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The Birthday Mystery

(Jenny Starling #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  3,459 ratings  ·  207 reviews
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 upper-class twins, Alicia and Justin.

She arrives at their parents' country house and is immediately met by the police. A young man has drowned in the pond. Was it an accident or murder?

But the birthday
Kindle Edition, 245 pages
Published December 7th 2018 by Joffe Books (first published 2010)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do you want to indulge in a nice, engaging and cozy mystery in this holiday season? Then look no further!

A house full of guests. A room full of suspects. A clever murderer. A baffling crime.

Our sharp-eyed and clever Jenny Starling is a cook who is hired to cater for the birthday party of the wealthy twins, Alicia and Justin. But as soon as she arrives at the mansion, she is informed of the drowning of the assistant gardener. Everyone, including the police put it down as an unfortunate accident.
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stunning ...... just wonderful. I think this is going to become one of my favourite characters.
Alan Cotterell
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
Great start

Great solid start to a new series. Jenny Starling, is a jobbing cook, who moves from assignment to assignment. But seems as if she will always find herself in the middle of a crime. She is a bit like Miss Marple only younger. Although I don't think it actually gives her age.
The stories are set in small villages bit like Midsomer Murders, in a timeless period. Doesn't really specify an era.
The story lines are well developed and so are the characters. If I had a criticism, it might be
Louise Wilson
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jenny Starling #1

Jenny Starling is catering for a 21st birthday party for a pair of twins. But when she arrives at her parents country house, she discovers that a young man has drowned in a pond. Then just after midnight, everyone gathers for a champagne toast. But one of the guests drops down dead. With a party full of suspects, the police are baffled.

This is the first book in a new series by the author, Faith Martin. I liked Jenny Sparrows character. She not a detective but I'm not sure if
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Birthday Mystery, first published as Birthdays Can Be Murder in 2010 under Faith Martin's pen name Joyce Cato, is the perfect start to the Jenny Starling series. As is often the case in Ms Martin's crime fiction she makes the chocolate-box village in the countryside a character in its own right and it reminded me a lot of the village of Midsomer in Midsomer Murders. It had me hooked pretty darn quickly and racing through the pages to discover what actually happened and who the dastardly ...more
Linda Strong

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

This is the first of a series featuring Jenny Starling, a traveling cook and somewhat of an amateur detective. Maybe it's because she's smart, she sees things that others miss, and she has a wonderful ability to piece together puzzles.

Jenny is catering the 21st birthday of a pair of wealthy twins, Alicia and Justin. One of them will die, and one of them will survive ...barely.

And then
Jul 26, 2019 rated it liked it
"Jenny had a nasty habit, through no fault of her own, of getting caught up in other people's problems. This time, she vowed to steer well clear of trouble."

This was such a little gem of a story! I really enjoyed Jenny and her quirky cast of characters in this fun little mystery. Jenny was a great character - sassy and sharp and yet sweet and so compassionate. I loved her love of food, animals and people. She juggled a tough situation of catering a birthday party with a grumpy daily cook, an
Gail C.
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From the first sentence of Faith Martin’s new novel, The Birthday Mystery, you are immersed in the world of Jenny Starling, supersized chef extraordinaire who is completely comfortable with herself. That comfort level translates to a woman who exudes confidence and sex appeal without even trying, an unusual feat for a woman who is 6’1” tall with curves in places other women don’t even have places.

Of course, Jenny’s size has nothing to do with her ability to solve a murder, that is left up to her
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a really good book. A really good story and characters. I especially liked Jenny Starling! I hope that Faith Martin will write more about her soon.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of cozy mysteries set in sleepy little hamlets
To begin another cozy series is kind of what I don't need but I find resisting them difficult and so, here I am having read the first in a series. Actually, it was the second book that originally caught my eye as it has a Christmas/winter theme and I'm still in the mood for my mystery reads to be snowy. I like to be orderly so I read The Birthday Mystery.

