Lead Review

  • Book: Strictly Murder
  • Location: Whitstable
  • Author: Julie Wassmer

Review Author: Tina Hartas



This is no. 8 in the Pearl Nolan murder mystery series and it can be read as a stand-alone. However, it is delightful to catch up with all the regular characters who move in Pearl’s circle. The town of Whitstable is a character in its own right and at the front there is a map which pinpoints various points of interest in the story. The castle, mentioned, is apparently a folly and the wonderful sea vistas are so transportive, and you can see where Pearl’s cottage is in relation to her restaurant and other places that are mentioned in the narrative.

Tony and Tanya Ballard have arrived in town to set up a dance school, and tango lessons are on the agenda. Wonderfully, tango is described as a ‘sad thought, danced’, which is just a perfect description of this passionate dance. Pearl gets her dancing pumps on and her beau, DCI Mike McGuire proves to be quite a hit. He’s a dark horse, but of course that is why she likes him!

The peace is shattered when Pearl stumbles across a corpse and she has to put her sleuthing hat on.

The community comes to wonderful life in these stories, with a marked gastro slant, as Pearl, of course owns her own restaurant. This series is certainly an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, travelling to this part of the world via an entertaining and immersive story, when Covid restrictions still limit the spread of wings.

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021