The House on Half Moon Street

Written by Alex Reeve
Review by Lisa Redmond

An intriguing debut: The House on Half Moon Street is a Victorian murder mystery which features Leo Stanhope, a young coroner’s assistant in 1880s London. Leo is in love with Maria and plans to save her from her life at the brothel on Half Moon Street. When Maria turns up dead in mysterious circumstances, Leo turns amateur sleuth, but he must tread carefully. Although Leo identifies as a man, he was born as Charlotte, so keeping this a secret means Leo is in constant danger of being found out and losing his job, his home and his friends.

This is a brilliantly realised tale of the dangers of being transgender in Victorian England. To be true to himself Leo risks jail or an asylum, and the rejection of his family has taken its toll. Maria was one of the very few who had known Leo’s secret and did not judge him for it, making him all the more determined to track down her killer. The investigation leads Leo into some dangerous parts of London and some dangerous company, making this a thrilling and page-turning adventure with a main character you will be rooting for all the way. I look forward to reading more of Leo’s adventures in the future. This will be a must-read for fans of Lisa Tuttle, Andrew Taylor and Katherine Stansfield.