Jenny Starling is a cook and reluctant sleuth, who has come to The Beeches in the village of Rousham Green, to make dinner for twenty-five
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was first introduced to Faith Martin’s writing, when I was invited to take part in the blog tour (by the lovely Jill Burkinshaw) for the second book in the series featuring DI Hilary Greene, also published by Joffe Books. Since that time, I have become a huge fan of hers. I have read each and every book of hers that Joffe has released. When I heard that she was releasing a new series featuring a new female lead, I knew that I just had to drop everything to read it. I was not to be disappointed ...more
Robin Loves Reading
Jenny Starling is both highly rated and highly sought after. She is a traveling cook and her current job is to cater the twenty-first birthday party of upper-class twins, Alicia and Justin. As soon as Jenny arrives, however, she is greeted by the police. Sadly, a young man has drowned in a pond and the police have to determine whether or not it was an accident.

Nonetheless, Jenny goes right to work. Shockingly, however, a guest suddenly dies. This suspicious death has no shortage of guests
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of Mysteries, Cosy Mysteries
Over recent months I've become a great fan of cozy mysteries so, when I saw a new series featuring Jenny Starling being launched, I knew I had to read The Birthday Mystery. Also, it has a culinary theme which I love and a little light humour.

First, we are introduced to Jenny who is catering for the twenty-first birthday party of upper-class twins, Alicia and Justin. In her late twenties, Jenny is an impressive woman. Curvaceous and sexy, she’s a modern single woman, living the lifestyle that
I was very eager to start reading the first book in this series by Faith Martin, because her series with Hilary Green I found very nice reads - not too spectacular, but very hard to put away once I started reading. Were my expectations met? Well, yes and no. Let me start with a short excerpt: "Jenny was six feet and one inch tall, with a heavy bone structure that was well padded, and curvaceous in many places."
So far, so good. Excellent! Jenny is a caterer and cook; she caters for all kinds of
Elaine Tomasso
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would like to thank Netgalley and Joffe Books for a review copy of The Birthday Mystery, the first novel to feature professional cook and amateur sleuth, Jenny Starling.

When Jenny arrives as Beech House to cater for twins Justin and Alicia’s twenty first birthday party she is met by the police as a young man has drowned in their pond. Shrugging off the shock Jenny gets on with her job but is even more shocked when one of the guests at the party is poisoned.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Birthday
Tony Hisgett
Dec 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: review, mystery
Given the description of Jenny I wasn’t too sure about this book, but I had quite enjoyed the author’s DI Hillary Greene so I thought it was worth a try. In the end I really liked Jenny and the book was certainly worth a try.
Having said that, the story wasn’t without its problems. To start with the time scale for one person to make and decorate elaborate cakes, prepare a six course banquet for over twenty people and nibbles for over a hundred doesn't work.
However the most annoying thing about
Lady Delacour
Old style murder mystery.
If you like Agatha Christie
and or Sherlock Holmes,
you might enjoy this book.
With this style I personally
lose interest and struggle
with staying as focused.
Listened with TTS.
Clean with Mild Foul Language.
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love Faith Martin’s Hilary Greene series, but was sadly disappointed upon reading this 1st of the Jenny Starling series. I found about a third of the way through the book that everything about it was was just silly and pointless. Poorly written, rushing from one thing to the next. Too many subplots in a story that was already feeling forced and artificial. I was surprised that this was the Faith Martin I had enjoyed previously. A murder from the very first page and no one, not even the author ...more
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
2.5 My mum enjoyed this series so I thought I'd give it a go. It was okay but the editing was appalling. Head-hopping from paragraph to paragraph, repetition of dialog tags ("Blah, blah," X said thoughtfully. "I agree," Y said thoughtfully), the investigating policemen both have names that begin with 'Moll' and if I'd taken a drink every time the heroine was called 'the Junoesque cook' I'd have been squiffy by chapter six.

I get it. She's tall, big and has 'surprisingly beautiful dark blue eyes',
Dr. Patricia Calkin
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Barely able to complete this unbelievable tale!

The main character shows up at all the perfect times to hear clues. She is not seen and the author uses unbelievable ways to make this happen, like having her suffer a cramp and then be unseen under a table. She heard way too many conversations while being just out of site. Even so, the reader is NOT given clues that a good mystery writer would share in order to be fair. I bought the second book when I got this one or I would not have wasted the
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 stars

Jenny Starling is a caterer extraordinaire. She is catering the birthday party for Alicia and Justin, but as she arrives at the posh mansion, the police are on the scene. A young man has hit his head and fallen into the pond. He is dead.

