Problems intensify when a groom of the school's stables turns up dead in a lock of the nearby canal. A Romany is arrested for the murder, and Lacey is the only person who believes him innocent.
As Lacey works to discover what happened, he gets drawn into the secrets of Marianne Simmons, the actress who'd lived upstairs from Lacey in London. Marianne swears Lacey to silence, which puts a new strain on his friendship with Grenville. Meanwhile the intrigue surrounding the murder becomes as murky as the waters of the canal itself and puts Lacey and Grenville into grave danger.
The Sudbury School Murders is the winner of the RTBookReviews Reviewers Choice Award for Best Historical Mystery.
Award-winning Ashley Gardner is a pseudonym for New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley. Under both names—and a third, Allyson James—Ashley has written more than 75 published novels and novellas in mystery and romance. Her books have won several RTBook Reviews Reviewers Choice awards (including Best Historical Mystery for The Sudbury School Murders), and Romance Writers of America’s RITA (given for the best romance novels and novellas of the year). Ashley’s books have been translated into a dozen different languages and have earned starred reviews in Booklist. More about the Captain Lacey series can be found at the website: www.gardnermysteries.com.
In April 1817, a Bow Street Runner summons Captain Gabriel Lacey to a Berkeley Square ballroom where a young dandy has been found stabbed to death during a society ball. The prime suspect: Lacey’s former commander, Colonel Brandon.
Instead of denying the charges, Colonel Brandon allows himself to be arrested, and claims, to Lacey’s shock, that the lady he’d stayed protectively near at the ball is his mistress. Lacey realizes that he is the only person not convinced of Brandon’s guilt—all present, including Brandon’s wife, believe Brandon committed the murder.
Colonel Brandon’s reticence to tell the truth proves to be Lacey’s greatest obstacle in his race against time to prove Brandon’s innocence. Lacey’s hunt for evidence uncovers dark secrets that go back to the Peninsular Wars and involve the origins of Lacey’s and Brandon’s own private war.
Book 1 of the Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries.
In The Necklace Affair, Captain Lacey agrees to help a society matron discover what has become of her expensive diamond necklace and to clear her maid, who has been arrested for its theft. Lady Clifford declares that the rival for her husband's affections has stolen the necklace, but Lacey soon realizes that the problem is not so simple. He quickly becomes enmeshed in scandal and past secrets, and recruits Grenville and Lady Breckenridge to assist him. As he investigates, he finds himself competing with the underworld criminal, James Denis, for the necklace's retrieval.
In The Gentleman's Walking Stick, Captain Lacey is asked to retrieve a walking stick, which embroils him in an affair of theft, deception, and betrayal.
In The Disappearance of Miss Sarah Oswald, Lacey hunts for a missing young woman, learning more about a family's sordid secrets than he wanted to know.
Events in these stories occur between the end of The Sudbury School Murders and the beginning of A Body in Berkeley Square.
It’s official. Fortune Redding is out of the CIA and a newly minted resident of Sinful, Louisiana. She never expected her homecoming to be all apple pie and hugs, but a murder wasn’t on her list of things to deal with before she’d even gotten her name stenciled on her mailbox.
Boone Carre—Hooch, to the locals—was a drunk and a louse and had shafted pretty much everyone he’d ever done business with. So when someone kills him, there is no shortage of suspects. Unfortunately, Ally is at the top of the list.
Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie know that Ally isn’t capable of murdering anyone, but with an ambitious ADA looking to make a name for himself, and the local gossip train intent on finding someone to blame, they know they have to find the killer and clear Ally’s name.
June 1817: Captain Lacey stops to assist a young woman in the market at Covent Garden, and realizes to his astonishment that she is his daughter. Lacey then discovers that his estranged wife and her paramour, a French officer, have journeyed to London at the invitation of James Denis to dissolve her marriage to Captain Lacey.
Meanwhile, a Bow Street Runner and a man from the Thames River Police have asked Lacey to help them look into the disappearances of “game girls” from Covent Garden. The magistrates aren’t interested in their fate, but perhaps Lacey can learn a thing or two. Lacey agrees and recruits old friends to help.
But when the goings-on in Covent Garden put his daughter in danger, Lacey’s crusade turns personal. He will do anything, and call in any favor from anyone, in order to protect his own Gabriella.
Read a deleted scene from Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage.