Today I hand the blog back over to Mandie who has a review of The Winter Mystery, the latest novel from Faith Martin. Thanks to Jill Burkinshaw and to publisher Joffe books for the invite to join the tour and for providing an advance review copy. Here is what it’s all about.
Meet Jenny Starling: travelling cook and reluctant amateur detective.
Please note this book was first published as “A FATAL FALL OF SNOW” under Faith Martin’s pen name JOYCE CATO.
Jenny Starling is spending Christmas in a snowed-in country house cooking all the traditional food she loves. But the family she’s working for are not full of the seasonal spirit. In fact, they seem to hate each other.
On Christmas Eve, someone is found dead on the kitchen table. And the head of the family is blaming Jenny!
But with an incompetent detective called in, and seemingly no motive for the murder, Jenny will have to give the police a hand.
She will stop at nothing to clear her name and find the real murderer.
This is the second of a series of gripping 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.
This is the second book in the Jenny Starling series but it can work very well as a stand-alone. Jenny is a no nonsense cook for hire who seems to have a knack for solving murders.
Hired by Stan Kelton to cook over the Christmas period she soon finds herself smack bang in the middle of the investigations into the death of Sid Kelton, Stan’s elder brother and the owner of the farm. Used to being told to stay out of the way and not to get involved, Jenny initially finds it a refreshing change when the detectives in charge of the case actively encourage her to be of assistance… that is until she gets the feeling they are actually relying on her to actually solve the case for them.
Jenny comes across as someone who loves to cook but does love the challenge of a good mystery. She loves to people watch and has a great eye for small details. When she talks to people she quickly puts them at ease so they tend to open up to her, telling her things they may not say to the police.
The family members are the main suspects and to be honest I found that none of them were particularly likeable when you first meet them. Stan Kelton is basically a bully who rules over his children and his grandson by constantly belittling them and not letting them have any kind of independence. The way he acts you would believe that he was the owner of the farm not Sid. You can tell that he is not liked by any of them, or by the locals of the village. The eldest Bert doesn’t seem to have any real backbone and despite Stan being the reason his wife left both him and their son Jeremy he takes everything that is thrown at him getting more and more defeated with every day that passes. Bill has a little more fire in him and regularly challenges Stan. Once the favourite son he is now the one that clashes with his father the most. Delia is the youngest child and it shows in so many ways. She is desperate to escape her father and the farm but as he keeps her without her own means of an income this does not look like it will ever be a possibility.
At the beginning of the book I was wondering about the motive for Sid’s murder as with the exception of Stan, all the family seemed to like the old man. As you read on though there are quite a few hints and clues and it did become really obvious as to why he was killed and who committed the crime. The only thing that slightly annoyed me was the investigating officers. They seemed a little bit ineffective and almost surplus to requirements, as if they were only there as it would seem odd that there was no police presence for a murder enquiry. That being said The Winter Mystery is still a very enjoyable read and almost has a feel of the murder mystery novels of old.
If you’d like a copy of The Winter Mystery for yourself, it is available from the following link:
About the Author
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.
Author Links: Twitter