BLURB: London 1816
Returning home through a sticky London night in July 1816, Captain Gabriel Lacey is surprised to spy a well-dressed, elegant woman stride to the middle of an unfinished bridge. Following her in curiosity, Lacey is on hand to rescue her from an attack by a footpad. As grateful as she is for the help, the lady refuses to give her name and direction, and so Lacey takes her to his own rooms in a street off Covent Garden to rest.
He discovers that she is one Lydia Westin, wife of Colonel Roehampton Westin, who has recently been accused of murdering an English officer in Portugal during the Peninsular War. Before he could come to trial, however, Colonel Westin was found dead at the foot of the staircase in his own house.
Lydia Westin, to Lacey’s surprise, declares he was murdered and that she knows the culprits’ identities. Intrigued, Lacey begins to investigate, and soon finds himself mired in scandals past and present, with a journalist dogging his footsteps, eager to print Lacey’s latest adventure. Lacey also becomes embroiled with Lydia, a lady with many secrets, and with James Denis, who continues his quest to bring Lacey under his thumb.
Lucius Grenville returns in this installment, the rich man-about-town who has become Lacey’s sidekick. The story also contains the first appearance of Lady Breckenridge.
Book 2 of the Captain Lacey Regency mysteries. For fans of Anne Perry, Kate Ross, and C.S. Harris. This is a full-length novel.
Review rating 4.5 Stars
Heat level: 1
Review by Maggi:
Captivated by the writing skills and knowledge of the era that Ashley Gardner exhibited in her first novel of this series, I’ve been following it with utter delight! I read this one out of context, but that didn’t spoil it for me. Captain Gabriel Lacey, the wounded hero from “The Hanover Square Affair” is back again to solve a new murder and right a dead man’s lost honour. He’s a very well drawn character, suffering from what he describes as melancholy, and with a painful knee badly injured in the Napoleonic war in Spain. There’s an interesting story behind that too!
Unable to sleep one night, Captain Gabriel Lacey walks the streets. He finds himself rescuing a lady when she’s attacked by a beggar. Something about this sad and desperate beauty touches a cord in Captain Lacey, and he gallantly responds to her plea for help. Mrs. Lydia Westin, is the widow of Colonel Westin, who has been accused of murdering Captain Algernon Spenser during the rioting at Badajoz in Spain in 1812. Four years later, for some unknown reason, Colonel Westin confesses to the crime. But his wife is positive she knows her husband too well to believe he did commit the murder. Why he did it and who killed him, is up to Captain Lacey to find out.
All the books I have read are clever, intriguing and compelling, and this one is no different. I thought the mystery plot excellent. The characters exceedingly well drawn. England, and especially London, is a dark place where evil lurks at every turn, and Gardner maintains that air of suspense and intrigue right to the end. No happy ending here for Captain Lacey, but one hopes that in the future, the poverty stricken, anguished hero (and an attractive one at that – honest and moral, passionate, strong – hot-headed at times and a little reckless), will find happiness. Who can resist such a hero? I couldn’t! Every book in this series is a pleasure and joy to read.
The e-book is very well priced at $ 1.99 at the time of reading.
Maggi Andersen is the Australian author of A Baron in Her Bed – The Spies of Mayfair Series, Book One.
Tags: Regency mystery, series, kindle book, Ashley Gardner, historical, dark mystery.