John Pickett, at 24 the youngest detective in the Bow Street Runners, gets called to a murder in In Milady’s Chamber by Sheri Cobb South. But it is not just any murder, but the murder of Viscount Fieldhurst. He was discovered by his wife, Lady Julia Fieldhurst, and the man she was considering giving into, since her husband turned to other women when his wife has failed to give him an heir. The viscount lay in front of the door from the inside of his wife’s bedroom and was stabbed to death with Lady Fieldhurst’s nail scissors. She looks very guilty to all but Mr. Pickett, who is deeply taken with the woman. He determines to prove the innocence of Lady Fieldhurst, but it will probably require him to find the real culprit to keep her out of Newgate Prison and possible hanging.
In Milady’s Chamber, which takes place about 1815, gives us a fascinating glimpse into this historical era and the Bow Street Runners. Further, we gain insight into solving mysteries without any of the forensic research that we see used in mysteries today. They didn’t even have fingerprint evidence during this period. So they had to rely on circumstantial evidence and witness testimony.
We find ourselves strongly invested in both John Pickett and Lady Fieldhurst, wanting them to succeed. We come to appreciate both characters and cheer on Mr. Pickett as he tries so hard to clear the lady who has bewitched him. Other minor characters also become of interest to us, such as Sir Archibald Stanton, who seems to have stolen a letter written in French and addressed to a location in France, at the very time that England is at war with France. We also meet some prostitutes whom Pickett uses as informants, and they are visibly drawn.
Joel Froomkin performs the audio version of this book. He is well-suited to the role, helping to take us on a trip 200 years in the past, making us believe that we have gone to London in the early 19th century. Froomkin creates highly believable voices and accents for the characters as they come from different areas and classes of England. I was highly impressed by this performance.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to In Milady’s Chamber and am highly eager to listen to the next book in the series. Both the plot and the characters, along with the interesting historical setting, make this book really interesting, getting us to become invested in the book. I give this book five stars.
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