mystery series that I most frequently recommend to others.
I voluntarily reviewed a a copy provided free by the author at my own request.