The House on Vesper Sands is not the kind of book that I usually pick, but I read a review of it (I believe it was in a sort summary of interesting, recent mysteries) and was sufficiently intrigued to borrow it from the library. It was 60% very good and 40% disappointing, mainly for not having stuck the landing and for shoving threads together rather than properly tying them off.

We never actually meet the main villain nor see him at work (though we do get a look at a secondary villain, who O’Donnell tries to position as the real main baddie but… well, like much of the final quarter of the novel, wasn’t as successful as might be hoped).

The two threads are brought together at the end and, well… the somehow seem to more just be in the same room, rather than really feeling like an organic coming together.

On the positive side, it’s a wonderful gothic 1890s London and the three main protagonists are wonderful, especially Inspector Cutter, who actually made me laugh out loud with his impatient sarcasm. But Cutter is also rather opaque. Readers can easily guess the villains, but we are never properly given to see how the sleuths get there.

I would still recommend this book to my mystery-loving mother, except that it has sort of magical element (given a pseudo-science gloss), which strikes me as not her sort of thing.