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 atmosphere of the 1930's, when differing ideas such as Fascism and Communism were cooking in the pot and another war looked in the future - something many people feared and were in denial about.
It is an interesting setting. We look back and with hind sight we would rather dissociate ourselves against the fact that once Fascism was actually quite a popular ideology in England as much as anywhere else. The idea of power and standing together banging our drums...
Each chapter starts with a strange ominous narrator in the second person and an entry from a diary of a missing woman of whom the principle mystery surrounds.
The story follows Lydia Langstone who has run away from her husband to live in Bleeding Heart Square with her father (actually Bleeding Heart Yard) where she becomes embroiled in the mystery of the previous owner of the house, who is the author of the diary entries you read.
Andrew Taylor excels at characterization and creating a startlingly real setting and atmosphere of 1930's London. He does not fault in this novel either - he uses language to weave together his story, gently building the mystery up and despite its slowness, rarely a page goes by that does not throw something else up.
Reading something by Andrew Taylor is like closing your eyes and entering a different world. This isn't a rip-roaring crime mystery or thriller, your heart isn't going to be beating in your chest - but if you would like to read something that looks more at the social setting, something written so beautifully you could swim in the turns of phrases, this book fit the bill.