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A Body in Berkeley Square
Captain Gabriel Lacey

by Ashley Gardner

      Melancholy Captain Gabriel Lacey limps into view for his fifth (mis)adventure, back in London again after his brief stint as a schoolmaster. In the wee small hours of an April morning, he is summoned to the opulent house of Lord Gillis to witness the aftermath of a ball -a dead body. The man has been stabbed, and the top suspect is his former friend and mentor, the irascible Colonel Brandon. Can this upright-seeming man truly have been fighting over a woman thought to be his mistress after flirting shamelessly with her at the ball? Naturally, Brandon doesn't want Lacey's help, but of course he gets it for the sake of his wife Louisa, whom Lacey still yearns for. Stranger still, it looks as though Grenville might have some secrets of his own...

After four other books, readers will know what toexpect by now. Nobody reads these books for a good laugh, but the atmosphere of Regency London warts and all comes to convincing life within these pages. As usual, the whodunit part of the plot is a page-turner, with red herrings here and there and plenty of action. Also part of the plot and taking center stage some of the time is Lacey's own shadowy past and the effects of it upon his present predicaments. We get to reacquaint ourselves with the growing cast of well-defined characters, including Denis and Pomeroy, and learn a little more about them. It is compelling reading, although I often think that Lacey is not the best choice of narrator, as he spends so much of the narrative feeling sorry for himself. A third-person viewpoint would have been my choice, but I am only reading the story. Fans of Anne Perry ought to enjoy these for their convoluted plots and descriptions of high and low London life.

Other reviews in this series

The Hanover Square Affair #1 [amazon]
A Regimental Murder # 2 [review]
The Glass House #3 [review]
The Sudbury School Murders #4 [review]
A Body in Berkeley Square #5 [review]
A Covent Garden Mystery #6 [review]
Death in Norfolk #7 [review]
A Disappearance in Drury Lane [review]

The Book

Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin Group USA)
December 2005
Historical Crime [1817, London]

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2006
© 2006