A solid series opener. 3/5 stars.
Thank you to Bloomsbury, Raven Books and NetGalley for providing me with an e-copy of this book.
The blurb: The start of an enticing new historical series set in Victorian London; introducing Leo Stanhope: a transgender coroner’s assistant who must uncover a killer without risking his own future
Leo Stanhope. Avid chess player; assistant to a London coroner; in love with Maria; and hiding a very big secret.
For Leo was born Charlotte, the daughter of a respectable reverend. But knowing he was meant to be a man – despite the evidence of his body – and unable to cope with living a lie any longer, he fled his family home at just fifteen and has been living as Leo: his secret known to only a few trusted people. But then Maria is found dead and Leo is accused of her murder. Desperate to find her killer and under suspicion from all those around him, he stands to lose not just the woman he loves, but his freedom and, ultimately, his life.
I’m partial to stories set in the Victorian period, a mystery and original characters, and The House on Half Moon Street promised all three.
The descriptions of Victorian London are very successful. The details are excellent, and the passages which conjour up the dingier, fogbound parts of the city were particularly evocative.