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Publisher's Summary

When a rash of jewel thefts strikes London, magistrate Patrick Colquhoun deploys his Bow Street Runners to put a stop to the crimes. The Russian Princess Olga Fyodorovna is to attend a production of Handel’s Esther at Drury Lane Theatre, where she will wear a magnificent diamond necklace. The entire Bow Street force will be stationed at various locations around the theatre - including John Pickett, who will occupy a box directly across from the princess. 

In order to preserve his incognito, Pickett must appear to be a private gentleman attending the theatre. Mr. Colquhoun recommends that he have a female companion - a lady, in fact, who might prevent him from making any glaring faux pas. But the only lady of Pickett’s acquaintance is Julia, Lady Fieldhurst, to whom he accidentally contracted a Scottish irregular marriage several months earlier, and with whom he is seeking an annulment against his own inclinations - and for whom he recklessly declared his love, secure in the belief he would never see her again. 

The inevitable awkwardness of their reunion is forgotten when the theatre catches fire. In the confusion, the Russian diamonds are stolen, and Pickett is struck in the head and rendered unconscious. Suddenly it is up to Julia not only to nurse him back to health, but to discover his attacker and bring the culprit - and the jewel thief - to justice.

©2016 Sheri Cobb South (P)2018 Sheri Cobb South

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  • Avid Audio Listener
  • 31-01-2018

another good read

I love the fact that Julia is the active sleuth in this book. This is probably more romance then mystery, and I figured out the villain pretty quickly; however, those factors do not diminish from the pleasure I received from reading this book.

Although I received a copy of the book from the author, I was under no obligation to give it a favorable review.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Victoria J. Mejia-Gewe
  • 20-02-2018

A terrific historical mystery

Having accidentally gotten himself irregularly married to the widowed Julia, Lady Fieldhurst, Bow Street Runner John Pickett works to fight a jewel thief in Sheri Cobb South's Too Hot to Handel. Mr. Pickett earlier declared his love for Lady Fieldhurst and then announced that he would never see the lady of a much higher station again. However, he resorts to asking Lady Fieldhurst to join him at a performance of Handel's oratorio of Esther. There the Bow Street Runners are holding a sting to catch the jewel thieves, and Mr. Pickett needs the help of Lady Fieldhurst to help him go undercover at the theater. As the final act begins, Mr. Pickett is surprised to see the royals start to leave, long before scheduled, and soon the word spreads that the Drury Lane Theater is on fire. Mr. Pickett performs some acts of heroism and saves Lady Fieldhurst, but he ends up seriously injured himself.

At this point, Lady Fieldhurst realizes just how much she truly loves Mr. Pickett and determines to nurse him herself. In the meantime, she finds the stolen diamonds in Mr. Pickett's pockets, but before she can turn them over to the police, they go missing yet again. As a protege of Patrick Colcuhoun, the head of the Bow Street Runners, Mr. Pickett gets the best care possible, but even that may not be enough to save him. Thus Mrs. Fieldhurst takes on her own investigation to get to the bottom of the case.

Too Hot to Handel is a terrific, riveting book that kept me drawn to every minute of the book. Much of the book spends its time in a romance between Mr. Pickett and Lady Fieldhurst, as she comes to realize how much she loves him and wants to be his wife. I usually don't like strong romances, preferring only gentle romances in connection with cozy mysteries. But I found myself rooting for this couple, and any discussions of sex is done obliquely. I really enjoyed the characters in the book and the way they came to life.

The plot of the book had interesting details that concluded in a strong manner. I liked the historical setting of this book and the details of high society in the 1800s. The book also concludes with a short story that continues the plot of the novel Too Hot to Handel.

Joel Froomkin narration the audio edition of this book, making it an enjoyable experience to listen to. I liked his performance, which worked with the text to keep me attracted and listening eagerly.

I really liked Too Hot to Handel, but I definitely wish I had read the first books before getting to this one. I have already purchased books .5 and one, eager to listen to the previous books in the series. I give this book five stars.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • sslarigo
  • 19-02-2018

Does not disappoint -- great read!

