Bleeding Heart Square

Written by Andrew Taylor
Review by Sara Wilson


Legend has it that the Devil once danced in Bleeding Heart Square and, even in 1934, it is an unlikely hiding place for genteel Lydia Langstone. Escaping from an abusive marriage, Lydia turns to her estranged father who lives at number seven. There she finds herself drawn into the mystery of the disappearance of Miss Philippa Benlow, middle-aged spinster and owner of her father’s lodging house.

Parcels of animal hearts, a struggling journalist and a plain-clothed policeman all have a part to play in unravelling the truth of what happened to poor Miss Benlow and explaining the sinister undercurrents that swirl around the goings-on in Bleeding Heart Square.

Situated in the Golden Age of the crime novel, this convoluted story, partly based on a real-life Victorian murder case, is told by the various inhabitants of Bleeding Heart Square and through a series of intriguing diary entries. Set against a backdrop of Mosely Blackshirts, political upheaval and social change, Andrew Taylor’s gothic novel grips the reader from the opening pages. This is not just a run-of-the-mill mystery novel but literature of the highest quality.