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Bleeding Heart Square

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  1,025 Ratings  ·  184 Reviews
If Philippa Penhow hadn't gone to Bleeding Heart Square on that January day, you and perhaps everyone else might have lived happily ever after . . . 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--the gente ...more
Kindle Edition, 458 pages
Published (first published May 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Trelawn
Feb 25, 2017 Trelawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-challenge
Possibly even 4.5 stars. A very well plotted mystery set in London between 1930 and 1934. Philippa Penhow, an elderly spinster, meets a younger man (a womaniser and a schemer) falls head over heels and moves to the country where she promptly disappears. Did she wise up and leave or was she murdered? Four years after her disappearance a number of people begin asking questions for a variety of reasons. This is a slow burning mystery that unravels over almost five hundred pages revealing madness, j ...more
Fiona
I've just finished this book and I'm not sure what to put. It is by my favourite author and reading one of his books makes me feel instantly happy and at home as this one did. I really did enjoy this book and as usual it was very well written.

However the ending didn't really have me racing to finish it and I thought the actual mystery element of the story was fairly weak and slow. However, this does not detract from what makes this a good book.

It is set on a back drop of the confused political a
...more
Pkc181
Aug 17, 2011 Pkc181 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guess I should start off with the fact I’m not someone who normally reads mystery novels (though I do enjoy them; I just don’t read tons of them) but I was intrigued by this particular book because it was set in the tumultuous period between WW1 and WW2 in Britain; a time period and locale I’m especially fond of. So, I had no real expectations, I just hoped the story wouldn’t turn out to be too simplistic or the characters too broad, flat, etc.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The story is
...more
Gail
Jun 20, 2016 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adore Andrew Taylor books. I needed something intelligent to devour after a string of disappointing reads, so I reverted to one of my favourite authors.

This is not his best work, in comparison to everything I had read by him. It is, however, atmospheric and is set in the 1930s which was a troubled time, of course.

Lydia is married to the horrendous Marcus and after an altercation goes to live with her estranged father in Bleeding Heart Square, which is a shared house of apartments with some v
...more
Sheila Beaumont
Andrew Taylor is a British mystery author who should be better known in the United States. This complex story is set mostly in 1934 London, with flashbacks to 1930 via a diary kept by Philippa Penhow, a pathetically gullible, financially well-off older woman who is courted by Joseph Serridge, a middle-aged scoundrel known to some as "the devil" who convinces her that he is truly in love with her.

The cast of characters is colorful and Dickensian. It includes Lydia Langstone, a young woman who has
...more
Emily
Feb 14, 2011 Emily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Set in London in the 1930's, "Bleeding Heart Square" tells the story of Lydia Langstone, a wealthy woman who leaves her abusive husband and goes to live with her father in a less-than-ideal part of London. While settling into her new life and trying to establish her identity, Lydia finds herself mixed up in an investigation of a missing woman who has ties to a number of people around her in her new home, Bleeding Heart Square. She and a fellow tenant, Rory Wentworth, work together to determine w ...more
Ant Harrison
Aug 28, 2011 Ant Harrison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, favourites
One of the best books I've ever read. I can't even recognise the critique offered by a number of other reviewers, let alone agree with them. The setting, place, time and characterisation were all spot-on, and I couldn't stop reading. Typical of Taylor's style, he writes with an almost detached air, slightly disconnected which seems to increase the narrative drive. I really didn't want this book to end. If you haven't done so already, then start reading this today.
© Koplowitz 2010
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: The book sounded perfect for me: a British historical mystery set in the thirties which the blurbs assured me was "beautifully crafted".

I have found myself a new favourite author! After reading this book, I want to get my hands on anything else by this man. This is a clever book, very intelligently crafted and written with a literary flair. His combination of mystery and history is absolutely superb.

There is so much story here and a mystery that morphs itself in so many direc
...more
Alice
Jun 28, 2015 Alice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mlle Alice, pouvez-vous nous raconter votre rencontre avec Le Diable Danse à Bleeding Heart Square?
"C'est Lou qui m'a envoyé ce livre lors de notre mini swap British et mon thème était Londres, ses crimes et ses secrets. J'avais pas mal entendu parler de celui-ci et il n'est pas resté longtemps dans ma PAL."