I'm making my way through the series and continue to delight in the characters and the story line. Light reading to be sure, but engaging and well written. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Ricks
  • 02-04-2018

Wonderful series!

I listened to the first book in this series and when I got the chance to get this book, I jumped on it! I enjoy the polite society of the 1800's English high society and the polite zingers they can throw. In this book, John is incapacitated after a very heroic act. Julia nurses him and learns more about herself in the process. I like that she isn't in denial the whole book, she makes decisions and goes with them. She slowly puts the pieces of the puzzle together. Another great listen, Joel Froomkin does a fantastic job narrating the story. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • alias11
  • 21-03-2018

Loved It!

This is a fun listen. This time around John Picket is mostly a silent character as he has been seriously injured in a theater fire. Most of the story centers around Viscountess Julia Fieldhurst's efforts to solve the mystery of the theft of a diamond necklace. While well-meant, her efforts often misfire or lead to further complications and comedies of error. The Magistrate, Mr. Colquhoun continues to be a source of support to John and Julia, while also adding a dose of humor from time to time. The author provides the reader/listener with all the clues to solve the mystery early on, and the pleasure is in watching the novel's characters fumble their way to the truth...and for John and Julia, the resolution of their unintended marriage.

The narration is excellent, both for the male and female characters, although I hope "Julia" never embarks on a singing career:-D The delivery is measured and very easy on the ears.

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

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Claire
  • 19-03-2018

This was so much fun the listen to

What a great story line, I could not put this down, it held me captive.

I haven't read the other John Pickett books and I could tell that I was missing things, but not enough to affect my enjoyment of the book, it has however left me wanting to go back and get the earlier books.

The characters in this book are really vivid and I enjoyed getting to know a bit about them. I was quite impressed with Julia, she's rather remarkable for the era that she lives in, very determined.

The narration is well done, I enjoyed the character voices and the delivery was smooth and emotive.

I received a free copy of this book from the author and/or narrator and/or publisher and I voluntarily wrote this honest review.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan M
  • 01-03-2018

Delightful

I love John Picket and Lady Fieldhurst. They are such endearing characters. This particular book sets the stage to remove possibilities of getting an annulment. The narrator is so talented with his various voices for the different characters and is able to include the right emotions. I love how the author included some unexpected twists in this story along with humor. She also addressed other issues present in the times. I found this book to be both a standalone listen and part of a series. I requested this review copy audiobook and have voluntarily written this review. I cannot wait to listen to the next book by this talented author and narrator.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-06-2018

Family friendly

I am so thrilled with this series. It is family friendly, witty and fun.
I wish all authors were like Ms Cobb and write clean books anyone could read!
Thank you MS.Cobb for this wonderful entertainment.

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  • B. Lane
  • 09-05-2018

Detective Julia - This series just gets better!

Princess Olga Fyodorovna of Russia is in London and plans to attend the Drury Lane Theatre. She has agreed with Magistrate Colquhoun to have her enormous diamond necklace on display to try to catch the thief who has been robbing women of their jewelry for the last few months. A whole team from Bow Street will be there, including John Pickett. Pickett will be in a box, and to make himself less conspicuous, he asks Lady Fieldhurst to attend with him, which she agrees to.

A fire breaks out at the theatre, the door to Pickett's box is jammed and he must find a way to get out and to save Lady Fieldhurst. He does, but once they get out of the building, he is struck on the back of the head with flying wood. Lady Fieldhurst transports him back to his apartment, but he is unconscious and bleeding profusely from the wound. Realizing how much she loves him and that she could lose him, she decides to stay and nurse him through this trauma. As she goes to hang up his jacket, she checks his coat pockets and finds - gasp! - the diamond necklace belonging to the Princess! She hides it in his bureau. The next day, Pickett's prostitute friend stops by and agrees to stay with John while Lady Fieldhurst goes home to change and get clothes and supplies to bring back. She finds the diamond necklace and assumes it's a cheap knockoff that John bought for her as a gift. She takes it and pawns it. Julia later discovers the necklace missing, so now she must become a detective in addition to nursing John. And to the chagrin of her deceased husband's chagrin, she has decided not to go through with the annulment - she loves John too much and won't give him up. She will make it work as Mrs. John Pickett!

