The Other Half is a fantastically strong crime debut from Charlotte Vassell.

Laser-focused on a rich and elite set of friends who live in London (formerly of Oxford), we begin this dark satire at a black-tie birthday party at McDonalds. Only one person doesn’t turn up – the girlfriend of the birthday boy (desperate to dump her, by the way) – and the next day she’s found dead in a park, a crown of flowers on her head and a slash to the neck.

Detective Caius Beauchamp isn’t from this circle’s particular world, but he’s smart and sophisticated all the same – a modern detective well-prepared for a fresh take on society crime. He and his team are competent and smart, which I always enjoy in a crime book. The other characters aren’t always as likeable, but they are intriguing.

The main thrust of the plot (ie whodunnit) wraps up well, but there are other threads unresolved in this book – whether that is on purpose for another book, or on purpose simply to make you question society’s flaws, I’m unsure. But if you don’t like loose threads, this may not be for you. Otherwise, this is an entertaining uncosy-yet-somehow-almost-cosy crime novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.