Dites-nous en un peu plus sur son histoire...
"Lydia Langstone a un mari, une belle maison et une place dans la bonne société mais elle va tout quitter pour aller vivre à Bleeding Heart Squa
...more
Lourdes Venard
Dec 06, 2009 Lourdes Venard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lydia Langstone is an upper-class woman used to the finer things. But when her husband strikes her, she leaves her comfortable life to share a gritty apartment with her estranged father in the somewhat seedy Bleeding Heart Square. Rory Wentwood, a journalist who has spent years in India and is now unemployed, also finds himself renting an apartment there. The legend of the square has it that the devil, disguised during a party, danced away with a lady, leaving her body on the square, her bleedin ...more
Nancy
Sep 22, 2014 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"don't go of a night into Bleeding Heart Square. It's a dark, little, dirty, black, ill-looking yard, With queer people about." and so begins Bleeding Heart Square.
It's about trust and betrayal between mother and daughter, daughter and father and husband and wife. It is also a brilliant extension of the Ingoldsby Legends, taking them from the mid-1800s to the time between the wars in England. If you have not heard of the Ingoldsby Legends, it would be a good thing to learn a little about them
...more
Pat Gerber-Relf
Jan 17, 2016 Pat Gerber-Relf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It takes part in Holborn, London, an area which I though I knew perfectly, but there are some things that I did not discover. After finishing the book I checked on Bleeding Heart Square and discovered that it really exists, complete with its secret entrance. The plot in the book was well constructed, the time when the fascists had begun to show their ungly heads, The people living in house No. 7 on the square were a mixed bunch, and most of them had their secrets. The ending o ...more
Kirsty Darbyshire

I've looked back through my notes on every book of Andrew Taylor's that I've read over the last five years and I've pretty much liked them all and really loved several of them. Which makes me feel not too guilty, when you look at the overall picture, about saying that this was a bit of an "eh?" book for me.

There were lots of little things I liked but the overall story didn't especially engage me: I liked the main female character Libby and the insights into 1930s living, divorce and the rise of

...more
Sharon4
Sep 12, 2008 Sharon4 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One or two of the characters are a little flat and two-dimensional, but Andrew Taylor has a flair for atmosphere and setting a scene. 1930s London could be a grim, cold, frightening place and he evokes that beautifully. He also knows how to create suspense; the interweaving of the present, with the past through the diaries of a love-struck, increasingly terrified woman keeps the reader turning the pages to find out how it all ends.
Barb
I loved Andrew Taylor's 'An Unpardonable Crime' (aka 'The American Boy') and I did enjoy his 'The Anatomy of Ghosts'. Unfortunately one hundred pages into this one and I still didn't find a character to care about or a mystery that held my attention. That being said I'm looking forward to reading his most recent novel, 'The Scent of Death'.
Cathy
Jul 09, 2012 Cathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I like Andrew Taylor's uncluttered prose and the way he subtly builds an underlying sense of menace, which he does so well in this novel. It's a period piece, steeped in vivid detail and a sense of 1930s decay. You can almost smell the damp and imagine the faded wallpaper and dark, draughty hallways. I found the central mystery and the final twist disturbing and compelling.
Kay
Apr 08, 2010 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I enjoyed this mystery so much! I'm not sure where I first saw it, but I found a note to myself about it and gave it a try. What a spooky, atmospheric and compelling read. Fascists, Communists, class conflict, a mysterious disappearance -- and a twisty plot too! I'll be looking for more by this author.
Bev
Nicely done period piece with an interesting twist at the end.
Eva
Apr 12, 2010 Eva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great for long, dark, cold rainy winter nights by the fire...
Ian Mapp
Nov 07, 2016 Ian Mapp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, crime
This is the first book by Andrew Taylor that I have read. It won't be the last.

Its a fairly standard mystery/crime novel set in 1930's London. Bleeding Heart Square is a real place. I shall be going to recheck out the Mitre Pub which is in the area. The story, as per the notes at the end, is based on a true life crime.

This adds a high degree of authenticity to the story. Especially as the politics of the times (fascist party in particular) are liberally sprinkled across the story.

Lots of charact
...more
Sonya L Moore
Easy read, not deep but interesting and moves fast enough to keep you reading.

From Amazon:
"If Philippa Penhow hadn't gone to Bleeding Heart Square on that January day, you and perhaps everyone else might have lived happily ever after . . .

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--the genteelly derelict Captain Ingleby-Lewis
...more
Karen
Storytelling or Storyweaving? BLEEDING HEART SQUARE is a classic example of a carefully woven psychological suspense story written by one of the English masters. Mind you, this isn't going to be a book for everyone. It's one of those stories that starts out with central threads that slowly are interwoven towards the conclusion.

