Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mystery Book Review: Bleeding Heart Square by Andrew Taylor

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Bleeding Heart Square by Andrew Taylor. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Bleeding Heart Square by Andrew Taylor


Hyperion (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-4013-1014-1 (1401310141)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4013-1014-1 (9781401310141)
Publication Date: January 2010
List Price: $15.99

Review: Andrew Taylor's stand-alone novel Bleeding Heart Square is a series of interwoven storylines that form a complex, but satisfying, mystery thriller.

It is 1934 and Lydia Langstone has left her abusive husband to live with her estranged father. Her mother, of course, would not approve of her leaving, but her parents have been separated since she was a child, but she's confident she's made the right choice. It's quite a change for her, from a life of privilege with servants attending to her every need, to a small apartment at #7 Bleeding Heart Square. The cobbled alley is small, too tight to even drive a car into, and legend has it that "the devil at one time danced in the square." Now there is a figure skulking in the shadows, who watches everyone as they enter and leave. He seems especially interested in Lydia, an aristocratic woman living with her drunken old father. What is his interest in the people of the square, and more particularly, Lydia herself?

Lydia is but one of the central characters of this most interesting story. Others include Miss Philippa May Penhow, who has not been seen since the spring of 1930. Though a journalist, Rory Wentwood, is suspicious of her disappearance, her common-law husband, Joe Serridge, who owns the building, insists she left him for another man, and is off in America, using a letter postmarked from New York City as proof. But someone has taken possession of Miss Penhow's diary, which details Joe's affairs with teenaged girls ... and Joe is now receiving decaying hearts in the mail -- revenge? blackmail? murder?

Bleeding Heart Square is in many ways an exceptional thriller with riveting characters, a fast-paced plot, and a moody, atmospheric setting. The tangled web of deceit and intrigue that draws Lydia into helping Rory investigate Miss Penhow's mysterious absence and Joe's hold over his tenants, including Lydia's father, also keeps the reader's attention and interest, up to the exciting conclusion.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Bleeding Heart Square and to Hyperion for providing a trade paperback edition of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): It's 1934, and the decaying London cul-de-sac of Bleeding Heart Square is an unlikely place of refuge for aristocratic Lydia Langstone. But as she flees her abusive marriage, there is only one person she can turn to ...

Legend has it that the devil once danced in the square -- but is there now a new and sinister presence lurking in its shadows?

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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