Martine Bailey’s debut ‘An Appetite for Violets’ is a crime novel set in 18th century Europe (Hodder & Stoughton and St Martin’s Press, US). Written as a book of recipes, it takes sharp-witted cook Biddy Leigh on a murderous trip from England to Italy. Its mix of crime, gastronomy and social history was described by Fay Weldon as a new genre, ‘culinary gothic’. ‘An Appetite for Violets’ was picked by ‘Booklist’ as one of the top ten crime fiction debuts of the year.
‘The Penny Heart’ is a Sunday Times Best Summer Read that draws on age-old themes of cooking, trickery and revenge (Hodder & Stoughton). Titled ‘A Taste for Nightshade’ in the US, (St Martin’s Press, January) it draws on Martine’s 20-month stay in Australia and New Zealand to depict a world of deceit, double-crossing and revenge.
The stars, riddles and murder align in The Almanack, (Severn House/Canongate, 2019), a historical mystery featuring 50 authentic riddles. A sequel titled The Prophet, (2021) sees former London harlot Tabitha Hart threatened by a charismatic preacher who foresees danger for her unborn child.
Married with one son, Martine lives in Cheshire, England, having lived for some years in New Zealand where she gained a Creative Arts Scholarship. She was also Writer in Residence at Hosking Houses Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon and Hawkwood College, Stroud.
Her short story, ‘A Mouthful of Restaurant’, appears in the 2017 CWA Anthology, ‘The Mystery Tour’.
Martine was longlisted for the Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing in 2020.
The Mogford Prize in Food and Drink Writing – longlist, 2020