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The Whitstable Pearl Mystery
Julie Wassmer

Constable (Constable & Robinson)
21 November 2014 / ISBN9781472116482

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Pearl Nolan owns a successful seafood restaurant in the seaside town of Whitstable. Once she hoped to join the police force, but a teenage pregnancy meant that instead she raised her son Charlie in the town she had grown up in. Now Charlie is away at college and Pearl needs a new challenge as she approaches forty, so she opens a detective agency. When her first customer wants her to investigate a friend she turns him down, but when the friend is found dead Pearl is determined to find out who his killer is.

In the US this debut novel might be described as a cozy. It has all the ingredients: a small and pretty town filled with independent shops, a woman running a business, a bossy and unconventional mother, romantic interest with a policeman and lots of local color. However, this is as much a story about growing older, coping with regrets and coming to terms with who you are. At times the mystery part of the story takes a backseat as Pearl struggles with her son's new independent life and girlfriend, visits an old friend in a nursing home and remembers another summer twenty years ago. This is not a fast read, but a gentle, thought provoking tale that is more than just a detective story. This is the first entry in a proposed series.

Reviewed 2015