In For Deader or Worse by Sheri Cobb South, John Pickett prepares to take his wedding trip with Julia, the former Lady Fieldhurst. They plan to go to Norwood Green, Summersetshire, where Julia grew up, so she can introduce him to her parents. He doesn’t face a very welcome greeting and struggles to fit in socially. Another who has trouble socially is the new Lady Buckleigh, a young bride who has replaced Claudia, Julia’s older sister who disappeared 13 years earlier, with just her bloody shawl’s being found. Lady Runyon, Julia’s mother, who always favored Claudia, has come to see her older daughter in an idolized manner. However, she thinks she may be haunting their house, so Sir Thaddeus, Julia’s father, asks John to get to the bottom of the situation.
Soon after arriving in Norwood Green, Sir Thaddeus invites John to explore the grounds on horseback. Not being experienced at riding horses, John tries to demur, but his new father-in-law insists, so Julia helps him onto a horse and joins the two men riding. At one point, Sir Thaddeus challenges Julia to a race, and they take off until they come across the murdered body of their groom, Tom Pratt. With his experience as a Bow Street Runner, John determines to help his new in-laws by getting to the bottom of the murder of their employee.
For Deader or Worse has a really interesting plot and way of presenting a creative story. It begins with an introduction from 13 years earlier in which we see the poor treatment Claudia received at the hands of Lord Buckleigh. Every so often we see more of Claudia’s story interwoven into the plot set in 1809. The storyline of the main part of the book is well-plotted, and just as you think you’ve solved the murder, a twist takes place to change everything.
This book has very well-defined characters that make the book all the more effective. John and Julia Pickett both have strong personalities that enable us to feel that we know them in person. We also feel the slights against John Pickett for his coming from a much lower class than his new wife. We also really connect with Major Jamie Pennington, the son of the vicar, who has a very lively nature for us to spend time with.
Joel Froomkin performs the audio edition of this book and does so effectively. His narrator voice is expressive and pleasant, while the voices he creates are effective as each character. He uses good accents and shifts between them effectively.
For Deader or Worse proved to be as strong and effective a book as the previous books in this series. I was so drawn to this book that I had a very hard time putting it down. The plot had creative twists and angles, giving me plenty to hold my attention. I give the book five stars.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author through Audiobook BOOM, but that had no effect on ther content of my review.
To purchase this book for yourself, click here on Amazon.