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A Body In Berkeley Square: A Mystery of Regency England    by Ashley Gardner order for
Body In Berkeley Square
by Ashley Gardner
Order:  USA  Can
Prime Crime, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Captain Gabriel Lacey, disgraced cavalry officer, returns in a new mystery by Ashley Gardner. He has come to terms with his situation and has a few staunch friends who stand by him. They include the very influential and wealthy Lucius Grenville, whose influence with the ton recalls that of Beau Brummell.

Fans of the series will know that Lacey has a complicated relationship with his ex-commanding officer, Colonel Brandon, and with Brandon's wife Louisa. Once his friend, Brandon believes that Lacey had an affair with Louisa. Whatever his other good qualities, the colonel is unable to see that both are innocent of his suspicions. For Louisa's sake, Lacey continues to befriend both, although Brandon's actions make this nearly impossible.

When Brandon becomes the chief suspect in a scandalous murder that took place at a very elegant party, Lacey is the only person who believes him to be innocent. Even Louisa is convinced that her husband killed the man who was harassing his inamorata. Lacey pursues his own investigation, hampered by everyone else's conviction that Brandon is guilty, hampered even more so by the suspect himself, who is obstinately opposed to accepting any help from a man he considers his enemy. As he delves deeper into the puzzle, Lacey finds information that paints Brandon as a traitor as well as murderer; yet he refuses to accept what he believes to be untrue.

Gardner presents an intriguing puzzle. A Body In Berkeley Square is intelligently crafted and elegantly told. Regency England is brought to life again, peopled by interesting characters. Lacey himself has an unwavering integrity and sense of honour. It is pleasing to see some positive advances in Lacey's personal situation - at long last, Louisa's hold on his emotions seems to be weakening. This is an excellent read, with characters well worth meeting again.

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