Andrew Taylor

Bleeding Heart Square

""The seediness of this part of London is well portrayed..." "


The down-at-heel Bleeding Heart Square lies in the heart of London. A motley assortment of tenants live at number 7; from the drunken Captain Ingleby-Lewis to the sinister landlord Joseph Serridge.

It is to 7 Bleeding Heart Square that Lydia Langstone flees after an altercation with her husband. Although Captain Ingleby-Lewis is her father, the life that he now leads is far removed from her privileged lifestyle. In order to remain hidden from her husband, Lydia assimilates into the life of the household. However, the house holds its own secret. Miss Penhow, the house's previous owner, has mysteriously disappeared, possibly at the hands of Joseph Serridge. As Lydia struggles to understand the dynamics of the house, her own life, and past, are put into danger.

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This is an interesting book by Andrew Taylor. Part thriller and part crime novel, it is written as a Victorian gothic murder story and the reader is continually surprised that it is in fact set in 1934. Given the 1930s setting, I did find it hard sometimes to believe Lydia's marriage predicament, particularly as it was during these years that divorce was easier to come by. However, the narrative is very good, split between telling Lydia's story and extract from Miss Penhow's diary. The seediness of this part of London is well portrayed and the practicalities of a well-heeled woman attempting to survive amongst the squalor very well written. There is an interesting twist at the end and the novel ends satisfyingly well.

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