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A Death in Norfolk: Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries Paperback – November 1, 2011
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About the Author
Award-winning Ashley Gardner is a pseudonym for New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley. Under both names—and a third, Allyson James—Ashley has written more than 35 published novels and novellas in mystery and romance. Her books have won several RT BookReviews Reviewers Choice awards (including Best Historical Mystery for The Sudbury School Murders), and Romance Writers of America’s RITA (given for the best romance novels and novellas of the year). Ashley’s books have been translated into a dozen different languages and have earned starred reviews in Booklist. More about the Captain Lacey series can be found at the website: www.gardnermysteries.com. Or email Ashley Gardner at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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This book was really exciting -- the book is filled with bad guys and you aren't sure which of the bad guys is the really bad guy!
I was glad to see that the Brandon's weren't in this book. I know they've had a resolution of sorts, but I still don't like them.
We learn a lot more about James Denis in this book -- or do we? He finally calls in some of his markers with Lacey -- and it is a good thing for him that he does.
Lacey and Lady Breckenridge travel to Norfolk to get a look at what is left of Lacey's family home and to get an idea of the renovations required to make it habitable. Lacey and Lady Breckenridge have agreed to attend a house party at a friend of Lady Breckenridge's (who lives in the Norfolk area) so they'll have a place to stay while they are evaluating the house.
A hoard of James Dennis' men show up soon after Lacey has arrived and start tearing up the home of a neighbor looking for paintings that the owner has stolen from Denis. They also descend on Lacey's home to do the same thing. So -- Lacey lets them -- after all he'd have to pay to have all of that demolished and this was free.
One of Denis' men is killed and another disappears. Denis is fearful that the man who has disappeared has been killed as well and wants to find him. Lacey is, of course, the one chosen by Denis to solve the mystery.
As always, there is another sub-plot going on at the same time as the main plot. This time, it is the mystery of a local woman who disappeared.
This is an excellent book and I'm sure you'll like it too. Each book in the series seems to be more exciting than the last.
With respect to the character of James Denis, Ms. Gardner has taken a previously rather one dimensional, but frightening secondary character and turned him into a still frightening, but somehow much more multidimensional and somewhat sympathetic human about whom I'd like to know much more. Of course we learn more about Captain Lacey as well since he gets to confront some of the demons of his upbringing by going home to his ruined estate in Norfolk where the action of this novel takes place. The good news is that events in this book begin his healing process which I am glad to see even though I love the very angst-ridden Captain Lacey. I was also thrilled to see the deepening of his relationship to Lady Breckinridge, the continuation of his relationship with Grenville and much less of the very annoying Marianne.
As always, the dialogue is delightfully realistic, the interactions between characters believable, the main plot well crafted with the secondary mystery adding much to the deepening character development of Captain Lacey. To my delight, the pacing was much better than the previous book. All-in-all, another home run for Ms. Gardner.