Review: The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O’Donnell

I was very excited to get this book from the library as I read a synopsis of it in a flyer from my local bookstore @commonplacereader and knew I had to read it! I am a lover of Victorian mysteries and have read extensively within the genre, some of it good, some not so good. Thankfully, this book did not disappoint.

O’Donnell weaves together several story lines throughout the book each of which is following a particular piece of the larger puzzle and eventually brings all of the characters and story lines together at the end for the ‘big reveal!’ Each storyline is intriguing in it’s own right and I was pleasantly surprised that I never found myself wishing the author would go back to a different piece of the puzzle. 

The characters themselves fit squarely into stereotypical Victorian mystery literature: the uncultured but savvy detective, the over-educated but not street-smart side-kick, the quintessential upper-class gentleman, and finally, the independent and clever young female newspaper reporter. However, O’Donnell gave each an interesting and unique background which provided clues to their motivations and decision-making processes throughout the story. I also appreciated that the female characters had agency and their narratives helped to move the story forward rather than being simply ‘token’ women in ‘a man’s world’ (which often happens in Victorian mystery novels). 

Since this is a mystery novel and I do not want to spoil any of the story I will simply conclude by saying, I enjoyed this book and read it in just three days! If you like Victorian mysteries this is definitely a good choice for you! 

Read on my friends!

-Haddi