The stars, riddles and murder align in The Almanack.
Published January 2019 UK and 1 May in the US
1752, Midsummer. 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 about the Widow Hart’s death, Tabitha consults her mother’s almanack and uncovers a series of cryptic notes describing her terror of someone she names only as ‘D’.
Joining forces with philosphical young writer Nat Starling, Tabitha begins a race against the calendar to unmask ‘D’. But as the sun retreats and snow cuts off Netherlea from the outside world, Tabitha and Nat face the darkest hours of their lives.
'I was enthralled by the riddles and puzzles, twists and surprises.' - Paula Brackston, author of The Witch's Daughter
Martine's historical crime debut An Appetite for Violets is the tale of sharp-witted cook, Biddy Leigh, taken on a mysterious journey to Italy. Unwittingly swept up into a world of scheming, secrets, and lies she documents her adventures in an old household book of recipes. When she finds herself embroiled in a murderous conspiracy, Biddy realises that the secrets she holds could be the key to her survival – or her downfall . . .
Inspired by historic recipes and set at the time of the invention of the first restaurants, An Appetite for Violets is a literary feast for lovers of historical fiction.
'Martine Bailey writes with such easy, compelling grace, and in a fascinating new genre – best described as Culinary Gothic. I was hooked and enraptured.' - Fay Weldon
The Penny Heart (titled A Taste for Nightshade in the US) continues Martine's exploration of culinary crime, in a dark tale of two very different women entangled by love and revenge. Sentenced to death for a simple confidence trick, Mary Jebb escapes the gallows...but her reprieve is harsh: transportation to 'the ends of the earth'. Yet Mary is determined not to be forgotten, sending two pennies engraved with a sinister promise, to the two men who sealed her fate. But when timid new wife Grace Moore takes on a new cook, the penny heart love tokens reveal she is tied to a world she didn't know existed...A world of deceit, double-crossing, and murder.
'Intelligent and engrossing reading ... An ingenious exercise in gothic pastiche, this is a richly rewarding read.'
- The Sunday Times 'Best Summer Reads'
Buy a copy here.
Buy a copy here
Buy a copy here
THE ALMANACK ON AUDIO
The Almanack is now out on audiobook and audible (both UK and US)
I am over the moon about this gorgeous cover design for The Almanack – it catches the atmosphere I was trying to create perfectly!
The audio book is read by young actress Fiona Boylan, who you may have seen as playing a police constable in the excellent BBC TV series Line of Duty. As soon as I heard Fiona’s voice I felt she had the right northern English accent and mix of femininity and feistiness.
THE MYSTERY TOUR
Crime Writers Association Short stories
Wrexham Carnival of Words
Friday 3rd May 1pm
The Almanack: A Lost World of Riddles & Prophecy
Join Martine Bailey, author of Erddig-inspired An Appetite for Violets, as she unveils her new historical murder mystery, The Almanack.
She will explore her researches into Georgian Cheshire, and the lost world of riddles and prophecy our ancestors once lived by.
Tickets £3: Book here for Festival tickets
CHESTER LITERATURE FESTIVAL
I was delighted to be invited to talk at Chester's award-winning Storyhouse arts venue as part of Chester Literature Festival. I read from, and chatted about my culinary historical mystery, 'An Appetite for Violets'.
Next, I decided to test out some of the riddles from The Almanack on my captive audience. Each riddle was answered after some humorous guessing!
It was a pleasure to meet readers and sign books - and also give a short interview about my writing to a journalism student from the University of Chester.
We all had a glorious time at our sell-out Georgian banquet at the historic Normandby Room, The Green Howards Museum, Richmond, Yorkshire. To open, I gave an introduction to Georgian dining and manners over our Potted Rabbit starter and after delicious Barley Pottage, Smaured Mutton and Taffety Tart, we had a quiz of ingenious 18th century culinary riddles. Many thanks to Executive Chef Gareth Bottomly and all the museum team.
ERDDIG HALL AND AN APPETITE FOR VIOLETS
The kitchen at historic Erddig Hall near Wrexham, was the inspiration for An Appetite for Violets. So it is especially is pleasing that the novel is a Recommended Read at Erddig Hall's National Trust book shop.