As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published (HB) by Constable, 7 April 2016. ISBN: 978-1-4721-1895-0 Published (PB) by Constable 1 September
2016. ISBN: 978-1-4721-1644-4
Pearl Nolan runs the popular
Whitstable Pearl Restaurant with help from her mother, Dolly; but Pearl has
another business, she also runs a detective agency. Pearl had always dreamed of
being a detective, but her ambitions were cut short when a teenage pregnancy
meant that she had to leave the police force and bring up her son, Charlie,
without support from his father. Now Charlie has grown up and left home and
Pearl is free to follow her dream, despite the disapproval of her mother and
the doubts of DCI Mike McGuire, who feels that it would be easier to follow up
on his wish to have a relationship with Pearl if she was not a Private
It is the week before May Day and
Pearl is fully occupied with work at her restaurant as the Whitstable May Day
celebrations get under way. Pearl's friend, Nathan, and his helper, Purdy, have
persuaded film star Faye Marlow to return to Whitstable to honour the
celebrations. Faye had been born and brought up in the town before she moved to
Hollywood. Although Faye is no longer a top-ranked star, it is still a great
coup to have convinced her to come back.
Not everybody is happy about the
star's return. Dolly's predicts that she will be 'trouble' and when Faye and
her entourage arrive, these dire warnings are soon proved to be correct. Faye
is charming but demanding and capricious. Before she left Whitstable she had
been involved with two young men, both of whom still live in the town but now
they are middle-aged, respectable and married. Faye's flirtatious ways soon
cause trouble and after an unfortunate incident at a reception she disappears.
Everybody assumes that she has run away but her body is discovered tethered to
the maypole in the grounds of the castle that was to have been the hub of the
celebrations. It is clear that she has been murdered.
DCI Mike McGuire is placed in charge
of the case. He likes and admires Pearl and longs for a closer relationship
with her, but he is aware that his hostile superior is waiting for him to put a
foot wrong in order to bring him down. This time Pearl and McGuire must
investigate separately. Pearl protests that she is not investigating the
murder, that is a job for the police, but when you have lived in a town all
your life snippets of information simply come your way. Pearl knows that until
the murderer is discovered the town cannot start to recover. Anyway, she cannot
resist investigating a mystery.
This is the third of the Whitstable
Pearl mysteries. As a series, it gets better all the time, and it was very good
to start with. The descriptions of the town and its history are skilfully drawn
without slowing the action, the plot is neat and the characters are delightful.
It is a thoroughly enjoyable read, which I would recommend.
Julie Wassmer is a
television drama writer who contributed for almost twenty years to the popular
BBC series EastEnders. She published her autobiography More Than Just Coincidence in 2010, in which she describes finding
her long-lost daughter after an astonishing twist of fate. It was voted Mumsnet
book of the year. The Whitstable Pearl
Mystery is the first in her series of crime novels, involving multi-tasking
private detective-come-restauranteur, Pearl Nolan. Julie lives in Whitstable
and is well known for her environmental campaigning.
Carol Westronis a successful short story writer and a
Creative Writing teacher.She is the
moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.Her crime novels are set both in contemporary
and Victorian times.The Terminal
Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published
July 2013. Her latest book The Fragility
of Poppies was published 10 June 2016.