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A REGIMENTAL MURDER
by Ashley Gardner
Penguin, May 2004
256 pages
$5.99
ISBN: 0425196127


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Once again Captain Gabriel Lacey finds himself involved in hunting down a murderer. Now that Lacey has returned from the Peninsula, he hopes for a chance to recover from the betrayals and injuries of war; unfortunately he has still not had a chance. On a late-night walk, Lacey rescues a lady from harm and finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy.

Lydia Westin wants Lacey to find the person who murdered her husband. Her husband, Colonel Westin, was willing to admit to killing a man at Badajoz; but before he can make a confession, he dies in a mysterious manner. Lydia does not believe that her husband could have killed a man and believes that either Eggleston or Breckenridge, both men who served with her husband, were responsible for both the original murder and her husband's death. Lacey, with the assistance of his friend Lucius Grenville, must find a murderer and uncover a wartime conspiracy.

In a lot of ways the characters in this book fit into stereotypes. Lacey is the hero; he honors women and places them higher than other mortals. He has a sense of decency and rebels at the thought of anyone harming a woman. Westin is the sacrificial goat, who is willing to sacrifice himself in order to protect his military unit. Lydia is the mistreated woman and Grenville is the dandy.

Yet not all of these stereotypes remain true; Gardner's characters have hidden depths. Grenville is only the dandy when it suits him and Lydia, while admittedly mistreated, is also not the helpless person she pretends to be. While Lacey still maintains his slightly unrealistic view of women, he also realizes that women can play a man false. Gardner's ability to give stereotypical characters depth helps provide this book with flair.

A REGIMENTAL MURDER is Ashley Gardner's second mystery. The first book in this series is THE HANOVER SQUARE AFFAIR.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, May 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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