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A Covent Garden Mystery
Captain Gabriel Lacey #6

by Ashley Gardner

      Captain Gabriel Lacey has been approached by the Thames River Police and Bow Street to look into the matter of the "game girls" who have vanished from the Covent Garden area. The officials are not worrying about them. As Lacey is about to begin his investigations, he is confronted with the unexpected arrival of his daughter, Gabriella, and her mother, Carlotta. Carlotta, his wife, had deserted him 15 years before, leaving with a French army officer. She has been brought to England from France, where she has been living with James Denis, a powerful criminal who will negotiate a divorce for Lacey. Lacey has had no idea where Carlotta has been and has not seen his daughter for 15 years.

In the midst of Lacey's investigations, Gabriella goes missing. He enlists the aid of all his friends to seek her. After one of the missing "game girls" is found murdered, they comb the streets and houses of London to find Gabriella and the other "game girl" who is missing. Adding to the stress of his missing daughter is the problem of his good friend, Lucius Grenville, one of the wealthiest men in England, and his paramour, Marianne Simmons.

This is a superbly told and involved story. Its characters are complex. The dilemmas facing Lacey - whether to leave his daughter with the family she has known all her life or claim her as his daughter, and whether to divorce Carlotta or avoid the scandal - is told well. Also involved is the problem of wealthy aristocratic Grenville in love with Marianne Simmons, former actress and now his mistress. The search for Gabriella introduces  us to all of London. Its atmosphere and people are colorfully described.

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
July 5, 2006
Historical Mystery / Regency / England

The Reviewer

Barbara Buhrer
Reviewed 2006
© 2006