Martine Bailey’s debut ‘An Appetite for Violets’ is a gastronomic mystery set in 18th century Europe (Hodder & Stoughton, 2014 and St Martin’s Press, US, 2015). 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 2015.
‘The Penny Heart’ is a dark novel of suspense that draws on age-old themes of cooking, trickery and revenge (Hodder & Stoughton 2015). Titled ‘A Taste for Nightshade’ in the US, (St Martin’s Press, January 2016) it draws on Martine’s 20-month stay in Australia and New Zealand to depict a world of deceit, double-crossing and revenge.
In pursuit of authenticity Martine studied with TV food historian Ivan Day. She lives in Cheshire, England and is married with one son.