Genre: Cosy Mystery
Author: Julie Wassmer
A cosy mystery set at Christmas time, to fancy mince pies and mulled wine every time of the year.
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Pearl, the owner of the well-renowned restaurant The Whitstable Pearl, has promised not to take over any case at her detective agency in December, till Christmas cards begin arriving all over town – filled with spiteful messages from an anonymous writer.
Pearl tries to keep her promise and agrees that Canterbury’s DCI Mike McGuire – the handsome and mysterious detective that we met amongst the pages of the first book of the series – should take over the investigation. Not only, but also she invites him to the church fundraiser that she is organizing, as her guest. And exactly when Pearl and McGuire find themselves standing beneath the mistletoe, a guest collapses. Too much wine? Or something else?
The last thing Pearl expects for Christmas is murder. Will she keep her promise, or help with the investigation?
To be honest with you, choosing this book for my Reading Challenge has not been very adventurous. I had already read the first of the series and I loved it: I knew I would have liked the second one and I did.
It has all the elements that I enjoy in a book. First of all it’s a mystery, but it’s not full of blood or gruesome scenes: it’s the perfect cosy mystery. I loved the setting, an English village by the sea that I wouldn’t mind visiting myself. I am not a massive fan of oysters, but I enjoyed the description of Pearl’s restaurant so much, that I would like to go there and try them. She is the perfect hostess and she has to keep up with her reputation during Christmas as well: get ready to fancy mince pies and mulled pies even if you are reading this book during summer. Another character I adore is Pearl’s mum: described almost as an hippie, she is always hilarious.
The mystery itself is actually interesting: from a certain point of view it can be considered similar to Agatha Christie’s Moving Finger (maybe that’s why I liked it) with nasty anonymous letters arriving to the inhabitants of the village. The first death happens at the church fundraising that Pearl has helped organizing, followed by two more… I have to admit I understood that something with one of the characters was not quite right, but I didn’t understand who the murderer was and his or her motive. Pearl, on the contrary, thanks to her intuition and to her police training, helps – once again – the police to solve the mystery.
ll this is framed by the love story between Pearl and Detective McGuire. Well it is not a love story yet, it should happen, but murders and events prevent them to be together… or not?