Three great passions for me are people, food and the town that has long been my adopted home – Whitstable.

My crime series, The Whitstable Pearl Mysteries, combines all these elements while introducing readers to my heroine Pearl Nolan. Pearl gave up on her dream of becoming a police detective when life, and a teenage pregnancy, got in the way of her career.

For twenty years she has run a successful seafood restaurant but at 39, and with her son off at university, Pearl has started up a detective agency and it isn’t long before she’s presented with her first big case when she finds the body of a local fisherman on the eve of Whitstable’s annual oyster festival.

Like Pearl, I also harboured a secret ambition for twenty years: I enjoyed working as a television drama writer on popular shows like Eastenders but I always dreamed of writing crime fiction.

My first novel in this series, The Whitstable Pearl Mystery, is the realisation of that dream and I look to my town for inspiration: to its history and to the people I have met here, like the oyster fisherman to whom the book is dedicated.

Whitstable has long served up seafood to visitors – now murder is on the menu too.

The Whitstable Pearl Mystery by Julie Wassmer is published by Little, Brown

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