I have become addicted to this series. Sheri Cobb South has created a series that puts you into the 1800's high society the second you hit play. John and Julia are meant to be and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here. And Joel Froomkin - aw, my favorite narrator. This man can do just about anything. Any voice, any accent, there is nothing he won't try. He just brings these stories and these characters to life.

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

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Teresa
  • 10-04-2018

A Series You Will Definitely Enjoy

I received a free copy of this book from the author and/or narrator and/or publisher and I voluntarily wrote this honest review.

This is the second book in the series I had the pleasure of listening to. I love the characters the author has created and, after listening to a couple of the books in the series, you will have the sensation, after a few pages, of reuniting with old friends. John could be a little more forceful at times, but Julia is a marvel. The plot is truly brilliant and the narration superb. Enjoyed every minute of the audiobook and so will you.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Layla
  • 12-03-2018

Another Great John Pickett mystery

Any additional comments?

I figured out who did early on in the book. If you have read/listened to Waiting Game then it does help but you don't need it for this book.

This book is more of a romance between John Pickett and Lady Fieldhurst and how quite quickly their relationship moves.
I still liked the book and loved the narrator. I thought he did a great job in narrating the book and voicing the characters.
I would recommend it. It is suitable for all since there is no profanity or sexual content (behind closed doors) and some mild violence.
Can't wait for the next book!!

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  • MaryD
  • 10-03-2018

Absolutely delightful mystery

I came into this series cold not having read the previous bshe hadooks. I can honestly say there was enough information for me to get the gist of what had happened between John Pickett and Lady Fieldhurst previously, although I am quite intrigued as to how it happened so I will be getting books 1-4.
This book seems to be where Lady Fieldhurst comes into her own (how apt I finished it on international women’s day) John Pickett lies injured whilst on duty and after saving Lady Fieldhurst. He rouses briefly to give a huge clue that we the reader can pick up on but is misinterpreted in the story. I loved this ruse. I liked having the knowledge and being the observer as things went awry. All the while confident that the story will have a happy ending. Wonderful to listen to.
I am a fan of Joel Froomkin’s work. I think he is immensely talented. The range of voices he has is astounding. He completely did justice to Lady Fieldhurst in this story. The timbre of the voices he used sounded so right and appropriate, the verve and determination to support John came across so clearly in the narration. Not to miss out the side characters, everyone is given the same attention as they were the main character. Overall his narration is the perfect soundtrack to the images created by Sheri Cobb South’s excellent writing.
I was given a copy of this audiobook book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • nerak
  • 07-03-2018

Entertaining and enjoyable

I was provided with a free copy of this audiobook in return for an honest review.

As a listener it is always enjoyable to find a new author to join the ranks of favourites you compile over the years.

Sheri Cobb South has managed to make it on to my list. Her style is fluid, her characters are believable and sympathetic and she has a very entertaining idea of how to present a mystery.

Her plotting is sufficient to keep you wondering, the historical setting is authentic without having to shove detail down your throat and although I did guess the villain earlier than I should have, she maintained my interest by throwing in other characters and elements of doubt about the villain.

I loved the two main characters of John and lady Julia. They were both written with sympathy and intelligence, and I will be looking out for more of John Pickett's adventures to find out what happens next.

The narrator was good enough to be able distinguish different characters by tone and he did a very good job of making it clear between classes and gender. I would definitely recommend him to friends.

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  • Inishowen Cailin
  • 04-03-2018

Brilliant series.

This is a superb series and after listening to this instalment I just wanted to go back to the very beginning and listen to the whole thing again, starting with John Pickett's early years in 'Pickpocket's Apprentice.'


The mystery of the stolen jewels wasn't very difficult to work out but I really loved following Julia on her attempts to solve the crime especially as John wasn't in a position to do so himself. I liked that familiar characters popped up to lend a hand or cause mayhem as the case may be.


One of my favourite scenes was at the theatre when the jewels were stolen and fire broke out. It was very exciting stuff and John showed, yet again, how heroic and romantic he is.

A brilliantly entertaining series. I can't wait to listen to book 6.

I voluntarily reviewed a gifted copy.