REVIEW: Into Thin Eire by Sheri Cobb South
Now you see her…
Still haunted by memories of his last case, in which an innocent woman was accidentally killed, Bow Street Runner John Pickett welcomes the challenge of a new assignment in the West Country. Unfortunately, this time he’ll have to leave his beloved wife, Julia, behind, as he’ll be traveling in company with Harry Carson, a member of the Foot Patrol whose swaggering self-confidence is an uneasy fit with Pickett’s reserve. After three days of trying without success to make contact with the man who sent for him, Pickett receives word from Bow Street that Julia has been abducted. Suddenly his current case takes on much more ominous implications. And if the man behind it all is the one Pickett fears it is, then Julia is in mortal danger . . .
Dear Ms. Cobb South,
It sometimes startles me a bit when you refresh my memory of the timeline of the John Pickett mysteries. It’s been real world years since you’ve been writing them but in the time frame of the series, there’s a lot that’s happened to John and his beloved wife Julia in a fairly short span of time. Now John and Julia are facing something else besides their socially unequal marriage for before long, Julia will present John with a pledge of her affection.
In the meantime though, based on what happened in the last book, “Peril by Post,” John is given the (potential) chance to rise in the world and perhaps restore Julia, somewhat, to the social position she abandoned when she chose to marry him. Slightly overwhelmed by the possibility, John’s magistrate and patron Mr. Colquhoun gives John some breathing room in which to think when he presents John with another investigation outside of London.
Accompanied by a brash fellow investigator, John fruitlessly searches for the man who sent a letter engaging the two Bow Street men. All too soon, John receives word that Julia has been abducted from their Curzon Street house in London and immediately fears who might have done this and why. Setting off with a small band dubbed “Picket’s Irregulars,” will he be in time to save his beloved wife?
I just adore watching John and Julia together. They are Young Love’s Dream though still working out the social kinks of their marriage. The approbation of their servants, many of whom were with her during her unpleasant first marriage, is subtle yet marked as they’ve thrown themselves behind this union that has brought happiness to their mistress.
John isn’t thrilled with Harry Carson who is the total opposite of John. I could just see John hanging onto his temper and rolling his eyes as he tries to reign Harry in and teach Harry a little subtlety. But Harry also reminds us, the readers, of how far John has come since his days of being a pickpocket. In his years on the force and the different world to which John has been exposed, John has learned a thing or two that Harry would have no reason to know but which might help him in his future investigations.
One thing John does know is that he’s going to need reinforcements to battle for Julia’s life and he’s not above seeking them out. What John doesn’t count on is how resourceful his beloved is. You go, Julia! She’s no shrinking violet or wilting lily. No, she doesn’t go all badass on the villains but she does keep her head and manages to leave some clues along the way for John to follow. This book does have a bit more described violence than has been usual for this series with both Julia and her butler getting coshed over the head and and John being sent something by the villain that readers might find unpleasant. If you’re squeamish, skip reading when John is opening a package left for him at an inn.
The ending in Ireland is suitably exciting and I admit I was holding my breath waiting on what John was going to decide about his dilemma back in England. I thoroughly approve. His “gift” to Julia was so sweet and – by the starry expression on her face – something she will treasure. But what’s this?! John has made another decision that will have me on pins and needles until the next book arrives. Oh, the suspense. B