Novel set in London (“..there’s always a chance of reconciliation…”)
Murder Mystery set in Chartham, Kent
11th April 2017
Murder on the Pilgrims Way by Julie Wassmer, murder mystery set in Chartham, Kent.
Dolly whisks her daughter Pearl off for a few days to Villa Pellegrini (nothing to do with water San Pellegrino, but I did discover that Pellegrino means pilgrim, so I have added to my learning of Italian!). This is truly a little bit of Italy in the Kent countryside on the Pilgrim’s Way at Chartham. Simona runs this delightfully situated residence, having left her husband and his demons back in Puglia. This is a fresh start for her and nothing must go wrong if she is to make a success of her new enterprise.
A huge draw for the assembled house guests, Dolly included, is the inimitable Nico Caruso, debonair Italian chef (not a cook, you understand) who has a string of TV shows behind him, but who also went bust with his enterprises. He is at the Villa to share his knowledge of cooking. Pearl has come along, having left her own restaurant in the capable hands of her son. She is also a sleuth, which comes in very handy. Naturally, two competent cooks are bound to clash.
Murder is in the title of the book, and soon Chef Caruso is really cruising to be the victim. He is a celebrity chef who gravitates towards the men in the assembled group and has soon given everyone an Italian slant to their names. Pearl has become Perla and Dolly has been demoted to Madreperla (Mother of Pearl). His attitude to fellow female chef Pearl is rather contemptuous – I was really not warming to him at all by this point. Comments like “Only men have the technique, discipline and passion that makes cooking consistently an art” are meant to grate. It is all in fact a facade and part of his public persona. Underneath he is a bit of a charmer.
Pearl even begins to enjoy Caruso’s attentions – and his cookery – until one of the guests goes missing and it becomes clear that murder is on the menu. She enlists the help of her friendly policeman McGuire, as she hones her detecting radar. She notes early on that the rooms in the hotel have the Decameron in common, can this be part of the equation in solving the case?
With a couple of chefs at the heart of the mystery, it is only to be be expected that there is a wealth of culinary delights to whet the appetite of the reader, especially as the story is set in the Garden of England – wonderful terroir cooking! Italian dishes galore. Wines to imbibe… Even the wonderful Sportsman at Seasalter (a top tip by the way!) gets a look-in.
One thing… call me pedantic… I was just itching to put an apostrophe in the title of the book…
This is a delightful murder-cum-gastro mystery set in a beautiful part of England. Enjoy.
Tina for the TripFiction Team
On this link check out her 5 top tips for a visit to WHITSTABLE which she shares on Wanderlust Travel Magazine