The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner is the first regency mystery featuring Captain Gabriel Lacey. This is a strong entry into a wonderful series with a wonderful, wounded hero.
The story opens with the return home of injured officer, Captain Gabriel Lacey from fighting in the Peninsular War. As he is walking to a friend’s home, he spots a mob throwing stones at a residence of Hanover Square. The mob is motivated by suspicion that the owners of Hanover Square have kidnapped a couple of young ladies that are still missing. Mr. Thornton, who leads the mob, is shot by an officer and Lacey is forced to react. He soon learns who the mysterious owner is of Hanover Square and finds himself entangled in a mystery. The story is that Jane and her maid were last seen traveling together in their carriage. No one has seen them alive since that time.
Captain Lacey is a commoner with no wealth or means/resources to look into the alleged kidnapping. However, he does have Mr. Lucius Grenville, a member of society and wealth who makes sure that Lacey is invited to some of the best events of the Ton. It is this unlikely friendship that conveniently helps Lacey solve this mystery of the missing girls. The story is set in the early 1800’s London. The author does an excellent job of transporting the reader to this time period. She does include many historical markers intertwined with plenty of atmosphere and suspense. The author confers a dark mood to the story that conveys that things will not end on a upbeat note.
Captain Lacey is a wounded soldier who battles with cyclic depression. Baggage includes Lacey’s wife, who ran away with their daughter while he was away, never to be found or heard from again. Lacey has a somewhat interesting relationship with his ex-Commander’s wife, Louisa Brandon. He fought a duel for her honor that caused him to be ejected out of service in disgrace and garnered the enmity of his best friend, Captain Brandon. As for romance, there wasn’t one in this installment and I didn’t miss it. The outcome of the story was realistic and shocking. The writing flow was smooth, the authorial voice was very nice. There is a lot to enjoy here as a historical mystery fan. After enjoying this novel, I realized that I want to revisit Captain Gabriel Lacey on his next adventure. My grade, B.