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"The House on Vesper Sands is a delicious book. Somehow it manages to do a hundred marvelous things at once: Funny, eerie, tender, haunting and unsettling, smokily atmospheric and fantastically enjoyable, it’s a nineteenth-century supernatural procedural mystery that is also an impassioned meditation on love and duty, loss, suffering, power and injustice. I absolutely loved it." —Helen Macdonald
With all the wit of a Jane Austen novel, and a case as beguiling as any in Sherlock Holmes’ casebook, Paraic O’Donnell introduces a detective duo for the ages, and slowly unlocks the secrets of a startling Victorian mystery.
London, 1893: high up in a house on a dark, snowy night, a lone seamstress stands by a window. So begins the swirling, serpentine world of Paraic O’Donnell’s Victorian-inspired mystery, the story of a city cloaked in shadow, but burning with questions: why does the seamstress choose to jump out of that window? Why is there a cryptic message sewn into her skin? And how is she connected to a rash of missing girls, all of whom seem to have disappeared under similar circumstances?
On the case is Gideon Bliss, a young Cambridge dropout who is in love with one of the missing girls, and his partner Inspector Cutter, a detective as sharp and committed to his work as he is wryly hilarious. There’s also Octavia Hillingdon, a young reporter determined to tell stories that feel important despite her employer’s preference that she write a women’s society column. By turns clever, surprising, and impossible to put down, The House on Vesper Sands peels back the mystery layer by layer, offering in the strange undertow of late 19th century London a startling glimpse at the secrets we all hold inside us.
About the Author: Paraic O'Donnell's essays and reviews have appeared in The Guardian, The Spectator, The Irish Times and elsewhere. His first novel, The Maker of Swans, was named the Amazon Rising Stars Debut and was shortlisted for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards.
A Note From the Publisher
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“If you are in the mood and market for a late-Victorian police procedural featuring an irascible inspector and his callow sidekick, a doughty female journalist, the occasional gruesome death, and stunning leaps into the supernatural as persuasive as they are wondrous—and, truly, who isn't?, especially these days—I can't possibly recommend highly enough Paraic O'Donnell's altogether riveting The House on Vesper Sands. Here's a novel that's suspenseful, that's unnerving, that positively bursts with inventiveness. You can feel on every page the joy the author had in its creation, and the reader will happily and helplessly be caught up in that joy.” - Benjamin Dreyer, author of Dreyer's English
“The most vivid and compelling portrait of late Victorian London since The Crimson Petal and the White.” - Sarah Perry, author of Melmoth
“The House on Vesper Sands is a Victorian supernatural tale that dresses its ingenious plot in richly immersive historical detail and handles it all with such a mischievous lightness, it's like eating haunted candy. Diabolical and delicious, this is the most enjoyable mystery I've read in years.” - Sandra Newman, author of The Heavens
“Clever and funny, and exquisitely disturbing, it is an utter joy.” - Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep
“Like the love child of Dickens and Conan Doyle, but funnier than both.” - Liz Nugent, author of Our Little Cruelties