I’m delighted to be opening the Blog Tour for the first book in a new series by Faith Martin. “The Birthday Mystery” is available now!
About the book:
Discover a new series of whodunits by million-selling author Faith Martin. These classic-style mysteries will have you scratching your head to work out who the murderer is. Meet Jenny Starling: travelling cook and reluctant amateur detective.
Please note this book was first published as “BIRTHDAYS CAN BE MURDER” under Faith Martin’s pen name JOYCE CATO.
Jenny Starling is catering the twenty-first birthday party of a pair of posh twins, Alicia and Justin.
But when she arrives at their parent’s country house, she is immediately met by the police. A young man has drowned in the pond. Was it an accident or murder?
Then just after midnight everyone gathers for a champagne toast. But one of the guests falls down dead.
The police are baffled and there is a whole party full of suspects. But when it comes to someone adding the extra ingredient of poison to her own precious recipes, Jenny isn’t going to take it lying down. She has a reputation to protect.
Jenny Starling won’t stop until the murderer is found.
This is the first of a series of enjoyable murder mysteries with a great cast of characters and baffling crimes which will keep you in suspense to the final page. Perfect for fans of classic whodunits by authors like Agatha Christie, LJ Ross, TE Kinsey, and J.R. Ellis.
In her late twenties, Jenny Starling is an impressive woman. Physically, she stands at 6ft 1inch, and has shoulder-length black hair and blue eyes. Curvaceous and sexy, she’s a modern single woman, living the lifestyle that suits her – that of a travelling cook. Her famous (and now very rich) father, is a ‘celebrity’ cook, divorced from Jenny’s mother. Jenny drives a disreputable cherry-red van, and is happy travelling the country catering events and cooking great food. She is on a one-woman crusade to bring back ‘real’ food. And definitely doesn’t like having to divert her attention from achieving the perfect Dundee cake or creating a new sauce recipe by having to solve a murder. She finds crime very distracting, especially when there is chocolate to temper or pike to poach. Nevertheless, she is very good at reading people, and with a quick and agile brain, becomes very good at unmasking killers. And her always-undaunted sense of humour goes a long way in keeping her sane when all around her people are dropping like flies.
Jenny Starling, travelling cook, is hired to cater for a wealthy set of twins’ birthday party. On her arrival, she is disturbed to find the Police pulling a body out of a pond. It is assumed it is an accident, but when someone then dies at the party she is catering for, Jenny reluctantly finds herself helping them catch the criminal.
This is a solid start to the new series. The plot works very much of the formula of the Hillary Greene series, so if you enjoyed those you are likely to enjoy these. There are plenty of red herrings along the way.
I didn’t initially warm to the character of Jenny, however she grew on me as the novel went on. There are no other likeable characters in the novel, except for characters that play little part in the storyline, and the Detectives.
It does slightly concern me that given the nature of the series there is likely only to be the one recurring character, and part of the reason I enjoyed the previous series was because there was a team, however I’m more than happy to give another one a go.
About the author:
Faith Martin was born in Oxford, and has spent all her life within twenty miles of the university city, even working at Somerville College for five years before turning to writing full-time. The author of the popular DI Hillary Greene novels, she also writes more classic-style ‘whodunits’ under the pen name Joyce Cato, but began her writing career as Maxine Barry, winning an award for penning romance novels! A popular writer for over 25 years, she has had nearly 50 novels published so far. Her hobbies include walking her now ageing dog, wildlife-watching, reading and (reluctantly) gardening.