Too Hot to Handel

John Pickett Mysteries Volume 5

When a rash of jewel thefts strikes London,magistrate Patrick Colquhoun resolves to deploy his Bow Street Runners to put astop to the thefts. The Russian Princess Olga Fyodorovna is to attend aproduction 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 variouslocations around the theatre--including John Pickett, who will occupy a boxdirectly across the theatre from the princess. 

In order to preserve his incognito, Pickett must appear tobe nothing more than a private gentleman attending the theatre. Mr. Colquhounrecommends that he have a female companion--a lady, in fact, who might preventhim from making any glaring faux pas.

But the only lady of Pickett's acquaintance is Julia, LadyFieldhurst, to whom he accidentally contracted a Scottish irregular marriageseveral months earlier, and with whom he is seeking an annulment against hisown inclinations--and for whom he recklessly declared his love, secure in theknowledge that he would never see her again.

The inevitable awkwardness of their reunion is forgottenwhen the theatre catches fire. Pickett and Julia, trapped in a third tier box,must escape via a harrowing descent down a rope fashioned from the curtainsadorning their box. Once outside, Pickett is struck in the head and leftunconscious. Suddenly it is up to Julia not only to nurse him back to health,but to discover his attacker and bring the culprit to justice.

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