The Custom House Murders by Ashley Gardner

The Custom House Murders (Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries Book 15)
Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Captain Lacey Mysteries #15
Publication Date: 11/17/20
Number of Pages: 292

Who knew James Denis had a rival for control of London’s underworld? Well, he does, and their rivalry has broken out into full-fledged war – with Captain Lacey caught in the middle. To add to that mayhem, Lacey encounters an old army friend who has been accused of murder. Lacey has it coming at him from every direction in this fast-paced, exciting, well-written story. And yes, I’ve done it to myself again – I was so excited to start reading the book, I read it straight through. I had planned to read it slowly and savor every word, but – well – I just couldn’t put it down. Now, I have to wait for the next one and that is a bummer.

Just at breakfast, a package was delivered to Lacey with an accompanying message. The package and message, from James Denis, instruct Lacey to deliver the package to Mr. H. Creasey at an address that is near the Custom House. Lacey opens the package to see the contents and it is a simple chess piece – a white queen. Well, that seems innocuous enough – doesn’t it? Little does Lacey know the chaos that will follow that simple delivery.

As Lacey and the ever-protective Brewster pass the front of the Custom House, Lacey is hailed by someone. That someone turns out to be Major Miles Eden who Lacey had served with during the wars. Eden was one of the few officers Lacey respected and liked.

When Lacey’s delivery ignites a long-smoldering battle between Denis and Creasey, Lacey and his family are caught in the middle. Murder attempts, kidnapping, and more mayhem than you can name ensues before the war comes to its fiery end. Who wins the war? Is it Denis? Is it Creasey? Oh! You’ll just have to read the story to see.

In the middle of the underground’s war, Lacey learns that his friend Major Eden is wanted for murder – and Bow Street Runner Pomeroy arrests Eden while he is with Lacey. Lacey is convinced Eden isn’t guilty, but he’s sure he’s hiding something. Lacey manages to keep Eden from arrest while the investigation continues, but Pomeroy will be looking for ways to convict him. The murder of yet another passenger from the ship that conveyed them all back from Antigua convinces Lacey that the reasons for the murders all go back to the cargo that was stolen off their ship. But who stole it? What was it? Why did they need to commit those murders?

The suspects are many, and the solution will surprise you. With all of the red herrings as well as the many twists-and-turns, I was guessing until the very end when the villain was revealed. I hope you will read and love this book as much as I did. I can hardly wait for the next one.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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