Something has happened in connection to 7 Bleeding Heart Square. In 1934, Lydia Langstone seeks refuge there from her violent husband. It's a decaying London cul-de-sac,
...more
Martin
Sep 24, 2012 Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, historical
In the mid 1930s a young woman, married to a wealthy London social climber, walks away from an abusive marriage. Having been beaten and degraded she takes up residence with her father in a small apartment off of Bleeding Heart square. For the first time in her life Lydia has to fend for herself and make due in a world she had not experienced before. We learn that the previous owner of the house Lydia's father is renting rooms from, disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The old landlady mos ...more
Ingrid Fasquelle
C'est dans un labyrinthe sinistre et mystérieux qu'Andrew Taylor, nouvel enfant chéri des lettres anglaises, entraîne son lecteur. Revisitant avec succès le roman d'atmosphère à la Agatha Christie, il pioche, bien à propos, dans une vieille légende urbaine du XVIIème siècle et signe un thriller littéraire foisonnant, qui ravira les amateurs du genre.

A vrai dire, j'attendais davantage, ou plutôt autre chose, de cette intrigue. Certes, il n'y a absolument rien à redire de cet ouvrage qui conjugue
...more
Janette Fleming
Nov 06, 2009 Janette Fleming rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
Andrew Taylor’s literary mystery is set in London in the early 1930's, in that uneasy period between the Great Wars.

Aristocrat Lydia Langstone leaves her violent husband and having no one else to turn to moves in with her ne'er-do-well drunken Father, Captain Ingleby-Lewis.

Their scruffy, lodging house at 7 Bleeding Heart Square used to be owned by a rich spinster Miss Phillipa Penhow but she has, apparently, gone to America after signing over the house to Joseph Serridge, a mysterious, menacing
...more
Betty-Anne
I was set to receive Bleeding Heart Square as a pre-read ARC in February 2009, but it never arrived until almost a year later when a delivery issue was sorted out. I remember being disappointed because I thought it sounded like a good read. I can definitely say now that I would have missed out on a fantastic book if I had never had the chance to read it. This was one book that was definitely worth the wait.

Set in the 1930’s, Bleeding Heart Square has the feel of a classic gothic mystery, with al
...more
Sandie
Either I have become an absolute sucker for historical fiction set in 20th century London, or the last few novels I’ve read by UK authors are so unusually well plotted and complex that they have captured my imagination and made me a true fan. My latest foray into this genre is Andrew Taylor’s Bleeding Heart Square, a tale less about violent murder and more an exploration into the psyche’s of several individuals whose lives are interconnected through their association with a spinster named Philip ...more
Doug Beatty
Aug 22, 2009 Doug Beatty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The events of 1930 will haunt Bleeding Heart Square forever. This was the time that Philippa Penhow left her farm to travel to America. No one has heard from Miss Penhow since. Her niece and her niece's finance Rory are concerned so that four years later in 1934, Rory takes a room in the attic of Bleeding Heart Square.

At the same time, Lydia Langstone is fleeing from her abusive husband Marcus. Her father, Captain Ingleby-Lewis lives there. She has not seen her father since she was two and her
...more
Cate
Apr 24, 2012 Cate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-books, london
Fantastic book. Not sure how I got onto this author: it may have been a Good Reads recommendation, but I would certainly read his other books. This is set in 1934 in Bleeding Heart Square, London where legend has it the devil danced once danced. Decaying and full of damaged, down & outers all seemingly under the thrall of the landlord, Mr Serridge. The initial question is what happened to Ms Penhow, the former owner of the house where Serridge runs his lodging house and why rotting hearts ke ...more
Heidi
I have had this book for over a year, keeping it in store like a special treat for a rainy day; and finally the time came to read it. I savored it as much as I had anticipated. I think it is the delectable combination of history, location (England), psychological acuity, sophistication, wit, beautiful writing, and mystery that informs all of Andrew Taylor's books that make them such unerring sure things for me. I won't go into the plot, because other reviewers have covered that, but I'll just sa ...more
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Andrew Taylor (b. 1951) is a British author of mysteries. Born in East Anglia, he attended university at Cambridge before getting an MA in library sciences from University College London. His first novel, Caroline Miniscule (1982), a modern-day treasure hunt starring history student William Dougal, began an eight-book series and won Taylor wide critical acclaim. He has written several other thrill ...more
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