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Publisher's Summary

Discover a new series of whodunits by million-selling author Faith Martin. You'll be gripped from the first second to the last. These classic-style mysteries will have you scratching your head to work out who the murderer is, and look out for some real twists and turns. 

Meet Jenny Starling: travelling cook and reluctant amateur detective. 

Jenny Starling is catering the 21st 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 party goes ahead. Then, just after midnight, everyone gathers for a champagne toast...and one of the guests falls down dead. The police are baffled, and there is a whole party full of suspects. 

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. 

Perfect for fans of classic whodunits by authors like Agatha Christie, LJ Ross, TE Kinsey and J. R. Ellis.

Please note this book was first published as Birthdays Can Be Murder under Faith Martin’s pen name, Joyce Cato.

©2019 Faith Martin (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Birthday Mystery

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

VERY easy to guess the murderer and fat shaming

So this mess you could see a mile away. You know who it was 1/4 into it. Also, this author kept talking about how fat the main character was. I mean won’t shut up about it. Having to choice a steady chair for her size... and all of that. Really? According to the author she’s a size 18. I’m a size 16 and I don’t break any damn chairs. C’mon.
This author needs to about the sh*te of all plot not the size or the character.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The Birthday Mystery

This is the first mystery book I have read and thoroughly enjoyed the cooking and the way the murder was solved, with lots of guessing as the story unfolded. The narration was very good.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Too Many Points of View

This book was not bad, but I didn't think it was that good either.... the main issue I had with it was that it switched POV from one sentence to the next. Not one scene to the next, or one chapter to the next. You were literally in Person A's head for their thought/sentence, and then in Person B's head for their thoughts/sentence, and sometimes Person C would chime in, too. Too many POV's that didn't contribute to the story. I just didn't care for that type of storytelling.
Story on the whole was ok, a bit slow at times. I did not see "whodunnit" early on as others say they did (and I read a lot of mysteries). On the whole the book was a bit "meh" for me.

4 people found this helpful

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Great protagonist AWFUL writing

I actually liked the very beginning. The main character was a sexy sassy curvy cook who accidentally got involved in murder mystery. What’s not to like? I don’t expect a really high standard from murder mystery novels, but I expect better than this. The head hopping I can forgive. I could have even forgiven the repetition if everything else would have been well written, but it wasn’t. The descriptions were too over the top. I got sick of the cook being described as Junoesque and sexy all the time (we get it) and all the characters seemed to have the same facial expressions over and over again. They all seem to need emotion regulation therapy too, because they were all over the place.
I got really sick of how everyone was adoring everyone else too (especially the main character)
Then there was the main character who seemed to be more psychic than sleuth. She managed to make deductions about people she barely knew with little to no evidence. It was just lazy writing all round. The motive for the killer was nothing short of ridiculous. There are plenty of good murder mysteries around, go read those. This one is annoying and badly written. The narrator is really good, so that’s at least a positive

2 people found this helpful

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Easy

Classic English murder mystery. Lots of suspects, evidence and theories. Wasn't fooled, figured out the murderer from an old Perry Mason episode. Putting the pieces together from there figured out motive, a bit more tricky but obvious. Love Faith Martin books, well written and always a challenge.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Fat-shaming…ugh

The author just can’t stop referring to the main character’s generous physique. It gets old really fast. I had high hopes because the author seems empathetic in her other series. Not here. And the writing itself is often trite and sophomoric, as if this was written on autopilot. Overall, shallow in more ways than one.

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Interesting mystery

I started this book today and I couldn't stop listening. I really liked the story and the characters. I listened to the Audible book and it was very interesting.

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  • K
  • 06-11-21

Overall I give this book 4 stars because it was a

good listen but I give the story 3 stars because the killer was obvious pretty early on.

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  • EGM
  • 07-01-20

Poorly written self-insertion (aka a Mary Sue).

I honestly think this novel is in the wrong category, there's nothing here to appeal to the whodunnit lover. The protagonist spends much more time glorifying the lifestyle of the rich and worthless or magically guessing their thoughts, motivations and personalities on first sight than trying to solve the mystery. And when she gets around to thinking about the case, she spends so much time reflecting on painfully obvious red herrings I almost died from boredom. On top of that, I'm not sure which recurring feature I find the most irritating: how every 30 seconds someone cannot help being attracted to the beautiful Jenny in spite of her weight (the author's internalised fatphobia is almost too ridiculous to bear); how every 30 seconds someone is left in awe of her massive intellect for finally abandoning a red herring and making an obvious deduction; or how much time the author spends describing how beautiful her characters are in place of actually building them in any shape or form. Bad writing and lack of imagination through and through. Moving on.

10 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Hannah May
  • 03-11-20

Unlikable main character

The plot is o.k if rather unoriginal, but the characterisation is dire. The author seems to think that everyone is constantly lusting after everyone else from the moment they lay eyes on them and that being ‘fat’ is a personality trait. Miss Starling is sexy, wealthy, fat, a genius, a brilliant conversationalist, fat, patient, shrewd, a world class cook and oh did I mention that she’s fat? After half an hour I began to think that the author was working out a fetish.

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • mary Tunley
  • 02-06-20

Hmmmmm

Disappointing....... the narrator did a good job but the story was weak with a silly motive and outcome I was expecting better

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • TW
  • 12-25-20

Interesting outcome

I enjoyed the mystery but why the continual references to the cook being 'fat', someone over 6ft tall and a size 18 is nowhere near fat and I found this irritating and distracting.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda
  • 04-05-20

Acceptable if not spellbinding

Perfectly acceptable murder mystery read well. The statuesque Miss Starling wasn't a character that I particularly took to, but she was a sound enough character in a slightly hard to believe plot that appeared to be set in the present and yet was more suited to the 1930's. The detective content was particularly colourless. Having said that it really was a reasonable enough listen and as I am rather desperate for new detective series at the moment good enough that I will probably download book 2.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sandy
  • 01-08-20

Brilliant!

Murder mystery Miss Marple style with a touch of Midsummer Murders.
Loved it
Must listen.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Swailes from Wales
  • 06-11-20

narrator has soothing voice

was ok... main character is weirdly smug. not sure why they kept going on about her size and how sext she either like its news to have a larger woman that is still attractive

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. Simon Ridley
  • 01-17-20

a bit drawn out

good characters. story too drawn out with over use of description. not sure I will read any more in the series

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-13-20

good book

a new series by Faith martin it is a good way forward for the next series

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sue
  • 11-24-21

I've listened to worse

and I've also listened to better. Not a bad yarn I suppose, trouble is compared to the Grice mystery's read by Emma Gregory there truly is no comparison.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-14-21

It was worth the listen

A little slow to start with but picked up nicely once the deeds were done. The story is different to the usual murder mysteries and narration was excellent.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Shae
  • 07-17-20

needs more character development

the narration was good and the story was fine but none of the characters seemed believable and I didn't like the main character