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The Hanged Man

(Her Majesty's Psychic Service #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,593 ratings  ·  323 reviews
The Hanged Man is the first book all-new Gaslamp Fantasy series by P. N. Elrod.

On a freezing Christmas Eve in 1879, a forensic psychic reader is summoned from her Baker Street lodgings to the scene of a questionable death. Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury (named after her godmother, the current Queen of England) is adamant that the death in question is a magically compromis
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 19th 2015 by Tor Books
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3.80  · 
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 ·  1,593 ratings  ·  323 reviews

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Gail Carriger
Enjoyable read. It features Alex, a physic (a little like being an empath), and various other entrants into the occult. I would call it more gaslight fantasy, as opposed to steampunk, in the vein of The Native Star by M. K. Hobson. I found the plot enjoyable to follow, the side characters very intriguing, and the love interest (or is it interests) appealing. For me, I would prefer a little more nookie and a little less gore, but that's know how I roll.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I have a weakness for gaslight paranormal fantasy and lady detectives, so when presented with P.N. Elrod’s The Hanged Man I found I could hardly resist this delectable mystery set in alternate historical England with shades of the Victorian era.

The book begins on a cold and dreary Christmas Eve in 1897, and Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury of Her Majesty’s Psychic Service is called out to a house on Baker Street to do a f
May 22, 2015 rated it liked it
This was my first encounter with Elrod since reading a couple of Vampire Files in my teens, and although the setting is different -- an alt-history Victorian London -- stylistically it is about what I remember: entertaining but not very complex* plot, sympathetic but not very rounded characters, competent but not noteworthy prose style. Fun beach read sort of thing.

*In fact, so not-complex that some twists I was expecting turned out to be wishful thinking.
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
I rather enjoyed this book. It was steampunkish murder mystery/+ bigger plot in an alternate England.

Alex is an engaging main character that works with Her Majesty's Psychic Service. She is level headed but impulsive, sensible yet often throws caution to the wind in order to solve the mysteries surrounding the case. Hers is a world where some have paranormal abilities, many of which work to keep England safe. Late at night she is called to the scene of murder that hits close to home. Soon she i
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
Thank you Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for a eARC 4 chapter EXCERPT in exchange for an honest review.

I'm dying to read the rest of this book.
Princess Bride waiting
HP waiting

Alex is a Reader. She is called to "read" deaths and suspects to bring about justice. She is part of a department of psychic readers under Her Majesty's service in this alternate, mildly steampunk England. She is strong, stoic, smart, lonely. She is Sherlockian in observation and lives on Baker street. I'm also in love with the brusque and intimidat
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Mon avis en Français

My English review

I saw some very good reviews about this book and I admit that I was impatient to begin it to discover the whole story. It must be said that it had it all: a fantasy aspect, a good investigation, murders and all that taking place during the Victorian period. What more can we ask for?

So we discover Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury, a young woman part of the secret services and helping the police to solve some murders. Indeed, her gift allows her to feel the emo
***2018 Summer of Spies***

Recommended for fans of the Victorian lady detective form of fantasy.

I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of the steampunk subgenre, although I seem to be warming up to that category as I read more of it. This novel is one of those best suited to my particular tastes in fantasy.

I chose it partly because of the series title, Her Majesty’s Psychic Service. It is definitely a mystery with a dollop of romance—I’d been hoping for something spy related, from that series tit
Jacob Proffitt
Jun 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: steampunk
I didn't connect very well to this book, which is kind of a shame. The world is interesting and the story is well constructed. There are interesting elements and I can't help thinking I should have enjoyed this much better than I did.

The obvious weaknesses are the uneven pacing and an emotionally distant main character. Alex Pendlebury is a "Reader"—someone who reads the emotions of others (including lingering impressions left on objects and locations). To keep from being overwhelmed, she has le
*RATING* 4.0