So begins a new series for writer Faith Martin.

Although she is 6’ 1,” Jenny is comfortable with herself and her job. She likes “real” cooking, not the goofy stuff her father, another chef, cooks. Jenny has a talent for investigation as well. She becomes
Darcey Tomasino
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another Agatha Christie

I love a good, clean murder mystery, and Faith Martin doesn't disappoint. Jenny Starling is a strong female lead with amazing powers of deduction. My only complaint is Martin's fondness for the adjective "Junoesque"; that's a word that is overused if it shows up more than once in a book....and it has to be in the book a dozen times or more.
Beverly Owens
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Some kind of party

A traveling cook with sleuthing skills makes for an interesting mystery to solve. Loved the twists in the plot as I tried to figure out who dunnit.
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Grand Mystery

What a deep and difficult mystery! Attempting to kill twins on their 21st birthday in a huge party full of witnesses.
Joanna Larum
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first in a new series by Faith Martin and one I have been waiting for since the Hillary Greene series finished. There is a new main character, Jenny Starling, a professional caterer to the super-rich, who will no doubt travel to many houses in many places so there is the possibility of so many murder mysteries.
I like the character of Jenny who came over as a professional and very competent person but I kept feeling that I was in the middle of a book set in the 1930's so the intrusion of 21st
Sally Lindsay-briggs
This was a great Whodunit. Jenny was embroiled in a murder at the party she was catering. She had spunk, beauty, brains and moxie. She was also a fantastic English cook. The book was short but enjoyable and I certainly who recommend the author to anyone.
Dennis A.
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent Classic Cozy Mystery

The Birthday Mystery is everything I want in a classic cozy mystery. Faith Martin proves that she has an ability to write in the tradition of Agatha Christie yet with a modern flair. Her amateur detective, Jenny Starling, is a great character I cared about and can't to find out more about. She is cook who is hired in wealthy circles, due to her culinary skills and like Miss Marple with her knitting, Jenny sometimes cooks to get her thoughts in order. I love a
LJ (On The Shelf Reviews)
Jenny Starling is a famous, or should I say infamous, travelling cook. She’s invited to The Beeches, a beautiful country house, to cater the 21st birthday of twin Alicia and Justin Greer but before she arrives the body of young gardener Jimmy Speight is found dead in a pond in the grounds of the house.

It’s ruled an accident but Jenny has her doubts especially as one of the guest falls down dead and another is taken ill during the birthday party.

Warned not to meddle by the police Jenny can’t
Misfits farm
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jenny Sparrow arrives at a country manor to cater for a joint birthday party. She has a sense that something isn’t quite right and is told that there has been a death. On looking out of the window she sees a body being pulled from the lake. She is catering for the twins of the owners of the house. Both rather spoilt and wanting their own way. Jenny soon finds more than cooking gossip in the kitchen.When one of the guests falls down dead in the middle of the party it is rather a mystery as to who ...more
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was sad to say goodbye to Faith Martin's Hillary Greene in Hillary's Final Case. The Birthday Mystery introduces a new character Jenny Starling, so I didn't also have to say goodbye to an author whose writing I enjoy. Jenny is a traveling cook who has been hired to cater and an extravagant 21st birthday party for twins Alicia and Justin. When Jenny arrives, the police are swarming the property as a young man has been found dead. Was it an accident or murder and could there be a connection to ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Birthdays Can Be Murder 1 4 Aug 16, 2012 05:37PM  

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Joyce Cato is a pen name of English author Jacquie Walton. She also writes under the pen names Jessie Daniels, Faith Martin and Maxine Barry.

Other books in the series

Jenny Starling (7 books)
  • The Winter Mystery (Jenny Starling, #2)
  • The Riverboat Mystery (Jenny Starling, #3)
  • The Castle Mystery (Jenny Starling, #4)
  • The Oxford Mystery (Jenny Starling, #5)
  • The Teatime Mystery (Jenny Starling, #6)
  • The Country Inn Mystery (Jenny Starling, #7)
“pear and Camembert tarts,” 0 likes
“Aware that she was being less than tactful, she stopped talking. ‘Oh dear,’ she said. They really were still in the dark.” 0 likes
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