Captain Lacey has finally taken advantage of his connection to Grenville. Grenville has obtained him a post as secretary to the headmaster of a boy's school. On his arrival, he discovers that it will not be the sinecure that he thought. Someone is playing malicious pranks and disrupting the peace of the school. When Gabriel recognizes the head groom, he finds himself plunged into a mystery that will end in the death of the head groom.
Sebastien, a Romany and groom at the school, is accused of the murder. Gabriel will set out to find the murderer with the help of Grenville. His search will lead to a number of suspects. Gabriel will not only find the perpetrator of the pranks; he will expose an elaborate fraud scheme which led directly to the groom's death.
This book continues the adventures of Captain Lacey and the mysteries that he gets involved in. The author has continued to show us his friends and enemies. Even though some of them make only minor appearances in this book, we see a deepening of the ties between Lacey and Grenville. Grenville is one of the wealthiest men in England and no one, least of all the Captain, understand why he maintains his ties to the Captain.
There is also a shift in the uneasy acquaintance with James Denis. Denis is the man that everyone goes to when they wish to obtain information or objects. His prices are high and his methods are nefarious. He can be brutal and he has no qualms about trying to buy someone or blackmail them into doing what he wants.
Gabriel shows a less melancholy character in this book. He is not afraid to takes some enjoyment out of what life has brought his way. Gabriel has learned to sympathize with some of the students and the harassment they suffer from their prefect. We see his true feelings for Grenville when Grenville is attacked. Gabriel will also find himself in the unique position of doing a service for James Denis. He will find out the location of his wife and daughter. The daughter he hasn't seen since she was two years old.
I can't wait for the next installment to see what Gabriel will do with this new information. If you've enjoyed the previous three books, you won't want to miss this one. Ms. Gardner has continued her series with a book that is as well-written as the others.