*My Thoughts*

On Christmas Eve 1879, Alex, a top of the line Psychic reader who works for Her Majesty's Psychic Service, is called out by the gruff Scotland Yard Inspector Lennon who tells it like it is, and isn't afraid of offending anyone's sensibilities or political correctness. He has himself a pickle, and can't get anything done until Alex clears the scene for him. He believes the victim is a suicide, but needs Alex to verify that fa
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of science fiction set in Victorian London.
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
P.N. Elrod’s The Hanged Man presents a ‘new’ service to aid in murder investigations. Queen Victoria decides to add ‘Her Majesty’s Psychic Service’ to assist in murder mysteries. Setting: London, England, 1879, Christmas morning. Miss ‘Alex’ Pendlebury is called to Harley Street ‘to read’ a questionable death. Scotland Yard is also summoned. Alex’s job is ‘to read’ any and all emotions found at the place of death which may prove helpful in solving the mystery. Queen Victoria, being a forward-thi ...more
Jamie Collins
Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it
I picked this up because I like Elrod’s Vampire Files series, which are entertaining books about a vampire private detective living in 1920’s Chicago.

This is something different: a “gaslamp fantasy”, or perhaps steampunk lite: we have Victorians with modern attitudes, airships and a little fancy weaponry, but no excessive gadgetry. It features an agent in Her Majesty’s Psychic Service who, in the course of solving a murder mystery/conspiracy, discovers that there are more supernatural forces at
Nov 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Default three star rating.

This isn't terrible, but it isn't spectacular either. I like parts of it, and there are some great details, but I also have issues.
1. It's one heck of a case of likeable characters being good, and unlikeable ones being evil. To the extent that I'm wondering how some things remained hidden. There is also not sufficient explanation for the reasons behind some of the characters actions. I accept that some people are really just terrible, but (view spoiler)
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it

I got a tantalizing preview from Netgalley... but I don't feel I can publish a review for an excerpt. What I read is well worth the 4.5 stars though! Can't wait for the complete book. (Tor, please don't make me wait till May!)

Updated after I read the complete book: it did not disappoint. This book has a unique, engaging protagonist for a murder mystery set in the Victorian era - but with a twist: Victoria didn't marry Albert, and has set up her own Psychic Service for those special investigat
Jun 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
My emotions:

Chapter 4: Oh whoa! Cool introduction. This is going along well!

Chapter 6ish: huh this is slowing down a bit. What are we doing again? Who is this person?

Chapter 8ish: okay this used to be interesting. I'm going to press on. I'm sure it'll pick up.

Chapter 11: I'm bored and I really can't go on. Should I quit? Should I finish?

*leaves to sleep and comes back a day later*

Well, I could just skip to the final chapter (15) and just see how it goes.

Chapter 15 skips: Huh. Well, I guess
Obviously I cannot review or rate this as I was provided with the preview except of the first four chapters, but if they are any indication of what the book is going to be, this will be a phenomenal, lush and dynamic read! I am looking forward to reading the whole story.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Imagine Sherlock Holmes but now he's a girl who carries a gun, lives in Baker Street, has the ability to read people's emotions, helps the police with cases and lives in a semi feminist Victorian London. And she is twenty five years old, mature, independent and clever.


I also adored the writing, it's really atmospheric, specially in the 'quiet' moments of the story. The mystery aspect didn't fully convinced me but I would totally read more from this world.
A Reader's Heaven
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

This was a *SNEAK PEEK* copy - only the first four chapters.

On a freezing Christmas Eve in 1879, a forensic psychic reader is summoned from her Baker Street lodgings to the scene of a questionable death. Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury (named after her godmother, the current Queen of England) is adamant that the death in question is a magically compromised murder and not a suicide, as the police had assumed, a
This book has a unique, engaging protagonist for a murder mystery set in the Victorian era - but with a twist: Victoria didn't marry Albert, and has set up her own Psychic Service for those special investigations. I was fully engaged, with the plot steaming on at full speed... and then I came to the end of the preview. In my eagerness to try P.N. Elrod's new book, I hadn't noticed this was just an excerpt.

Disclaimer: I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Apr 30, 2015 marked it as to-read
I got the excerpt from Netgally, and it was really interesting.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely read! Part-fantasy, part-mystery, part-Pride and Prejudice, P.N. Elrod managed to weave the three together in a believable world of magic realism that had me hooked from the start. The characters are nicely developed, the ‘gifts’ and other magic elements not so outlandish as to render them unbelievable, and the hint of romance in a book otherwise all business a delicious tough. Even for me, a die-hard anti-romance-in-fantasy crusader! The feminist undertones were deftly included, and I ...more
Bonnie Wilson
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is one of those books that make me really wish there were half star ratings - it's really more of a 2.5 - moderately entertaining but a little too precious at times for me. I was pleased that the author gave Britain an alternative history that makes his perky heroine more believable in the timeline. (And an additional benefit eliminates the actual dreary, imperialist Victoria as a character.)

