About the book
A controversial new property development is planned in Whitstable which will encroach upon the green open space of the downs, to the dismay of Whitstable residents who view this as the thin end of the wedge with regard to local wildlife conservation.
A campaign springs into life, spearheaded by a friend of Pearl’s family, Martha Laker. A committed environmentalist, Martha is no stranger to controversy herself. She has also managed to divide opinion across town, with the locals viewing her as their fearless champion while establishment figures seeing only an interfering agitator.
Tensions escalate between the developers and Whitstable residents, straining Pearl’s close relationship with London-born police officer, DCI Mike McGuire, who harbours concerns that the local campaign will spiral out of control. Pearl’s loyalties are torn, but the protest duly goes ahead – and newspaper headlines claim a moral victory for the residents in this David and Goliath battle.
But the victory is short lived when Pearl discovers a dead body on the downs…
Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for my invitation to the tour and to Constable Books for my copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.
Although this is the seventh book in the series of The Whitstable Pearl Mysteries, I had no trouble at all in getting up to speed with the characters and the setting quickly.
Pearl has just returned from a weekend away with DCI Mike McGuire and is feeling rested and happy she gets a message from her mother Dolly to ask her to get in touch with her son Charlie who is working at her restaurant. Charlie needs to come back home for a while after his landlord gives them notice.
Pearl find the town in a state of flux after a property developer wants to build on the open space of the downs and she finds herself inadvertently in the middle of it all.
Martha Laker is a DFL ( Down from London) but now lives in a house in the Benacre Wood with her partner Jane. She is leading the campaign against the developers and this makes her unpopular with them.
Pearl tries to stay impartial as the owner of a restaurant in the town but finds herself being protective of her home and its residents. When one of the developers Jason Ritchie offers her money to work for him she doesn’t tell anyone but vows not to do it but when a murder is discovered Pearl is a implicated in the evidence. When two further murders occur Pearl starts to uncover even more secrets about some of the town.
I really enjoyed this book, I like cosy crime and Pearl reminded me of Agatha Raisin who I love. Pearl is a strong woman and her Mother Dolly is hilarious with her ever changing hair colours and strong activism background. The setting was great and I enjoy a book that is set around a place in which you get to know the residents and see them develop throughout the stories. I will be checking out the other books in the series as I read this one in sitting.
About the author
Julie Wassmer was born in the East End of London, studied at Kingston University and had a variety of different jobs before she finally settled down to become a professional television drama writer.
She worked on several TV series, including ITV’s London’s Burning, C5’s Family Affairs and the popular BBC soap, EastEnders, which she wrote for almost 20 years.
In 2010, her autobiography More Than Just Coincidence was published by Harper Collins/True. The book entered the Sunday Times Best Selling Non Fiction Top Twenty and went on to become Mumsnet Book of the Year.
In 2015, Julie’s debut crime novel, The Whitstable Pearl Mystery, was published by award-winning publisher, Little, Brown Book Group. Six other books have since followed in the series with more on the way, and the television rights to the series have been optioned by the TV production company, Buccaneer, the makers of Marcella, starring Anna Friel.
Julie moved to Whitstable twenty years ago where she shares a home with her husband, Kas, and three cats, Charlie, Lily and Maisie. She also spends a great deal of time campaigning on environmental issues.
Murder on the Downs is the seventh book in the Whitstable Pearl Mystery series.