Death on the Pier

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Pub Date 10 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 31 Oct 2022

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A murder mystery playwright turns real-life detective when, during one of his plays, an actress is shot and killed, while an unsuspecting audience watches on.

This theatrical murder mystery debut from Jamie West introduces Bertie Carroll, one of the most successful playwrights of the 1930s, and his old school friend Chief Detective Inspector Hugh Chapman. Together they team up to see if they can solve the mystery.

During the performance, the audience watches former Hollywood star, Celia Hamilton, as she is shot onstage, unaware that a real murder is taking place. It’s only when the curtain falls that the cast realise that something has gone horribly wrong.

Did someone swap the bullets in the prop gun for real ones, without anyone noticing? The actress who fired the gun doesn't seem to have any reason for wanting her dead, but is she hiding something?

Together, Bertie and Hugh must unravel the clues as they interview their suspects. As they do, their own friendship is rekindled. But is there something from their own past that needs to be uncovered? Why did Hugh want to meet up after all these years apart?

The story is set in and around The Palace Pier Theatre in Brighton, which no longer exists. This "lost" theatre has been lovingly recreated in the pages of this book.

About The Author

Over the last 15 years, Jamie has worked backstage on countless shows in London’s West End working in the field of automation — the department that’s responsible for operating and maintaining the equipment that controls the motorised scenery you see moving around during a production.

His work covers a huge variety of shows including The Book of Mormon, Miss Saigon, Kinky Books, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and currently Dear Evan Hansen.

A murder mystery playwright turns real-life detective when, during one of his plays, an actress is shot and killed, while an unsuspecting audience watches on.

This theatrical murder mystery debut from...

Advance Praise

“A proper page-turner.” Ian Moore (Death and Croissants)

"A denouement worthy of Agatha Christie." Jim Eldridge (Author of the Museum Mysteries series)

"Escapist fun from start to finish." Jamie Bernthal (Author - Queering Agatha Christie)

“A proper page-turner.” Ian Moore (Death and Croissants)

"A denouement worthy of Agatha Christie." Jim Eldridge (Author of the Museum Mysteries series)

"Escapist fun from start to finish." Jamie...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781739762216
PRICE £9.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 41 members

Featured Reviews

What a delightful read. The magic and mayhem of opening night, combined with murder and mystery, all set in the glorious 1930s, which adds to the richness of the story because of the colourful glamour of the costumes.

Characters were well drawn and interesting - each of them had a strong personality and a motive, ensuring it wasn’t too easy to figure out whodunnit.

All the references to theatre were lovely touches that enhanced the plot (and led to the answer) - it’s a fabulous debut and start to a series.

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A Delicious Sprinkling…
A shooting on stage, a live and unsuspecting audience, a playwright and a detective. Bertie Carroll, a successful and renowned playwright, teams up with old school chum Hugh Chapman, now a Chief Detective Inspector as they unravel clues, red herrings aplenty and consider the veritable plethora of suspects. As they investigate the present, something from the past may well emerge. What an utter joy this is! Murder mystery in traditional vein with a delicious sprinkling of the theatre, well crafted and credible characters and a true puzzle at it’s heart.

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A fantastic read. The characters & setting really shone. The descriptions of the theatre were wonderfully visual & I'd have loved the chance to have seen it for myself.

I particularly enjoyed the authentic 1930s feel to the characters voices & the hints woven throughout the story. This is a good old fashion murder mystery & I'm already looking forward to hearing more from Jamie & Bertie Carroll.

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1930s Brighton..on a wet evening. Bertie, a playwright is meeting a friend. He plans to attend the production of one of his plays at the Palace Theatre at the end of the pier…As the cast rehearses for the performance, the tensions are tangible. Celia Hamilton, a former Hollywood actress is the star attraction, but she is there under sufferance and sniping at everyone. And some of the other members of the cast are not happy either..The stage is set for murder!

This was such a delightful, thoroughly original and very cosy murder mystery. There is a keen sense of place as the action moves around Brighton, switching between the sea front, hotels and bed and boarding establishments. The theatre itself is possibly the star with beautiful and intricate descriptions of a theatre sadly no longer here. This frequently feels as though it takes place in black and white as it takes on a very visual journey back in time.. with the conversations, behaviour, social mores and forbidden love being very much of its era..

The story feels like a play within a play and is very cleverly plotted as the police, alongside Bertie and his friend, search for clues amongst stage directions; the script and amongst the theatrical ambitions of the cast.
Five stars for originality - the setting was a joy!

I really enjoyed this and look forward to more by the author. With thanks to Netgalley and Brabinger for my copy of this book.

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This enjoyable cosy mystery has a great 1930s period setting and geographical - Brighton - location. When an actor shot in the play is really dead at the end surely it has to be one of those on stage? A tight group of characters and a well paced plot keep this book entertaining throughout. I’ll be looking out for the next one in this series!

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This debut novel was great! Everything you want from a whodunnit crime novel! West had really nailed all elements of this classic genre while adding an original twist which I loved even more because of it being set in a theatre. West is beautifully descriptive and informative with his setting, allowing the reader to become engaged and immersed within the story.

West has set up a great group of characters, each quirky and interesting in their own right and bringing these personalities into a whodunnit keeps it light and funny while also being mysterious and captivating. Like with any whodunnit, there are quite a few characters and in other novels ive found it quite hard to keep up with who’s who, but West has a knack of making his characters so different and distinguishable that I didn’t ever find myself confused about who one character was or what their connections across the book were.

I had the best time reading this book. I really didn’t want to put it down. This is certainly one to pick up when you can and with a second novel already on the horizon, West is one to keep an eye on! Highly recommended!

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Death on the pier is a manuscript of pure genius. West writes in a way that makes it impossible to stop reading and I absolutely raced through this book. The reader is kept guessing and your mind constantly ticks as to what may be coming next - a modern day Agatha Christie!

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