Review of Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner
Overview from www.barnesandnoble.com: London, 1816
Cavalry captain Gabriel Lacey returns to Regency London from the Napoleonic Wars, burned out, fighting melancholia, his career ended. His interest is piqued when he learns of a missing girl, possibly kidnapped by a prominent member of Parliament. Lacey's search for the girl leads to the discovery of murder, corruption, and dealings with a leader of the underworld. At the same time, he faces his own disorientation transitioning from a soldier's life to the civilian world, redefining his role with his former commanding officer, and making new friends--from the top of society to the street girls of Covent Garden.
Book 1 of the Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries.
Captain Lacey, this week’s protagonist, is someone that I really came to like. He has pluck and cares about people who are downtrodden in his world of Regency England, perhaps because he is one of them.
Until I found this little gem I had no idea that there were Regency Mysteries. I had always heard mostly about Regency Romances and never much cared for them. I do like mysteries though so this was perfect.
And as I mentioned, I came to love Captain Lacey. He is a recent forty something former soldier who was wounded in the Napoleonic Wars. Having retired on half pay, he has few prospects and even less money. What he does have is a man commonly referred to as Mr. Grenville in his corner.
Grenville is apparently the man to know in high society and for some reason that Lacey can’t fathom, he has taken an interest in him.
It turns out to be a very good thing for Lacey when he decides to make another of his brave, spontaneous decisions to help a stranger. That stranger is a Mr. Thornton who is a broken man when Lacey discovers him one day standing outside of the home of a well-to-do London man named Mr. Horne. Thornton is shot and barely escapes with his wife, thanks to Captain Lacey.
Lacey later learns what drove Thornton to do what he did. His daughter has disappeared. She was last seen at the home of Mr. Horne. He claims to have had nothing to do with young Jane Thornton’s disappearance but Thornton thinks that he knows better. She is his only child and he is determined to get her back.
Moved by pity for Thornton’s plight, and having nothing better to do, Lacey decides to look into her case himself. I guess this is how he becomes some kind of private investigator since this book is a first in a series.
In any case, it certainly is a good start. Besides the fact that I loved Capt. Lacey as a character, the story is also very entertaining as well as moving. His weaknesses and determination to see this through somehow only make him seem more lovable, if also a little foolish.
The story of the vast London underworld is also interesting as is Lacey attempt to navigate through it without the help of the police. Grenville does however prove invaluable with his vast connections and desire to prove himself to Lacey. It was definitely a page turner and I recommend it highly to anyone who loves the Mystery or Historical Fiction genre.
Contains: a small amount of sexuality and some violence and language