“Bleeding Heart Yard” by Elly Griffiths – Book Review

The Characters:

I imagined DS Kaur to look like the actress Archie Panjabi

DI Harbinder Kaur is thirty-six years old, gay, and up until very recently she worked with the Sussex Police. Now she has just been promoted to DI in the Criminal Investigation Department of the London Metropolitan Police. Harbinder has not yet come ‘out’ to her flatmates or her work colleagues. She is extremely intelligent and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Her thoughts (and sometimes her words) are filled with scathing, though humourous sarcasm. She uses her demanding work to mask her loneliness.

DS Cassie Fitzherbert – is on DI Harbinder Kaur’s team. Married, and the mother of two, she is harbouring a dark secret. When a murder takes place at her school reunion, she is off the case because she is a witness.

DS Jake Barker – is Harbinder’s deputy on this case because Cassie is a witness. An efficient policeman.

DS Kim Manning – fiftyish woman with dyed crimson hair. A born and bred Londoner who has enviable people skills.

DC Tory Hamilton-Fletcher – a bit of an ‘airhead’ whom Harbinder would like to have off her team.

This is the third novel in a series that just grows stronger and stronger. DI Harbinder Kaur is a petite, though fierce, young policewoman, and a force to be reckoned with. Her character is written with empathy and humour. This time out she is settling in to a new job with the London Metropolitan Police. She is working her first case with her new team and is finding her footing. She is torn between missing her family back in Sussex, and excitement to be living and working in London.

Told from three points of view, we heard from Harbinder, her DS Cassie, and one of the women alumni from the school, Anna Vance. Anna lives in Italy but returned to England to care for her terminally ill mother.

The plot and characters were interesting. The varied alumni of the school had interesting lives and included politicians, doctors, rock stars, teachers, and police. Though there were many possible suspects, I didn’t guess correctly. I love it when that happens, especially when it makes SO much sense in hindsight.

The overriding theme of this novel is the fragility and unreliability of human memory, as well as the ability of the traumatized to bury their memories deep below the surface.

It is the brilliant characterization coupled with the humour that makes this series special for me. I will eagerly read the next instalment when the opportunity arises.

Overall, I found this novel to be an intelligently written, literary murder mystery with an outstanding cast of well-developed characters. Highly recommended!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Mariner Books/HarperCollins via Edelweiss.      

ISBN: 9780063289277 –  ASIN: B09Y94V8G2 –  352 pages

Elly Griffiths with the UK edition of “Bleeding Heart Yard”


Elly Griffiths is the pen name of Domenica de Rosa. She was born in London and now lives with her husband, two children and cat in East Sussex. Elly is the author of the popular Ruth Galloway mystery series and the Stephens and Mephisto novels. She read English at King’s College London and, after graduating, worked in a library, for a magazine and then as a publicity assistant at HarperCollins.  All this completely put her off writing and it wasn’t until she was on maternity leave in 1998 that she wrote what would become her first published novel, The Italian Quarter.

Three other books followed, all about Italy, families and identity. By now she had two children and her husband Andy had just given up his city job to become an archaeologist. They were on holiday in Norfolk, walking across Titchwell Marsh, when Andy mentioned that prehistoric man had thought that marshland was sacred. Because it’s neither land nor sea, but something in-between, they saw it as a kind of bridge to the afterlife. Neither land nor sea, neither life nor death. As he said these words the entire plot of The Crossing Places appeared, full formed, in her head and, walking towards me out of the mist, I saw Dr Ruth Galloway. I didn’t think that this new book was significantly different from my ‘Italy’ books but, when she read it, my agent said, ‘This is crime. You need a crime name.’

And that’s how I became Elly Griffiths.

Follow Elly Griffiths on Twitter and/or Instagram.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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2 Responses to “Bleeding Heart Yard” by Elly Griffiths – Book Review

  1. I have and cannot wait to read this! SPOILER: In other news, the next Ruth book will be the last. How I will miss them.

    Liked by 1 person

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