The smell of a Whitstable summer: The Whitstable Pearl Mystery by Julie Wassmer

April 8, 2016

Julie Wassmer’s big-hearted crime novel, The Whitstable Pearl Mystery, reads like a love-letter to the seaside town of Whitstable, infused as it it with deft touches of local colour that can only be painted by someone who knows the area intimately. The very sea-air permeates the novel, bestrewn with vivid depictions of seaside beach-huts, thronging Oyster Festival hordes, and an empathy with the rise and fall of the tide, that breathes in time with the town itself.

Anyone looking for the gritty melodrama of Wassmer’s time as a screenwriter for EastEnders might be disappointed, for this novel is infinitely warmer, more generously-spirited than the television series. If the novel has any flaw, it’s that it perhaps relies so much on attention to geographical detail to give it sense of place, with roads, streets, shops, landmarks, dropped so often that it starts to feel as though the exactitude of the local geography is something of a crusade for verisimilitude. But perhaps this is only evident to those who know the terrain, and it is a meagre thing when measured against the vividness with which local colour is evoked.

The gentle denouement works well, and draws to a close with a pleasing knotting-up of loose ends. There are nods to Seasalter’s people-smuggling past (a key factor also in James McGee’s period thriller, Rapscallion, too), the history of the Red Sands Forts, and plenty of tourist-thronging scenes to ground the novel in a firm sense of the region’s history and its bustling present. Read the novel and inhale the warm breeze of a Whitstable summer.

Advertisements

Still more thefts in Dargate

June 23, 2013

There has been yet another burglary in Dargate, from one of the houses along Butlers Hill. At around 2am this morning, thieves broke into an outhouse and stole a quad-bike.

The police are involved: please continue to be vigilant and mindful of your property’s security.


Theft last night:be aware

May 27, 2013

Thieves in the Hernhill area stole electrical equipment from a garden shed last night; the police are involved, please keep an eye on out-buildings and make sure your homes are secure.


%d bloggers like this: