The Birthday Mystery by Faith Martin

the birthday mystery.jpg

4 out of 5 Stars

Thank you to Jill at Books N All Blog Tours for having me on the tour today!


Discover a new series of whodunits by million-selling author Faith Martin. These classic-style mysteries will have you scratching your head to work out who the murderer is. Meet Jenny Starling: travelling cook and reluctant amateur detective.

Please note this book was first published as “BIRTHDAYS CAN BE MURDER” under Faith Martin’s pen name JOYCE CATO.

Jenny Starling is catering the twenty-first birthday party of a pair of posh twins, Alicia and Justin.

But when she arrives at their parent’s country house, she is immediately met by the police. A young man has drowned in the pond. Was it an accident or murder?

Then just after midnight everyone gathers for a champagne toast. But one of the guests falls down dead.

The police are baffled and there is a whole party full of suspects. But when it comes to someone adding the extra ingredient of poison to her own precious recipes, Jenny isn’t going to take it lying down. She has a reputation to protect.

Jenny Starling won’t stop until the murderer is found.

This is the first of a series of enjoyable 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.

My Thoughts

This mystery was told in a very unique fashion! While mainly told from the POV of Jenny the hired on travelling cook, as Jenny met new characters or as different things unfolded it would randomly flit to anther character’s POV so that you momentarily saw either Jenny or a situation out of those characters eyes. It was a very unique narration!

I did get a little bored and annoyed by the many times seeing Jenny through the eyes of other characters and all of them referring to her and “Amazonian”, “repulsive” and “Junoesque” …I get it. She’s a big girl. Get over it. I understand that Faith wanted to make us very aware of this fact so that Jenny could overcome everyone’s low view of her and show that she’s a woman in charge. But, it was just rubbed in the reader’s face over and over and over ad nauseam. It just seemed weird to me that so many people would be looking at her thinking “look at that repulsively fat, but strangely beautiful woman!” But, maybe I just don’t think like that?

I had to decide whether I love or hated the excessive descriptions in the novel. I decided I loved them! They were so well written and quaintly British that I couldn’t help but fall in love with the writing style. Really, part of the opening paragraph was just too great not to love!!

“And in one particular garden, everything was awake and busy. Bees buzzed in the flowering cherry trees, birds patrolled the well-cut lawns for worms and grubs, and in a large, deep pond, ornamental carp checked the surface for flies and other tasty morsels. The gently floating body of the young man in the water didn’t seem to bother them at all. Perhaps because he did nothing to disturb them, but simply floated placidly wherever the slight warm breezes took him. His short fair hair spread around his head like river weed and his wide blue eyes stared serenely at the azure sky above him. He was, of course, quite dead.

The mystery is charming (I know… weird to phrase it that way. But, read it and you’ll thing “my, that was quite charming!”), and full of the regular sort: The jilted lovers, all those hiding secrets, the hidden agendas, etc.

I can’t wait to continue this series!!

Pick up your copy now!!

Amazon U.S.

Amazon Canada

Amazon U.K

Author Bio

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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.

The Birthday Mystery is Best Served with a Birthday Martini


Nicole, do you just happen to have Hello Kitty party hats and Superhero party Blowers in your home when you don’t have children? ……..Don’t judge me. Ha ha!!


  • 2oz Birthday Cake Vodka
  • 1oz Amaretto
  • 2oz Tequila Rose
  • optional garnish honey or agave syrup and sprinkles


  1. If adding rim dip the top of the glass in honey or agave syrup and then place the top of the glass in sprinkles to rim (I couldn’t find my sprinkles, so a party hat had to do!)
  2. Add alcohol to shaker full of ice
  3. Shake until chilled
  4. Strain into glass

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