This second book in the continuing adventures of Captain Gabriel Lacey begins with the gallant former cavalry officer rescuing a lady from being attacked. The grateful but proud woman of quality later reveals that her husband, Colonel Westin, had confessed to murdering a fellow officer during riots and, just before his trial, had himself been murdered. But her belief in her husband’s innocence is strong enough to arouse Lacey’s ever-troublesome curiosity. Soon he and society trendsetter Grenville, who’s as eager as ever to play Watson to Lacey’s Holmes, begin their investigations.
At the same time, Captain Brandon, Lacey’s nemesis and former mentor, follows him around in the belief that Lacey is involved in his wife’s abrupt disappearance. While looking into the life of Colonel Westin, Lacey finds himself increasingly attracted to the lovely widow, and this makes his inquiries all the more difficult. For some unknown reason, a deadly underworld villain is doggedly helping Lacey, who rightly fears the sinister repercussions. As more people involved in the case start dying mysteriously, Lacey has to work against time to reveal the truth.
With the first book starring Captain Gabriel Lacey, Ashley Gardner bowled over her readers with a Regency mystery series as chockful of suspense as it is with authentic historical details. This attention to detail and plot continues in the second adventure. Although as hot-headed and impulsive as ever, Lacey is somewhat recovered from his habitual bouts of melancholia, and as such is more lively and exciting. In addition to the suspenseful main case, there are various other side plots which add more mystery and novelty. Characterizations are good and insightful, with more background details about continuing characters. Action, romance and fascinating little-known details about the army and its workings all add interest and authenticity to the story. However, it has to be said that despite the great build-up of suspense and good story development, the ending comes across as somewhat lackluster and tepid.