Captain Gabriel Lacey attempts to clear the name of a longtime acquaintance accused of murder in the latest installment of Gardner's Regency-era series. Colonel Brandon was Lacey's mentor before the two left the military. Now he's arrested for the murder of Henry Turner when his knife is discovered in Turner's chest during a ball.

According to witnesses, Brandon killed Turner in a jealous rage over the attentions Turner paid to Brandon's apparent mistress. But Lacey is convinced that Brandon wouldn't have committed the murder and refuses to believe that he has a mistress. To clear Brandon's name and aid his wife, Lacey investigates and finds a sinister plot.

Lacey is the perfect Regency protagonist -- a gentleman with a kind heart and a keen sense of intelligence. The mystery is carefully wrought, and the characters are well developed, each with a distinctive personality. With each installment, Gardner reveals more secrets about the pasts of the main characters. (Dec., 252 pp., $7.99)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick