Sunday, October 13, 2019

The House on Vesper Sands - Paraic O'Donnell

It has been a busy week, after Ireland there was a work day in London (a last wine tasting and a lot of goodbyes) then a work day at work (much less fun) and today I've made quince jelly and had my first MRI scan. The scan is to see what's going on with the tendons in my right foot (they hurt, a lot) it took 45 minutes in the machine I have never felt so itchy or fidgety. Making quince jelly is a similar sort of experience in that I spend the best part of an hour tied to the stove top whilst it refused to reach setting point but looked like it would boil over at any moment.

Hopefully both procedures will prove worth the time and effort.

Meanwhile it's been a while since I read 'the House on Vesper Sands' (July, I think) so it's past time I wrote what I can remember about it. I tried to read 'The Maker of Swans' a couple of years back, but didn't get very far with it (I can't remember why not, and don't think I kept it) but O'Donnell is a writer I want to like so I had another go with this one.

I'm glad I did, because I loved this. It's a good slice of gothic thriller which probably does deserve the comparison with Wilkie Collins in terms of mood (though O'Donnell doesn't do anything quite as eccentric as Collins would) and definitely deserves the comparisons with Conan Doyle that grace the front cover. Allusions to Dickens and 'The Crimson Petal and the White' seems way off the mark to me.

The setting for 'the House on Vesper Sands' might be late Victorian, but whilst the geography of London comes alive I don't think the era does - but then I'm not convinced it's meant to either so that isn't a criticism. What I did get was lots of atmosphere of the dark corners, sense of menace, smell of damp kind which makes the perfect background for a tale of murder and the uncanny.

I'm probably going to have to buy 'The Maker of Swans' again.

1 comment:

  1. I hope that yourQuince jelly worked and that you have a good outcome from the MRI scan. When I had one, I almost fell asleep!