The best recent thrillers – review roundup

Tenacious detectives in Victorian London and strangers with secrets in a health resort

It’s London, 1893, and “scullery maids and match girls [are] disappearing left and right”. The gutter press blames “the shadowy malefactors known only as the Spiriters”, but Octavia Hillingdon of the Mayfair Gazette (she writes for the society pages but is desperate to sink her teeth into something meatier) is unconvinced. “‘Shadowy malefactors,’ indeed. It is like something from a bad novel,” she scoffs, before finding herself drawn into the deliciously dark mystery at the heart of Paraic O’Donnell’s The House on Vesper Sands (Orion, £13.99).

Octavia is not the only sleuth on the trail of the missing girls. Enter Gideon Bliss, a verbose, impoverished Cambridge student who comes across a dying girl in a Soho church, and teams up with Inspector Cutter of Scotland Yard in an attempt to save her.

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