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Bleeding Heart Square Hardcover – March 3, 2009
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"It's easy to see why Andrew Taylor's historical mysteries have won so many accolades. The square itself emerges as a major player in this atmospheric, elegantly told mystery, in which you, the reader, are assigned the role of detective."―Rhys Bowen, Agatha, Anthony and MacAvity award-winning author of the Molly Murphy and Royal Spyness mystery series
"Finely drawn period atmosphere, compellingly complex characters, breath-stopping suspense, then twists that will leave you reeling. Taylor is a riveting storyteller, and Bleeding Heart Square may be his best work yet. Absolutely bloody brilliant!!"―Deborah Crombie
Top Customer Reviews
I was able to guess one of the twists that came clear towards the end - so satisfying, that - and was surprised at the other - also satisfying.
Pay attention here to the negative reviews. If you prefer characters dashing from explosions and shoot-outs to sex every few paragraphs - this probably isn't the one for you.
If, on the other hand, you enjoy intelligent, complex characters and meticulous plotting, then Bleeding Heart Square is a winner.
The heroine is Lydia Langstone, an "almost 30" lady of the manor who flees an abusive husband to live with her estranged and alcoholic father. The hero is Rory Wentwood, a jilted and unemployed journalist turned private detective. These two people examine the disappearance of P.M. Penhow, who disappeared four years earlier and was the previous owner of the building in Bleeding Heart Square, in which they both live. Their efforts begin independent of each other, but as the story progresses, they work together to try to find out what happened. The villain is Joseph Serridge, landlord to both of our heroes and an imposing and powerful figure, both physically and politically.
I must say that I was completely surprised by the ending. While the main characters uncover a lot of information and learn more than they bargained for in other areas, they never do find out what happened to Miss Penhow. The reader does, however, and in a very unexpected way.
There are several story lines at work throughout the book. The personal stories of each character are woven into the whole of the story, but the appearance of the Facist Party in England and the relationships of characters both past and present keep the reader on his toes and guessing at what will happen next. Each chapter begins with an exerpt from P.M. Penhow's diary with comments made by in the second person to "you.Read more ›
Perhaps Taylor simply wound things up too much and the spring snapped. Most readers probably do not have the patience to wade through all this prose or have the fishing boots to wade for that long. And by the time you get to the end, the impending danger didn't seem dangerous enough and the mystery seemed somewhat predictable and not all that mysterious.
And that's a pity. Taylor is really quite a gifted writer. His writing is rich and his prose is elegant. He has a keen eye for detail and fleshing out believable characters. The descriptions are never forced, but really add incredible dimension. When Lydia Langstone enters her house at the beginning of the novel he describes it as a 'dirty wedding cake.' In one simile he gives us a visual image of the building, insight into the state of Lydia's marriage, and conveys Lydia's feelings about coming home. This is potent stuff and Taylor writes this way throughout the book.
He also has a knack for creating a solid cast of characters and an unexpected, convoluted web that joins their lives together. He even hits the setting, spot on, for a mystery novel. He describes a dreary, 1930s, pre-World War II London with incredible aplomb.Read more ›
A major thing that bothered me was that there is no sense of time and place. It's set in 1930s London, but I didn't get the feel of that time period. It might as well have been set in modern times. Sometimes, even the dialogue felt too modern for the 1930s. Many of the characters' actions are also often unrealistic in terms of the time the book is set in. Lydia leaves her husabnd without thinking twice. Could it really be that easy for a woman to leave her husband in the 1930s? Especially a woman like Lydia, an upper-class woman, who is used to a life of comfort and is depenednt on her husband for all luxuries. Neither the setting nor the time are vivid enough. Actually the same goes for the characters too. The characters are tolerable, but so very bland. The plot seemed stagnant at many points with nothing happening for pages and pages. With a well-written suspense novel, my interest is usually piqued within the first ten pages of the book. In case of Bleeding Heart Square, after almost about 100 pages, I was still waiting for the actual plot to start.
The only thing that kept me reading till the end was that I really wanted to find out what happened to Miss Penhow. It's not a very gripping mystery though, and I admit I almost wanted to skip to the last few pages.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found this book at the local used book store and bought it because it won the CWA's Crtier Diamond Dagger award in 2009. Am I ever glad I did! Read morePublished 9 months ago by Tower Lowe
Well written. Intriguing plot and interesting characters. I enjoyed it literally up until the end. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Judy Morgan
I liked it enough to keep reading, but not the best story of its kind. I generally enjoy it, but not one of my favorites.Published on February 9, 2014 by reader in ny
Yesterday I finished BLEEDING HEART SQUARE by Andrew Taylor. Whoo boy, I didn't see it coming--rather, I did see something coming--and it made me complaisant. Read morePublished on September 14, 2013 by Theresa de Valence
A true page-turner that keeps you guessing and second guessing your assumptions. Main story pulls you further in at every turn while side stories leave you guessing even after it... Read morePublished on September 14, 2013 by MissRight
Well written. Historical details seemed accurate and added much. Too many writers leave things vague instead of doing their research. The ending was a surprise but fit.Published on December 24, 2012 by Janelle E.
I quite like the style of the book. I don't think it could ever be described as a thriller per se, nevertheless there was certainly plenty of mystery about it. Read morePublished on October 20, 2012 by Richard B. OSBORNE
Unlike other mysteries this one is clever, suspenseful, surprising and introduces a cast of characters Dickens would love. Read morePublished on June 2, 2011 by Mad Jar