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The House on Vesper Sands Hardcover – 12 January 2021

4.0 out of 5 stars 609 ratings

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Tin House Books (12 January 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 408 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1951142241
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1951142247
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 14.99 x 3.56 x 22.61 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 609 ratings

Product description


Practically comes with the mood lighting one would hope for when reading a Victorian-era mystery. Expect pages infused with fog and the clicks of mysterious footsteps...written with modern wit and a Dickensian sense of detail.-- "Oprah Daily"

The House on Vesper Sands is not a Sherlock Holmes mystery, but Paraic O'Donnell's sophomore effort is the next best thing. . . . O'Donnell brings his story's humor and darker themes into richly rewarding alignment.-- "Shelf Awareness"

The House on Vesper Sands manages to do a hundred marvelous things at once: funny, eerie, tender, haunting and unsettling, smokily atmospheric, and fantastically enjoyable.--Helen MacDonald, author of Vesper Flights

A dark atmospheric setting with just a hint of murder.-- "Book Riot's Read or Dead Podcast"

A thrilling gothic mystery.-- "TIME"

A tour de force that dexterously blends the drama of Dickens, the sensationalism of Wilkie Collins, and the mystery of Conan Doyle, with added chills and humor poured into the mix for good measure. . . . O'Donnell keeps his reader gripped with his fast pace, ingenious plotting and narrative twists and turns. His re-created world of costermongers and eel vendors, gin shops and boardinghouses, gentlemen's clubs and séance salons is vividly authentic. Cutter's punchy dialogue elicits laughs while the soul-stealing and 'half shades' imbue the proceedings with a welcome supernatural streak. A fiendishly entertaining winter's tale.-- "The Star Tribune"

By turns smart, surprising and impossible to put down, The House on Vesper Sands offers a glimpse into the strange undertow of late-19th-century London and the secrets we all hold inside us.-- "Bookreporter"

Chilling. . . . an atmospheric mystery that casts a keen eye on power imbalances and gender inequality.-- "Foreword Reviews"

Dickens is whirling enviously in his grave. . . . Read by a fire on a cold winter evening.-- "The Irish Times"

Ensconced in the rich, Gothic embellishments of Mr. O'Donnell's prose . . . . The House on Vesper Sands performs a . . . kind of enchantment, transforming a chronicle of sordid crimes into an enjoyably eerie ghost story.-- "The Wall Street Journal"

Explosively compelling. . . . a vividly painted atmosphere that feels so real to the reader, you can almost smell the gin and coal dust.-- "BookPage"

In this charming jape of a thriller, Inspector Henry Cutter is known around New Scotland Yard for having 'a weakness for certain exotic cases.' In the snowy winter of 1893, he's drawn into a doozy when young employed women around London start to vanish, or--worse, in a way--have their souls stolen by ruthless spiritualists. Preposterous, you say? Not in the hands of O'Donnell, a kind of Oscar Wilde gone tipsy, who drops some Irish whimsy into the harsh reality of Victorian England.-- "Richard Lipez, The Washington Post"

Stellar. . . . Fans of Sarah Perry (not to mention Dickens and Wilkie Collins) will be captivated by this marvelous feat.-- "Publishers Weekly, Starred Review"

That rare mystery that's at once gripping, elegantly written and very funny.-- "The Seattle Times"

The most vivid and compelling portrait of late Victorian London since The Crimson Petal and the White.--Sarah Perry, author of Melmoth

Truly marvelous. . . . The House on Vesper Sands is poised to be one of the year's breakout novels and confirms O'Donnell as a major talent.-- "CrimeReads"

Vivid atmospherics and frequently comedic dialogue animate this highly polished novel. . . . O'Donnell's rendering of the past is faithful not only to how people ate, spoke and dressed in 1893, but also to how they thought. Many Victorians, living in an era of scientific and technological progress, felt an opposite pull--captivated by the supernatural, by ghost stories, by spooky phenomenon. The House at Vesper Sands summons up that spirit, beckoning it from a long dead world and into our own.-- "Clare McHugh, The Washington Post"

Diabolical and delicious, this is the most enjoyable mystery I've read in years.--Sandra Newman, author of The Heavens

Riveting. . . . Positively bursts with inventiveness.--Benjamin Dreyer, author of Dreyer's English

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.

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Top review from Australia

Reviewed in Australia on 14 January 2019
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Mr. N. R. Ash
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to believe in.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 November 2018
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Jo Hogan
5.0 out of 5 stars Original, brilliant and profound Victorian detective novel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 December 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book of 2018!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 November 2018
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Joanne Sheppard
4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative Victorian Gothic adventure
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 January 2021
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S. Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars I have already won.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 May 2019
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