The Sudbury School Murders

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The Sudbury School Murders audiobook

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Review #1

The Sudbury School Murders audiobook free

Grenville gets Captain Lacey a job as the secretary to Headmaster Richfield in a school for the sons of rich merchants. The countryside is beautiful, and Lacey begins to strengthen his muscles with daily rides through the wooded paths on the school horses. He notices the stable master is a former body guard of his arch nemesis Denis, but before Lacey can talk to the man, he’s murdered.. Thus begins another mystery, with more murders, a falsely accused gypsy (Romany), a French mistress, and the stabbing of Grenville. Good storyline, interesting characters, and a look into the dark world of 19th century private schools for boys. Ashley Gardener (Jennifer Ashley) has done it again.

Review #2

The Sudbury School Murders audiobook Series Captain Lacey

First of all, I love this series. Ashley Gardner does a wonderful job of describing people and places, painting a vivid picture, without bogging down the writing with tedious details. However, I felt like those brief passages had been pared down even further in this book. In fact, everything in the book–the plot, the interior musings of Captain Lacey, the descriptions, and the mystery–were pared down to bare bones. Most of Lacey’s musings are confined to one or two sardonic sentences, instead of the further unfolding of this complex, interesting character. The mystery seems contrived, the astounding coincidence of the victim being at the same place as Captain Lacey, straining credulity. I know it’s a work of fiction, but it just felt like a lazy ploy to pull James Denis into the story.

I was also disappointed that Captain Lacey didn’t throw a single chair. Sure, he fought for his life, but I’ve started really looking forward to Lacey rising up, like the angel he was named for, to smite the wicked and defend the weak. I chuckle to myself and say, “Classic Lacey.’ Unfortunately, I didn’t get to do that this time, and I do feel like it was partly because the story felt more like a well-fleshed out outline at times. The entire story seemed like it was in a race to finish itself, though that could have been partly because I’ve been waiting a while to be able to purchase this, and I was super-excited to read it. Still, the pace is breakneck throughout, and it was too short. Of course, if I think a book is too short, it’s because I was enjoying reading it.

So, all in all, this is my least-favorite in the Captain Lacey series so far (Books 1-9), but it’s still better than a lot of the dreck that is being put out there. If you liked the previous books, then you will enjoy this one, in spite of the quibbles I have with it.

Review #3

Audiobook The Sudbury School Murders by Ashley Gardner

Another fine addition to the series. In The Sudbury School Murders, Grenville’s plan to find Captain Lacey an easy post in the country where he can relax and catch his breath from his recent adventures backfires when there is a murder on the premises. Rather than a relatively untaxing position as secretary to a boys’ school headmaster, Lacey suddenly finds himself embroiled in fraudulent schemes, racial prejudice, and school politics. Grenville, sensing adventure, travels from London to lend a hand. To complicate matters further, Captain Lacey’s former upstairs neighbor, Miss Simmons has escaped the house in London where Grenville set her up and is in the neighborhood for reasons she refuses to disclose.
Although this book has a fine plot, lots of action and a solid mystery, I didn’t feel like we saw as much individual character development as we have in previous books. It was more like everyone remained in a relative holding pattern while they solved the current crises. The real developments came in the form of foreshadowing societal and economic changes to come at the dawn of the industrial revolution. At stake are the traditional ways of doing business, as well as changes to the class structure as wealth, rather than ancestry, takes the fore in terms of power and influence. Lacey, for all of his progressive ways, is still a traditionalist in many ways and doesn’t quite see the changes on the horizon when others attempt to point them out to him. On a personal note, Lacey does learn some pivotal information near the end of the book but he hasn’t yet decided what, if anything, to do about it before the book ends. I’m still really enjoying this series and I look forward to reading the next book.

Review #4

Audio The Sudbury School Murders narrated by James Gillies

In the fourth instalment for Captain Lacey, he takes a job as secretary to the headmaster of a boy’s school outside London and is, once again, embroiled in murder.

I really like this series for its good writing, and involved, unpredictable plots. Most of all, however, it’s the characters who really make this series: Gabriel Lacey himself, the Brandons, Grenville, Marianne Simmons (who gets an enlarged role here) and Donata Breckenridge are all fascinating and beautifully-drawn. They all have personalities of their own and don’t simply slip into the usual period clichés.

The Regency atmosphere is conveyed well, though the lack of a London setting in this book wasn’t quite as interesting.
This is a series which is best read in order: (1) The Hanover Square Affair , (2) A Regimental Murder , (3)  The Glass House , with another couple of follow after this one.

Review #5

Free audio The Sudbury School Murders – in the audio player below

Sudbury Murders is another enjoyable and absorbing read in the Captain Lacey series. The main characters are well developed and make for interesting relationships and dialogue. No crude romps here – affection is shown subtly and more realistically than many books in the same genre. The plot, though quite simple, moves at a good pace and allows the reader to feel challenged and baffled, yet not overwhelmed with overworked intricacies. A great book to curl up with on a winter night!

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