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Another quaint English town harboring evil

The new thriller/crime collection “Whitstable Pearl” jogs my memory of a darker model of “Murder, She Wrote” — with the English seaside town of Whitstable subbing for Cabot Cove and a youthful model of no-nonsense sleuth Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) as its protagonist.

The six-episode Acorn TV collection relies on Julie Wassmer’s novels and was shot on location in Whitstable, situated on the north coast of Kent. That’s a giant increase, since you possibly can virtually really feel the chilly spray mist coming off the North Sea as you get to know every of the foremost characters. It actually units the ambiance.

The collection revolves round Pearl Nolan (Kerry Godliman). She’s the one mom of a teenage son, Charlie (Rohan Nedd), and owns the Whitstable Pearl, a neighborhood restaurant identified for its oysters and homey ambiance. She runs the eatery together with her brash, opinionated mom, Dolly (Frances Barber).

Pearl can be an ex-cop who left the drive after getting pregnant with Charlie, and now runs her personal personal investigation agency from the restaurant. In the premiere, she finds her previous buddy Vinnie — a fisherman who provided the Whitstable Pearl with oysters — (actually) dead-in-the-water.

The case is assigned to DCI Mike McGuire (Howard Charles), a brooding, bearded investigator who lately transferred to Whitstable from London and detests small-town life (“because you have to talk to people,” he says).

He’s hiding some secrets and techniques of his personal, together with his anguish over the dying of his spouse. Pearl (naturally) will get concerned within the investigation, which impacts her younger worker, waitress Ruby (Isobelle Molloy) — and, as she works the case with McGuire and his tough-guy facade begins to crack, you possibly can see that their relationship is heading into a more in-depth (romantic?) course.

Pearl (Kerry Godliman, left) and her mom, Dolly (Frances Barber) within the Whitstable Pearl kitchen.
Mark Bourdillon/AcornTV

Each episode of “Whitstable Pearl” is close-ended, within the sense {that a} case is solved, however Vinnie’s dying continues to reverberate within the continuing installments, so there’s a little bit of continuity. (Episode 2 entails the tried homicide of an actual property agent and a Robin Hood-type doling out wads of money to locals — we’ll go away it at that.)

Godliman, who co-stars reverse Ricky Gervais in his Netflix collection “After Life” (in flashbacks as Lisa, his deceased spouse), matches properly into the world of “Whitstable Pearl” as do her co-stars, who’ve good onscreen chemistry. The collection arrives with an A-list pedigree (“Lilyhammer” creator Oystein Karlsen) and strikes alongside at a brisk tempo towards a picturesque backdrop harking back to different British crime reveals (most notably “Broadchurch”).

Why these quaint coastal cities appear to every possess an evil underbelly stays a thriller — however I’m glad that, a minimum of in Whitstable, Pearl Nolan is attempting to unravel these dilemmas, one case at a time.

Howard Charles performs DCI Mike McGuire in “Whitstable Pearl.”
Mark Bourdillon/AcornTV