The Glass House audiobook
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The Glass House audiobook free
I am afraid that I am seeing a disappointing trend in the Captain Lacey Regency mystery novels written by Ashley Gardner. At least, the trend is showing up for me. I read the first book (The Hanover Square Affair) and gave it an enthusiastic five star rating. Book two is A Regimental Murder which I rated as four stars. Now this one I have gone to three stars. A lot of time has elapsed between my reading of book one and book three (almost two years) but I remember it very well and how excited I was to have found a modern author who could write such a compelling novel in a marvelous period setting.
The writing is still very good. The period setting and attention to detail is still very good. What I found lacking was the intensity of the mystery. The first victim was a woman found dead in the Thames. Captain Lacey was called to view the body because she resembled a young actress who lodged in the same building as Lacey. It was not Marianne Simmons, and for that Lacey was eternally grateful, but his interest was aroused and he began to make his own investigations as to who this young woman was and why she had been killed, for obviously she had been murdered. No matter how hard Ms Gardner tried, I just did not really feel sympathetic toward this victim. She was not really a good person, even though she was not supposed to be actually a bad person. Her character was like the entire book for me, neither totally good nor totally bad, just sort of mediocre. Boy, talk about damning with faint praise! And if Ms Gardner is going to keep us guessing as to who the murderer is, she might want to stop killing off all the suspects and leaving us with just a very few possibilities. Even readers who are not mystery fanatics won’t have much trouble guessing the villain if you kill off so many of the other suspects.
All of the previous characters from the two other novels are back. Colonel and Mrs Brandon are very prominent and I am getting heartily sick of the couple and Captain Lacey quarrelling and wrangling. I know it all had to be repeated for first-time readers but I am still tired of it. Is Lacey supposed to be in love with her? If not, why are we hanging on to these two characters? I like the character of Grenville but just don’t see where the author is trying to lead us in regards to his obsession with Marianne. Please, Ms Gardner, tell me that you explain that situation better in forthcoming books.
I think this is considered a stand alone novel. I’m not so sure of that. If I ever recommend this series to a friend I will make sure to tell them to read the books in order. I have all the others, I will read all the others and fervently hope that book four will put me back to my original enthusiastic liking for this series. If not, the rest may just go into my to-go box without being read.
The Glass House audiobook Series Captain Lacey
As always, Ms. Gardner’s writing is superb with rich, but not burdensome detail and a well thought out plot. That said, I felt the pacing of this Captain Lacey mystery was a bit slow. I also struggled just a bit with the depth of Lacey’s connection to and introspection over the death of a young woman that he had never met. I know that he carries a deep sympathy/empathy for human suffering and outrage at how callously people are often treated, but the high dudgeon of his moral outrage over her death just felt a little excessive. Near the end we do find out that he equates the assumptions and neglect that Peaches (the victim of murder) suffered with his own unthinking assumptions and neglect of his estranged wife. Our Captain Lacey carries very heavy emotional burdens.
It was still a very good story, however, as I learned just a bit more about Captain Lacey and the development of his relationship to Louisa Brandon. The scene in which Louisa tells Lacey that she’s had enough of the fighting between himself and Colonel Brandon was beautifully written and heartbreaking. Louisa is one tough cookie to put up with the two former best friends who now try to eviscerate each other at each meeting. However, as some other reviewers have mentioned, I am ready for there to be a detente between Lacey and Colonel Brandon as their on-going feud is wearing a bit thin.
Though each Captain Lacey mystery functions well as a standalone novel, I appreciate the reappearance of some characters from previous novels and the fact that Ms. Gardner skillfully and subtly reminds us of who they are. All-in-all, another winner from Ashley Gardner. On to book 4.
Audiobook The Glass House by Ashley Gardner
So glad to find a nice long regency mystery series! The character of Captain Lacey lends himself to all manner of adventure, including misadventure. In The Glass House, he investigates the murder of a young courtesan, unraveling the knots of her relationships with many different people. In the course of this investigation, Lacey struggles with establishing respectful distance from his female friend Louisa and at the same time feels the beginnings of passion for the aloof Lady Breckenridge.
My only criticism of this series is the way the novels are being packaged ….. it has taken me various missteps to figure out that Volume Three is not the same as Book Three. I’ve accidentally bought what I thought was The Next Book and then realizing I’ve leapt very far forward without wanting to. I find myself thinking, “Whoa, when did this relationship manifest itself?” Then I’ve had to go back and study the Amazon offerings in greater detail to read the stuff I inadvertently skipped.
Like all the main characters I end up liking very much, Lacey is flawed. Author Ashley Gardner’s strengths are many, and among them are wonderful settings (something as simple as a cane tapping the sidewalk as a person walks off into the dark) and deeply thoughtful character development. The friendships between Lacey and people like Louisa Brandon (unrequited love), Lucius Grenville (manly and wealthy collaborator), and even James Denis (mob boss of London’s underworld) are all crafted at a believable pace with attention to natural detail. Gardner doesn’t go gushingly overboard with comments on dress and furnishings, but definitely provides enough texture to create a vibrant setting. Very much recommended.
Audio The Glass House narrated by James Gillies
Captain Gabriel Lacey is one of my favourite heroes. With the story told by him in the first person, it is possible to understand him, with all his strengths and weaknesses.
Once again, Ms Gardner has a complex plot – one that it is not easy to see how it will untangle. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, which I downloaded a couple of months ago, but saved up to read over the New Year, when I knew I would have uninterrupted reading time. I was not disappointed! As well as enjoying his skill as an investigator, I sympathise with Gabriel over his complicated love-life. Tied to a wife who left him some years before to go to France with her lover, and taking their daughter with her, he is of course unable to marry. His relationships are, therefore, largely with widows looking for companionship – and some adventure! There is also his long-running relationship with Laura, wife of his great friend-turned-enemy, Colonel Brandon.
I am now turning my mind onto the other books in this series – amazing that there are now twelve in total! My advice to new readers is – do read these lovely books – but I think you will be best advised to read them in order, as they follow on in his life, with references to past cases and people involved with them.
Free audio The Glass House – in the audio player below
Book three in the series is centred around the murder of a woman who turns out to have surprising and unsavoury connections with the demimonde and with The Glass House – a house of ill-repute. This is another entertaining story from the world of Captain Gabriel Lacey, a seasoned cavalry officer who has sold-out because of injury and whose well-honed senses of honour and justice drive him to interfere in all sorts of dangerous events. Like all good sagas the novel also includes further details of Lacey’s complex past and development of relationships among the ancillary characters. Grenville is loving his more interesting life now Lacey is in it; Marianne is determinedly stroppy and mysterious; Denis (motives unknown) continues his exploration of Lacey’s boundaries. Great stuff.
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