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 the American Library Association’s ‘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) a historical mystery featuring 50 authentic riddles. Following a desperate summons from her mother, Tabitha Hart departs London for her home village of Netherlea – only to discover that her mother has allegedly drowned. Determined to discover the truth, Tabitha consults her mother’s almanack and uncovers a series of cryptic notes describing her terror of someone she names only as ‘D’
She is currently writing a sequel to The Almanack, for release in November 2020.
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’.