I would read another of these if it came my way, but probably not go out of my way to seek one out.
May 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: steampunk, fantasy
What caught my eye was the title since it indicates a Tarot card. Nothing to do with that. Nevertheless, this steampunk novel with romantic elements is great. It's got a very strongly built reworking of Victorian England. The young queen defies convention and marries a peer of the realm and lives happily married with four children. A strong believer in the rights of women and men, she works to grant the vote to everyone in the realm. The England under this Queen flourishes around the world, as d ...more
Katharine Kimbriel
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Steampunk, gas lamp fantasy/mystery lovers.
What if Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent (the future Queen Victoria) had a wake-up call prior to her crowning—one that caused her to battle for the rights of her citizens? What if British women had the vote in the 1850s, and their own property rights? What if Victoria had insisted on marrying a peer and not a prince?

What if this all happened in a world where a Psychic Service was critical, because enemies dark and networked were attacking the roots of the empire?

This is t
Jessica Strider
May 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Pros: great protagonist, interesting mystery, subtle romance


Alexandrina Pendelbury is goddaughter of Queen Victoria and a member of Her Majesty’s psychic service. On Christmas eve she’s called in to do a Reading for a suicide, but the emotions surrounding the crime scene are strange, and the identity of the victim propels her into investigating a series of mysteries.

In many ways this book reminded me of Jaime Lee Moyer’s book, Delia’s Shadow. Though this one takes place further in the past
Jun 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is....a lot of things.

My favorite thing? Alex. She's intelligent, knows how to fight, has a hunger to travel the world and explore, is strong-willed and a little bit petty. Any heroine with a sharp tongue and a pistol is going to be a favorite of mine.

TBH, all these characters are pretty great. They're well rounded, most of them. Brook feels a little generic, but everyone else has a decent level of depth.

The plot kept moving along pretty quickly, with enough plot twists and dramatic r
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fantastic new novel by P. N. Elrod.

Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury, named for her godmother, Queen Victoria, works for Her Majesty's Psychic Service. Mostly Alex works with Scotland Yard as a Forensic Reader, but when a close family member is murdered, Alex finds herself confronting terror and treason at every turn.

Set in a Victorian England where Victoria married an English peer, not a German prince, and where women got both the vote and equal rights in 1859, "The Hanged Man" is best described
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book for several weeks as my bedside reader. It was just enough fun and intrigue to keep me hanging in for a few pages before sleep. I like Alex as a heroine. The progressive “anti Victorian” lady that wears trousers, knows guns, and can unkidnap herself thankyouverymuch appeals to me. From the outset there are supernatural elements (also appealing to me), but there was a point when several supernatural things converged and I felt it was too much. This is a first book in a series ...more
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
3.5 stars, rounded down because the entire book happens in one day, which would not normally be a problem except that this book was 336 pages of just adventure and nothing else. It would have been better had the author given the characters (and by extension the readers) some time to breathe and reflect. Instead, it was chapter after chapter of adventure, and there was too much 'showing' and not enough 'telling' in my opinion. I know a lot of readers often complain that authors 'tell' too much, b ...more
Nov 09, 2018 rated it liked it
this is really 3.5 stars. I enjoyed more than I thought. It started out a bit slow but picked up soon enough. It grew into quite an elaborate story - although it turned out a bit too close to unpleasant current events (which is NOT the fault or intention of the author). I picked the bad guy out as soon a that person was part of the story. But, because there was more to this story there were other bad guys and I was quite surprised by who all was involved. Kudos to the author for that. I liked th ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Apr 27, 2015 02:26PM  

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Patricia Nead Elrod is an American fantasy writer specializing in novels about vampires. Her work falls into areas of fantasy and (in some cases) mystery or historical fiction, but normally not horror, since her vampires are the heroes. -Wikipedia
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“Woodwake wants you in her office. What did you do?” “I invaded Egypt and they’re very annoyed about it.” “Who is? Them upstairs or the Egyptians?” “Both.” 0 likes
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