Jenny Starling has a summer job cooking at a prestigious Oxford college. But she’s not expecting murder on the menu.
Then womanising taxidermy society president, Maurice Raines, is found with a knife in his neck in the dining hall. Everyone is in classes at the time of his death. So, frustratingly it seems they all have an alibi. However, there are many suspects, including Maurice’s wife and his lover. The college and police need Jenny’s help to solve this perplexing case. But can Jenny keep her concentration with a budding romance on the cards?
JENNY STARLING In her late twenties, Jenny Starling is an impressive woman. Physically, she stands at 6ft 1inch and has shoulder-length black hair and blue eyes. Curvaceous and sexy, she’s a modern single woman, living the lifestyle that suits her – that of a travelling cook. Her famous (and now very rich) father, is a ‘celebrity’ cook, divorced from Jenny’s mother. Jenny drives a disreputable cherry-red van and is happy travelling the country catering events and cooking great food. She is on a one-woman crusade to bring back ‘real’ food. And definitely doesn’t like having to divert her attention from achieving the perfect Dundee cake or creating a new sauce recipe by having to solve a murder. She finds crime very distracting, especially when there is chocolate to temper or pike to poach. Nevertheless, she is very good at reading people, and with a quick and agile brain, becomes very good at unmasking killers. And her always-undaunted sense of humour goes a long way in keeping her sane when all around her people are dropping like flies.
I received a copy of this book from Joffe Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A murder mystery in Oxford, and you automatically think of ‘Inspector Morse’, neither detective, in Faith Martin’s Oxford Mystery, are of this calibre, but thankfully for them, Jenny Starling, Cook, people watcher and amateur sleuth is.
The strange world of taxidermy is the theme for this mystery, a conference at Oxford during the Summer break, with a cast of quirky characters and a sinister crime ready to unfold.
Clues and misinformation are plentiful, and despite the gravity of the crime, there is a strong humorous streak in this story. Although the plot has the appearance of simplicity, it isn’t, and the actual murderer, although in plain sight is not easy to spot.
Jenny Starling remains an enigmatic presence and there is even a touch of romance for her in Oxford, but this is hinted act rather than explored.