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By the author of the Hilda Johansson mysteries.
What is the Dorothy Martin series about?
Coming from the American author Jeane M. Dams, the Dorothy Martin series is a cozy murder mystery series
In 1995, she published her first novel, The Body in the Transept, which won the Agatha Award for First Novel and introduced the character of amateur detective Dorothy Martin, an American schoolteacher who, upon retirement, moved to England, to the small town of Sherebury, in southeast England
As she’s acclimating to her new life, Dorothy found a dead body, and that will not be the last tragedy that this amateur detective encounters throughout the 25 books of the series.
How to read the Dorothy Martin Books in Order?
Every book in the Dorothy Martin series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- The Body in the Transept (1995)
- Trouble in the Town Hall (1996)
- Holy Terror in the Hebrides (1997)
- Malice in Miniature (1998)
- The Victim in Victoria Station (1999)
- Killing Cassidy (2000)
- To Perish in Penzance (2001)
- Sins Out of School (2003)
- Winter of Discontent (2004)
- A Dark and Stormy Night (2011)
- The Evil That Men Do (2012)
- The Corpse of St James’s (2012)
- Murder at The Castle (2013)
- Shadows of Death (2013)
- Day of Vengeance (2014)
- The Gentle Art of Murder (2015)
- Blood Will Tell (2016)
- Smile and Be a Villain (2016)
- The Missing Masterpiece (2017)
- Crisis at the Cathedral (2018)
- A Dagger Before Me (2019)
- Death in the Garden City (2019)
- Death Comes to Durham (2020)
- The Bath Conspiracy (2021)
- A Deadly Web (2022)
What is the plot of the Dorothy Martin books?
For more information about the novels in the Dorothy Martin series by Jeanne M. Dams, you’ll find below the official synopsis for all the books:
The Body in the Transept (1995) – It’s Christmas Eve in the small town of Sherebury. Dorothy Martin, a recently widowed American, is having her first Christmas in England. But as she leaves the cathedral’s midnight mass, she literally stumbles over a dead body — and it’s one of the priests, Canon Billings. He wasn’t very popular and the list of suspects includes most of the town. But Dorothy doesn’t give up easily when it comes to finding out the truth. Of course, she does get to meet Chief Constable Alan Nesbitt, and a good mystery on a chilly English night does have some appeal.
Trouble in the Town Hall (1996) – Dorothy Martin is still learning her way around the charming English cathedral town that she moved to a year ago from America. But she recognizes a dead body when she sees one. The historic town hall is closed with its future hanging in the balance. Dorothy is visiting when the cleaner finds the dead body of a young man in a closet. Her passion for mysteries is as hot as ever, of course. Despite warnings from her dear friend Chief Constable Alan Nesbitt not to get in the way of the official investigation, Dorothy simply can’t resist taking a look around.
Holy Terror in the Hebrides (1997) – A peaceful stay on the charming Scottish island of Iona sounds perfect to sometime sleuth Dorothy Martin. But trouble always follows Dorothy. Thrown in with a bickering American church tour, she tries to keep her distance. Then one of the group, a man everyone disliked, falls to his death from a cliff at the legendary Fingal’s Cave. Dorothy is the only witness. She notices a small clue that the police dismiss, one that makes her believe the death was murder. The police close the case but Dorothy feels bound to investigate. But it’s a choice she may regret . . . and now a hurricane is coming in.
Malice in Miniature (1998) – Dorothy and her new husband are interrupted one cold November afternoon by Ada Finch. Ada’s son Bob is Dorothy’s gardener. Bob has been arrested for stealing a seventeenth-century tea set created for a doll’s house at the grand English country house, Brockelsby Hall. The Hall is the home of the Museum of Miniatures, a spectacular collection of doll’s houses assembled by eccentric aristocrat Sir Mordred Brocklesby.
The Victim in Victoria Station (1999) – Dorothy falls into a conversation with a young man on the train to London. But by the time the train rolls into Victoria Station, he is dead. A helpful doctor says he will take care of the aftermath. The next day Dorothy checks all the newspapers. But there is no mention of the young man’s death in any of them. She makes inquiries with the police but draws a blank there too. But Dorothy isn’t someone who gives up easily. Who was the murdered man and why was he killed?
Killing Cassidy (2000) – Dorothy returns to Hillsburg, Indiana, to claim a small inheritance from an old friend, Kevin Cassidy. But Kevin also left her a letter. It says if he dies, it must have been murder. Someone was trying to kill him. An absurd idea? Cassidy was 96 years old and succumbed to pneumonia. But Dorothy knows about innocent facades, as does her husband, Alan, now retired from the police force. No one believes this was murder, but Dorothy won’t let her old friend down. She will get to the bottom of this baffling mystery.
