Martine Bailey writes historical suspense novels set in the 18th century. Her first novel, An Appetite for Violets, takes irrepressible under-cook Biddy Leigh on a journey to Italy, where she records her observations in an old household book of recipes as she is swept into a world of secrets and murder. It was credited by Fay Weldon as inventing a new genre, ‘culinary gothic’ and was a Booklist ‘Top Ten Crime Fiction Debut’.
Her second novel, The Penny Heart (published as A Taste for Nightshade in the US), is set in the north of England, New Zealand and Botany Bay. It explores a dark struggle between a mistress and her vengeful cook and was a Sunday Times ‘Best Summer Read’.
As an amateur cook, Martine won the Merchant Gourmet Recipe Challenge and was a former UK Dessert Champion, cooking at Le Meurice in Paris. In pursuit of authenticity she has studied with food historian Ivan Day and experienced Georgian food and fashion at first-hand with an historic re-enactment society.
She is currently writing her third novel, set in an English village during the loss of 11 days in 1752, when a series of murders appear to be predicted in an astrological almanac.
Married with one son, she now lives in Cheshire, England, having lived for some years in New Zealand where she had a Creative Arts Scholarship. She was also Writer in Residence at Hosking Houses Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon in 2013 and 2016