As a book reviewer, I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher or author to facilitate this review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are always 100% my own.
Detective Caius Beauchamp is on an early morning jog across Hampstead Heath when he stumbles across a body lying half hidden by a bush. Once he’s assigned to the case, he learns that the woman in question had come from a party held by Rupert Beauchamp, no relation thank you very much. They don’t even pronounce it the same way! Rupert and Caius are not destined to be friends, as their existence is antithetical to the other. Rupert is a spoiled rich kid from old money, and Caius is mixed race, hard-working, a little insecure and trying to educate himself more thoroughly in order to win back his French girlfriend. The shared name is a stroke of brilliance; every time someone says “Are you two related?” it is a shorthand way of referencing years of race relations and unfair advantages gained by one group at the expense of the other.
To celebrate his 30th birthday, Rupert had come up with the precocious idea of having his party at a McDonald’s, a black tie affair serving burgers and nuggets with top-shelf champagne, BYOC (bring your own coke). Caius is unimpressed. Rupert seems the obvious suspect–it helps that he’s so obnoxious!–but try as they can, nothing seems to stick. Meanwhile the police investigation is continually hampered by the privilege and protection that wealth brings. As Caius and his partner investigate art galleries (was the dead women having an affair with the owner?) and auction houses, several suspects emerge, and before long there’s another body.
There are really two protagonists, and the other is Nell. Rupert loves her but she’s not sure about Rupert. Nell has her own secrets, plus a delightful sense of style. I loved the sections told in her voice, and she is an intriguing character.
I thoroughly enjoyed this glimpse into how the other half lives–or to be more precise, I loved the characters of Caius and Nell, and enjoyed being annoyed by many of the others. The Other Half skewers the modern class system in Britain, and is a delightful combination of social satire and police procedure. I loved it! Highly recommended!