To Perish in Penzance (2001) – Penzance 1968: She was about twenty, with long blond hair, and her body was found a few days after she fell from the cliffs to her death on the rocks below. The action of the water and sea life made circulating a picture of her impossible, but even with a description, no one identified her. No one reported a young woman missing from any of the nearby villages. All the police knew was her approximate age, that she’d had a child a few months before she died, and that she weighed only about ninety pounds. The cliff was miles from anywhere. Her death is a mystery that’s haunted Alan ever since. It was his first murder case as a young detective. So Dorothy and Alan head down to picturesque Penzance. Dorothy is going to get to the bottom of the mystery for Alan…
Sins Out of School (2003) – Dorothy decides to throw a traditional American Thanksgiving in her English home. She’s going to pull out all the stops, with three days of preparation. But then former schoolteacher Dorothy gets a call to help out for a day at the local school. Mrs Doyle has gone missing and the usual substitutes are down with the flu. Then as she awaits the arrival of her guests, Dorothy gets another call: Could she look after Mrs Doyle’s nine-year-old daughter, Miriam? The child’s father has been murdered. This certainly wasn’t part of the festive plan. What’s going on behind the victim’s veneer of respectability? Dorothy wants answers.
Winter of Discontent (2004) – Dorothy Martin’s neighbor and closest friend, Jane Langland, has been having a fling with Bill Fanshawe–or, as much of a fling as two 80-year olds in a small town are allowed. Now there are rumors that Jane and Bill may move in together, and Dorothy needs to know exactly what’s happening. What neither woman expects is that Bill is missing, and that within a day his body is going to be discovered in the tunnel under the Sherebury town museum.
A Dark and Stormy Night (2011) – Dorothy and her husband are invited by friends to Branston Abbey for a country house weekend. Thirteen other guests she hardly knows. A rambling Tudor mansion, full of secrets. What could possibly go wrong? A lovely dinner is just getting into its stride when a huge storm rolls in. The lights go out. And with no electricity or phone service, and cut off by flood waters, Dorothy feels like she’s stuck in an Agatha Christie mystery. A guest is found unconscious, another disappears, and there’s a horrifying discovery in one of the bedrooms.
The Evil That Men Do (2012) – Dorothy Martin and her husband Alan escape to the Cotswolds for a peaceful few days away. They are headed for Broadway, a chocolate-box-pretty village where nothing ever happens. Until now. Out strolling in the hills, the couple stumble across a body. The dead man is lying at the bottom of a disused quarry. But did he fall or was he pushed?
The Corpse of St James’s (2012) – Dorothy Martin can scarcely believe her luck when she and her husband Alan are invited to Buckingham Palace. Their plucky friend, retired Chief Inspector Jonathan Quinn, is being awarded the George Cross. Dorothy dusts off her best hat for the occasion. But nothing could prepare her for what lies ahead. Strolling round St James’s Park, the trio stumble on the body of young girl. Bundled under a bush.
Murder at The Castle (2013) – The North Wales Music Festival is coming. And Dorothy Martin wouldn’t miss it for the world. She can’t resist the bill of heavenly music or the venue of Flint Castle, a beautiful ancient fortification in the Welsh countryside. Rehearsals are barely underway when tragedy strikes, and one of the singers falls to her death before Dorothy’s eyes. Her soaring solo turns to a terrified scream. Who pushed her? Amateur detective Dorothy won’t stop till she’s found the perpetrator.
Shadows of Death (2013) – Dorothy Martin never wanted to visit the Orkney Islands. But her husband Alan is dying to go. And once they arrive it’s love at first sight for Dorothy. Stone circles, rugged cliffs and rolling hills — the Orkneys have it all. No wonder blustering outlander Henry Carter has his eye on the place. He is bankrolling a dig in the area, out of more than just casual curiosity. There’s treasure buried under the Orkneys. And he will be the one to claim it all. Except that someone on the island has other ideas… Carter turns up dead, crushed by a stone wall on his own dig site.
Day of Vengeance (2014) – After decades on the job, Sherebury’s doddery old bishop is retiring and must be replaced. Four candidates are now vying for the post. Who will be the last man standing? It’s up to Alan and his fellow committee members to decide. Then one of the hopefuls turns up bludgeoned to death in a secluded side chapel. Someone will stop at nothing to win the race . . . To Dorothy’s horror, suspicion falls on Alan himself.
The Gentle Art of Murder (2015) – Wolfson Art College is opening its doors for one night only. Dorothy Martin will be there, rubbing shoulders with teachers, students and bohemians. The occasion? Gillian Roberts is joining the faculty. And there’s nothing this gifted young sculptress can’t do with a chisel. All eyes ought to be on her. But then her loathsome boss turns up dead.
