Just a quick post for this giveaway as the full review will appear in Shiny on 8th October when our autumn edition goes live. But the lovely people at Constable offered me a free copy for any of my readers, anywhere, and a comment will put you in the draw.
Earlier this year I read the first in the Whitstable Pearl series by Julie Wassmer and enjoyed it. Wassmer used to write scripts for Eastenders, so she was always going to be a safe pair of hands. This second novel was, unsurprisingly, better than the first as is so often the case with crime fiction series, as the characters become more clearly defined and grow from book to book.
I started reading this one morning last week, and although I had all sorts of things I ought to have been doing, I finished it later that same day. It’s cosy crime set in the seaside community of Whitstable and our sleuth is restauranteur and private eye, Pearl Nolan. A spate of poison pen messages in Christmas cards causes much upset among Pearl’s friends and acquaintances, and is swiftly followed by a suspicious death at the church hall fundraiser. Pearl’s love interest, DCI Mike McGuire happens to be at the fundraiser thanks to Pearl and so he, too, finds himself excluded from the police investigation. Together, they set out to find the culprit.
This is just a really good, engaging story, lots of suspects and colourful characters, strong plotting, satisfying ending. Cosy crime isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s my comfort reading go-to. If it’s yours, put yourself in the draw, which I’ll close next Friday, 2nd October.
Well, I spoke a little too soon. I’ve had a setback with the anxiety after I heard my son get up in the middle of the night on Monday (early Tuesday) and come downstairs. I followed to see what the matter was and found him upset, after a row with his girlfriend. It was three in the morning, and my anxiety levels were rising, just, as Mr Litlove said afterwards, as you can lose control of your temperature when you’re up at that hour with only a few braincells in operation. But what was I going to do? I wouldn’t have thought much of myself if I’d put my troubles in front of his, and as any parent of an almost-grown child knows, you don’t get so many opportunities to show them you love and support them. I can see that the challenge of these opportunities (for goodness knows parenting is rarely easy) is that they will come at inconvenient moments.
We spoke for about an hour and a half and it was a very good chat. The two of them made up the next day and my son was able to go to an important university interview yesterday with everything right in his world. So that was exactly the right outcome. As for me, the anxiety came and went as we talked, but when I got back to bed every muscle in my body seemed to be in a knot and I knew it wouldn’t be pretty when they unclenched. I’m not exactly thrilled that being virtuous should result in yet more days of feeling awful, but I’d do it again, because everything else about it was right. Now if I could just get rid of my post-adrenaline-poisoning headache, I’d be almost normal.
So, given that I’ve fried the review writing brain yet again, here’s something different we can do. I have an extra copy of William Boyd’s current bestseller, Waiting for Sunrise, courtesy of the publishers. It was a novel I loved and can warmly recommend. If you’d like to leave a comment, I’ll put your name in the hat for it. I’m not going to be swift off the mark in getting this in the post, so I’ll draw a name in a week’s time. Good luck!