A Bow Street Runner Mystery in the 19th Century in “Too Hot to Handel”


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.

To purchase this book for yourself, click here on Amazon.

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