In the latest chapter of Gardner's entertaining Regency series, Captain Gabriel Lacey takes a job at a boys school in Sudbury. Lacey left London to escape an ill-fated affair and a difficult relationship with his former commanding officer.

But the idyll of the countryside is shattered when Middleton, a horse groom at the school, is murdered, and a Gypsy boy is accused of the crime. In his efforts to clear the boy, Lacey encounters the groom's former employer, a sinister character named James Denis, someone Lacey has met before. But it is not Denis' knowledge of the groom, it's his knowledge of the whereabouts of Lacey's estranged wife and child that is most intriguing to the good captain.

Gardner's Captain Lacey, always a compelling character, is an honorable gentleman who values his integrity. He champions the downtrodden, including the Gypsy boy, and his former neighbor, a courtesan with secrets. The mystery of the groom's murder is as intriguing as Gardner's bird's- eye view of the prejudicial 19th-century English justice system. This page-turning historical is thoroughly enjoyable. (Jun., 295 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick