The Crime Readers' Association

The Low Down: Martine Bailey

25th June 2014


Area:    Chester


Day job: Full time writer


An Appetite for Violets


An Appetite for Violets is by Martine Bailey. Here, we take a look at both writer and her forthcoming work.


So, why should we read it?


It’s a historical mystery Fay Weldon has called ‘a new genre: Culinary Gothic’. Set in the eighteenth century, it is the tale of a young cook reluctantly taken on a sinister journey to Italy.


Did it take much research?

Yes, learning to cook Georgian food and immersion in travel guides, diaries, and memoirs. I also ate my way from Paris to Tuscany – so not too dry and dusty.


In 3 words, how will it leave us feeling?


Hungry for more


What sparked the original idea?


I was in the kitchen at Erddig Hall near Chester and wondered how a cook would react to being sent on the Grand Tour and using her wits to survive.


What’s your 5 year plan?


The next novel is again about a cook; an escaped convict employed by a naïve young wife. Then a ghost mystery in Venice and then more holidays for inspiration.


Do you vote?


Yes. A woman threw herself under a horse for that right. It’s an insult not to use it.


Tell us your favourite type of cheese.


I’m not a huge cheese eater. So maybe gruyere, so long as it’s attached to a nice Lobster Thermidor.


Which superpower would you choose, and why? Invisibility. Flying. Reading minds.


Reading minds. Isn’t that what writers pretend to do anyway? Though maybe the mundane reality would disappoint…


Your house is on fire. Which book do you save?


A scrapbook of my mum’s early life on Java, then the Dutch East Indies.  A lost exotic world.


The Low Down is part of Case Files, the e zine edited by Chris Simms and sent out to CRA subscribers every other month. If you want to read more then do make sure you are subscribed. It takes only a minute, is free and you will get more great content like this direct to your inbox. 


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