The Birthday Mystery by Faith Martin – Book Review

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Thank you to Faith Martin and Joffe books for a copy of this book in return for an honest and unbiased review.  Also thank you to Jill @books_n_all for organising this blog tour.

 

Synopsis

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.

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.

Review

Meet Jenny Starling.

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.

This novel was a welcome break from thrillers and romance stories that I have been reading as it has a much more leisurely pace than what I’m used to.

The first half of the book gently introduces the characters and begins to plant little seeds in our minds about who the murderer may be. It takes a long time to pick up pace but later in the book you realise that there are reasons for the longer introduction.

The second part is more concerned with figuring out who the culprit is.  Unravelling the clues and gossip, Jenny begins to piece together the jigsaw, managing to outwit the police officers and the murderer.

The Birthday Mystery is written like a fun game of cluedo. You have a huge list of suspects with motives but no idea which one it is.  Faith Martin throws some excellent red herrings in there too to really make your brain work.

This is such a laid back and fun book to read.  Set in a quintessential English village amongst the elite of society, it’s like watching an episode of Midsummer’s Murders or Murder She Wrote and I’m already getting stuck into book 2 – The Winter Mystery.

Author Bio – Faith Martin

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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.

 

Check out the other reviews by following the other bloggers on the blog tour.

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