When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others....
The daughter of a baronet and minor heiress, Rosalind Thorne was nearly ruined after her father abandoned the family....
Lady Emily Hardcastle is an eccentric widow with a secret past. Florence Armstrong, her maid and confidante, is an expert in martial arts. The year is 1908 and they've just moved....
At the end of her first unsuccessful season out in society, Lady Georgiana has all but given up on attracting a suitable man - until she receives an invitation to a masked Halloween ball....
Olivia Denis is a content young wife with a carefree life in late 1930s London. Then her world is shattered with the violent death of her husband, Reggie....
When Abi inherits her uncle's quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions....
Pearl receives a surprise present from her mother, Dolly: an early summer break at a riverside manor house that has been recently transformed into an exclusive hotel - the newly named Villa Pellegrini. Pellegrini - the Italian word for pilgrims - reflects the fact that the building lies on the old Pilgrims Way into Canterbury, and Pearl is looking forward to the break, not least because DCI Mike McGuire has been neglecting her due to his work. But when she discovers that she's actually booked in for a cookery course from the Italian celebrity chef Nico Caruso, she begins to think again.... Pearl doesn't welcome instruction on cookery at the best of times, and certainly not from an arrogant chef like Caruso.
She goes along, intent on challenging Caruso's egotism - and a long tradition of men dominating gastronomy - but soon finds herself distracted, not only by her enchanting surroundings but by the disparate selection of guests. She 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.
Sadly this narrator has failed to capture the characteristics of the lead roles established in the earlier recordings. Mcguire has been reduced to sounding oafish and dim and Dolly has become a home counties matron and no longer a bohemian free spirit. At times the narration is so stilted as to sound synthesized. Sorry, but this has just made listening no longer quite the pleasure it once was
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
A better plot and narrator
If you’ve listened to books by Julie Wassmer before, how does this one compare?
I loved the first three books, this one was not in the same league. I found it tiring and insulting that she went into explanations about how forensics worked. It was padding.
What didn’t you like about Willow Nash’s performance?
The main problem was her characterizations of Dolly and Inspector McGuire. Compared to the first three readings the voice characterisation was all wrong Dolly was too posh and Mike McGuire sounded a complete moron. Not the tall Swedish looking handsome character I had in my mind. The reading was robotic at times as well
You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?
Apart from moving the story on between the main two characters, no.
Any additional comments?
A better story line and please bring back Jenna Russell.
The story was the mixture of puzzle and personality that characterises this series. The narration was lacking in tone and variation, appearing to have been recorded to the beat of a metronome and with little regard to the natural speech rhythms or written punctuation.
Disappointing instalment that focuses on lovelorn yearning. We, like the insipid characters, are trapped inside a country house where nothing much happens. The local detail which gave previous books their originality is lacking, which is a missed opportunity given Chartham's former asylum.
But lends itself to a fine drinking game with a shot for every mention of 'Whitstable' or 'Oyster'.
Julie Wassmer does it again with her latest instalment of Pearl and Co. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, good narration from Ms. Nash. Pearl leaves her beloved Whitstable in her latest adventure. She and her inimitable mother Dolly treat themselves to a break. As always a mystery ensues and Pearl plays detective. You will enjoy the various characters involved and Yes there is a mention of McGuire! Easily five stars.
Is there anything you would change about this book?
The narrator's interpretation of Pearl's mother, she is meant to be a free thinking hippy from an Oyster fishing community but comes across like Hyacinth Bucket. I also didn't enjoy the setting and the Agatha Christie/Columbo style of the plot. Finally, several of the characters were beyond annoying.
Would you be willing to try another book from Julie Wassmer? Why or why not?
I really enjoyed all the previous books, however this one seemed to move away from the usual style in more ways than one.
How could the performance have been better?
It was like the narrator had not understood the personality of the three main characters that have developed throughout the first three books, it was almost like we had started again.<br/><br/>Have to say the narrator was good at accents which is usually not the case, she did Italian, Irish and Welsh very well.
Do you think Murder on the Pilgrims Way needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
Definitely not. The plot needs to return to Whitstable and the central cast of characters. The new set of characters introduced in this book are an irritating bunch.
Any additional comments?
If it ain't broke don't fix it, seems to apply well here, Julie Wassmer has hit on a good recipe for the first books but overcooked this one!
I've been waiting for this fourth instalment with impatience and it was excellent. I really like the main protagonists who are interesting without being cliches. Can't wait for the next one!
excellent as always with just the right amount of sluthing and a touch of romance. I wasnt sure about the new narrator at first but she coped with the accents and characters voices very well. I cant wait for the next installment.
Any additional comments?
I really enjoyed the previous books in the series and pre-ordered this one. Unfortunately the narrator has suddenly changed. Whilst Willow Naish's characterisation may have been fine if she had done all the books but you get used to how the characters sound. I particularly dislike the main male character's voice as he sounds rather dim instead of a chief inspector. You get the feeling that she had run out of male voices and they have a tendency to be a bit of a caricature. <br/>The storyline is ok but what was particularly good about the first three books was the descriptions of Whitstable and the local area and as this is set in one location in the country there was less scope for this.