Death on the Pier

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Pub Date 10 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 31 Oct 2022

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The Palace Pier Theatre.



Renowned murder mystery playwright Bertie Carroll turns real life detective when his leading lady is shot and killed on stage, in full view of an unsuspecting audience.

Once the curtain falls and the applause subsides, the horrible truth begins to dawn on the cast of suspects backstage. Motives, secrets and old rivalries begin to come to light, setting the stage for this theatrical murder mystery.

With the help of Chief Detective Hugh Chapman, an old school friend, Bertie must put his amateur sleuthing skills to the test to unravel the ultimate whodunnit. 

The debut novel from Jamie West is set in and around The Palace Pier Theatre in Brighton, a lost theatre, lovingly recreated.

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.

The Palace Pier Theatre.



Renowned murder mystery playwright Bertie Carroll turns real life detective when his leading lady is shot and killed on stage, in full view of an unsuspecting...

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

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ISBN 9781739762216
PRICE £9.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 119 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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Death on the Pier is one of those delightfully written mystery reads that you devour in a little over one sitting. With nods to Christie in its style, Jamie West has written a brilliant murder mystery set at the theatre. I loved all the details- the backstage set up and production specifics are so well described. I loved the build up of intrigue with the mix between the real life of the characters and the story on stage. Such a clever story and I can’t wait to see if we meet up with Bertie again.

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Deliciously clever. Delicately woven around theatre (British spelling) customs and production elements, it's a bit like stepping onstage and into the middle of a classic Agatha Christie type mystery for which you neither know the lines nor how the play ends. Nothing seems quite wrong....or right.

That's the situation successful playwright Bertie Carroll finds himself in as he attends a performance of one of his older productions at Brighton's Palace Pier Theatre. It's the 1930s. The theatre was real, btw, and a quick search reveals it must have been rather resplendent at one time. Sadly, it no longer exists. But, I digress. Bertie is in town to meet with an old friend, Chief Detective Inspector Hugh Chapman who has a reputation for solving impossible cases. Bertie is, well, an unassuming writer and feels out of his element as the investigation into the onstage death of fading star Celia Hamilton begins.

It happened in front of an audience who simply thought it was part of the play, as did Bertie initially, to be honest. It quickly becomes evident that it was no well-played death scene, however. It was the real thing. Celia is dead. The actress who pulled the trigger of the prop gun is the obvious suspect but, well, we all know that things aren't always what they seem. I won't detail the plot/investigation but it's fun watching Bertie gain in confidence as he uses his knowledge of day-to-day theatre customs, whether on casting, production, staging, or dressing the stage, to help solve the crime. You'll learn a great deal about the theatre in the process of solving this mystery.

So, who did it? Did the butler do it? Was it the young, unknown actress, perhaps hoping to replace the difficult star? Perhaps the stage manager had snapped at one too many caustic criticisms? Or maybe the handsome young actor who seems, well, a tad undisciplined onstage? Breaking the fourth wall is a no-no, you know. Why is this show being produced anyway? It isn't even one of Bertie's hits. And, why is Hugh there in the first place? Do you know what a cigarette card is/was in that time period? He gives one to Bertie. There are hints of their connection but, given the era, they remain shadowy. I rather like that as I liked them both and it makes them human but doesn't distract from the story. But, enough teasers. Read the book. You won't be sorry, especially if you're a fan of classic mysteries and/or the theatre.

Thanks to #NetGalley and BrabingerPublishing for the invite to the show. It was a delight to meet Bertie and Hugh and feel engulfed by the mystic of the theatre. Hope to catch another show with them soon!

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I’m honestly so excited, because this is the first installment in a series. This book was made for me. It perfectly captures the vibes and atmosphere of an Agatha Christie novel. The mystery was so well plotted and the clues were fantastic. The main character is amazing, and canonically queer. This book was amazing and I cannot wait to read more.

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Such a cleverly crafted plot! 🔥📚

Wow! What an outstanding Murder Mystery debut from Jamie West! 😍

Firstly, the amount of research into the history of theatre in Brighton and The Palace Pier seeps through this whole read beautifully. This research alongside Jamie’s own backstage knowledge of working in London’s West End brings the story to life in a magnificent way! 🎭

The plot itself was faultless. I was hooked throughout and kept changing my opinion on each suspect really adding to the overall whodunit feel of the read.

Jamie’s writing reminded me so much of Agatha Christie and J. B. Priestley and this book was definitely fast paced and a lovely easy read.

I praise Jamie for crafting such a unique plot and I can see this read being in the spotlight! I’m really looking forward to the next Bertie Carroll Mystery 🔥🎉📚

Many thanks to Jamie West, NetGalley and Brabinger Publishing for this ARC!

I highly recommend this debut that will be published on 10th October 22!🔥📚

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