Blood Will Tell (2016) – Dorothy Martin’s instincts have never failed her yet. Until now — here in St Stephen’s College, Cambridge. The place is a maze of halls and walls and doors. Dorothy should be able to find her way out. Instead, she must admit to being hopelessly lost. Panic rising in her chest, she reaches for any door handle she can grasp. She stumbles into a lab. But she’s not alone. A flash of white coat, slipping through the exit. A pool of blood at her feet. Dorothy races from the scene. Minutes later, she returns with help — but the floor has already been scrubbed clean. Did she just witness the ultimate crime?
Smile and Be a Villain (2016) – What could be better than a fortnight’s break on the tiny old-fashioned Channel Island of Alderney? Dorothy and her husband are looking forward to a lovely peaceful vacation on the picturesque little island. But it’s not to be. Out on a twisty cliff-top walk, Dorothy spots something that changes everything. A body, lying broken on the rocks below. All of Dorothy’s instincts tell her there’s more to this death, and this victim, than meets the eye — and that her vacation is going to have to wait.
The Missing Masterpiece (2017) – Dark dealings are afoot within the ancient walls of Mont-Saint-Michel, France. One tourist is missing. Another strayed onto dangerous ground — quicksand — and barely escaped with her life. And the streets are abuzz with strange rumors. Everyone is saying there’s a priceless medieval manuscript to be found here. A rare prize for whoever lays hands on it first. Could everything that’s happening be traced back to this book? If anyone can piece it all together, it’s plucky Dorothy Martin. She is sojourning on the Mont and never could resist a mystery. But is her snooping about to lead her into mortal danger?
Crisis at the Cathedral (2018) – Dorothy and Alan are showing around the wealthy Ahmad family, visiting from Iraq. Then Mr and Mrs Ahmad disappear without trace, leaving their children asleep in the local inn. Dorothy feels compelled to find out what’s happened to them. Her search for the truth will lead her down a dark and dangerous path to London and straight into the murky world of big business and politics. Can Dorothy and her husband find out what happened to their new friends before it’s too late?
A Dagger Before Me (2019) – Dorothy and Alan are invited to be godparents of the newest member of the aristocratic Montcalm family. But when they get to rural Suffolk for the event, they find the ceremonial dagger used in family christenings for generations has disappeared. Sir Edwin Montcalm and his stunning Canadian wife Judith ask Dorothy and Alan to help hunt for the ancient heirloom. But it’s nowhere to be found in Dunham Manor. Then a woman is murdered in the village. Stabbed in the back with the ornate dagger. And Sir Edwin is the prime suspect . . .
Death in the Garden City (2019) – Lady Judith Montcalm calls on Dorothy and Alan to help solve a series of petty crimes perplexing the local Mounties in the picturesque city of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Poisonous plants are stolen from the stunning Butchart Gardens and hawks are wreaking havoc with the locals’ chickens. Dorothy and Alan immediately jump on a plane to British Columbia and settle themselves into the heart of the community. But before Dorothy can piece it all together, the petty crimes turn deadly.
Death Comes to Durham (2020) – Dorothy and Alan visit their old friend David Tregarth in Durham. Their days are filled with castle tours, cathedral services, and wandering up and down the steep cobbled lanes. That is until David’s elderly great aunt is accused of murdering a fellow patient at her nursing home. And with her faltering memory, she’s the perfect scapegoat. When a second patient is attacked, Dorothy is determined to prove Aunt Amanda’s innocence. But how can Dorothy clear an elderly woman of murder when she can’t remember if she did it or not?
The Bath Conspiracy (2021) – Alan and Dorothy are in the beautiful historic city of Bath to celebrate Dorothy’s birthday, enjoying the city’s elegant surroundings, sightseeing, shopping – and champagne. But the celebrations are curtailed when they discover a curious assortment of loot in their car boot during a trip to Stonehenge – from precious artefacts to cheap jumble sale trinkets. The stolen items are linked to various historic sites in Bath, but how did they end up in the Martins’ car? As Dorothy and Alan seek to prove their innocence and catch a thief, they are soon swept into a conspiracy that runs much deeper and darker . . .
A Deadly Web (2022) – Dorothy Martin is more than capable of dozing during a raging storm in her snug house in Sherebury, but the loud ping of an unexpected text on her husband Alan’s phone quickly wakes her up. Alan’s unofficial great-niece, Lucy Bowman, is coming over from the States for a conference. When Lucy arrives, she gushes about her fiancé, Iain. But Alan makes a disturbing discovery about Lucy’s engagement ring, and no sooner has Iain set foot on UK soil when he’s the victim of a mysterious hit-and-run. Was it an accident, or murder?
What should you read if you like the Dorothy Martin novels?
If you like reading Jeanne M. Dams’s Dorothy Martin stories, you may be interested in the Alex Duggins series, Agatha Christie’s books, Betty Rowlands’s, or M.C. Beaton’s.