As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Thomas Dunne Books, 12 January 2016. ISBN: 978-1-25125005692-4
(First published in 2015 as The
Manchester, 1787, with the
Industrial Revolution just starting and mills and factories being built
everywhere. Mary Jebb, a youthful prostitute and thief, tricks two young men,
Michael and Peter Croxon, out of a £1.00 banknote. They catch her and despite
her pleas for mercy she finds herself in Newgate in London and being tried for
theft – at the time a hanging offence. Michael is particularly vengeful and
gives evidence against her. But at literally the last moment, while in front of
the gallows and a baying crowd, her sentence is reduced to transportation to
Botany Bay in Australia for seven years. Not that that is particularly welcome
to Mary and she vows vengeance on both Michael Croxon and Charlie and on her
‘mobsman’ Charlie Trebizond who had promised to not just free her from the
gallows but to ensure her acquittal. So off Mary goes to Australia and a
nightmare life, since she, like other women transported to the far side of the
world, is there purely to provide sexual relief for the thousands of men
transported to this arid wilderness. But Mary, although down, is certainly not
another young woman, Grace Moore, marries Michael Croxon, at first thinking
that he loves her as much as she loves him. All too soon, once they are married
and Grace’s fortune becomes the property of her husband, she realises that he
never loved her and had only been interested in her money with which he plans
to build a cotton-spinning mill. He installs her in a manor-house, Delafosse
Hall, which, although large and stately, is very neglected with only one
elderly servant. So, Grace, hoping to make the best of a bad situation and to
kindle some affection in her husband’s heart towards her, hires a
cook/housekeeper, Peg Blissett, who seems to be just the person to make it all
right. But the reader knows, which Grace does not, that her apparent saviour is
in fact Mary Jebb who has escaped from her transportation and has returned to
England to wreak vengeance on the various people who have wronged her,
particularly Michael Croxon. She knows that she can trade on Grace’s naïve good
nature to accomplish this and enrich herself at the same time.
does she succeed? This is an enthralling tale with suspense on every page. Mary
may be a criminal through-and-through but one has to admire her courage and
determination. The appalling circumstances of women transported to Australia
are strongly depicted. Meanwhile the gentle Grace arouses our sympathy and the
reader can only hope she will escape the trap she has fallen into. And an extra
touch are the authentic eighteenth century recipes included in the book – not only
is Mary an accomplished and determined con woman but also an excellent cook.
But can her recipes be altogether trusted? Note the title of this book!
do heartily recommend this book.
Reviewer: Radmila May
Bailey entered cookery
contest with no idea it would lead to a life-changing obsession with French
cuisine. As an amateur cook, Martine won the Merchant Gourmet Recipe Challenge
and was a former UK Dessert Champion, cooking at Le Meurice in Paris. Inspired
by eighteenth-century household books of recipes, An Appetite for Violets
invites readers to feast on the past as a sharp-witted young cook is taken on a
mysterious trip to Italy. In pursuit of authenticity Martine studied with food
historian Ivan Day and experienced Georgian food and fashion at firsthand with
an historic re-enactment society. Martine lives in Cheshire, England and
Auckland, New Zealand. She is married with one son. The Almanack is her latest book. Published
in January 2019.
born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven
years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice.
Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional
work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of
her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published
late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal
flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a
third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology –
and is now concentrating on her own writing.