Title: The Other Half
Author: Charlotte Vassell
Publisher: Faber and Faber
The night before
Rupert’s 30th is a black tie dinner at the Kentish Town McDonald’s – catered with cocaine and Veuve Clicquot.
The morning after
His girlfriend Clemmie is found murdered on Hampstead Heath. All the party-goers have alibis. Naturally.
This investigation is going to be about Classics degrees and aristocrats, Instagram influencers and who knows who. Or is it whom? Detective Caius Beauchamp isn’t sure. He’s sharply dressed, smart, and as into self-improvement as Clemmie – but as he searches for the dark truth beneath the luxury, a wall of staggering wealth threatens to shut down his investigation before it’s begun.
Can he see through the tangled set of relationships in which the other half live, and die, before the case is taken out of his hands?
The Other Half is a book that centres on a group of rich, entitled people doing mostly rich, entitled things. Did I, therefore, feel some satisfaction that one of them was murdered? I may be horrible but yes, yes I did…
This book is a darkly satisfying satire about the upper, privileged class of people in Britain and their complete self-righteousness. Although many of the characters are not people you’d want to be friends with or even run into, there are some likeable characters in this novel, including DI Caius Beauchamp, who is investigating the murder of Clemmie, a rich Instagram influencer who is found dead on – where else? – Hampstead Heath the night after her boyfriend’s birthday party.
I am a sucker for a mystery, especially a classic ‘whodunnit-but-everyone-seems-to-have-an-alibi’, and in The Other Half, Charlotte Vassell skillfully combines tension, intrigue and mystery with scrutiny of the rich and powerful in London. The book paints a sardonic view of these upper-class characters (though we see that Nell and some of her peers do have a conscience, so they’re not all bad!) and I have to admit, I enjoyed hoping for their downfall as I read on! The mystery element kept me completely wrapped up in the story – I wanted to know who did it and why, and I hope this is the start of a new series as I would have happily read much more about the police working on this case, especially DI Caius Beauchamp.
My rating: 4/5
Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest review.