A COVENT GARDEN MYSTERY (Historical Mystery-England-Regency-1817) – VG
Gardner, Ashley – 6th in series
Berkeley Prime Crime, 2006- US Paperback – ISBN: 0425210863

First Sentence: The young woman buying peaches in Covent Garden has honey brown hair, clear white skin, deep brown eyes, and a faint French accent.

Captain Gabriel Lacey is finally reunited with the daughter his wife took from him 13 years ago. But just as he finds her, she disappears, as have two “game girls.” Lacey pulls out all the stops and, with the help and support of his lover, Lady Breckenridge, friends and colleagues, is determined to find the missing girls.

Gardner has created a thoroughly engaging set of characters, set them in a time of elegance and poverty and provide a suspenseful mystery to tie it all together. The characters may all be a bit too nice, but the book is such a pleasure to read, I didn’t care. Lacey is the most developed and complex of the characters. He is a former soldier, quick to anger but with a strong moral core. You feel his elation at finding his daughter, his fear she might have been killed and his pain when he realizes another man has been a father in her life. The story is primarily character driven with many of the characters having come to a resolution of the past and being ready to move on to the future. The sense of place is so well done you become part of the environment. For those who love well done Historical/Regency-period mysteries, I recommend you start at the beginning and thoroughly enjoy this very well done series.

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