The Sudbury School Murders

Written by Ashley Gardner
Review by Trudi E. Jacobson

Captain Lacey has taken up a position as secretary to the headmaster of the Sudbury School, an institution that caters to the sons of the wealthy merchant class. He expects that things will be quiet upon his removal from London, but that is not to be. He finds that the school has been suffering pranks, both harmless and malicious, but things escalate when an employee of the school is found murdered, dumped into the nearby section of the Kennet and Avon Canal. When the wrong man is arrested for the murder, he feels compelled to investigate the case.

Characters that have played a prominent role in his recent life also appear in this installment, despite its country setting: Marianne, his upstairs neighbor; the rather frightening James Denis; and Lucius Grenville, his wealthy friend who sets trends in the ton, amongst others. Social issues that play a role are the prejudice against Romanies and the situation of kept women when they lose their protectors.

For those who are new to the series, I recommend that you read the books in order, starting with The Hanover Square Affair, in order to fully understand Lacey’s relationships with those around him. This superb mystery series set in the Regency is atmospheric, filled with well-rounded characters and possessing engaging, fast-moving plots.