Born Jacquie Walton in Oxford, Faith Martin is now an English author for almost thirty years and has sold over two million books to readers around the world. Before becoming a writer, Faith Martin trained as a secretary. She then worked at Somerville College of Oxford University for six years. When her parents found themselves involved in a serious car accident, Faith Martin left her job to take care of them. She took this opportunity to try to write a novel. She first wrote romance novels under the pen name Maxine Barry.
She switched to cozy mystery a few years later, publishing under the names Jessie Daniels and Joyce Cato. It was under the name Faith Martin that she published her popular series starring Detective Inspector Hillary Greene. A few years ago, Faith Martin launched the Ryder & Loveday Mystery Series, Set in the city of Oxford in the 1960s.
How to read Faith Martin’s Books in Order?
Reading DI Hillary Greene Series in Order
Set in Oxfordshire, this series follows DI Hillary Greene, a member of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) who works out of Thames Valley Police headquarters in Kidlington. DI Hillary Greene mostly investigates crimes in the towns and villages in the north of Oxfordshire. For more details, visit our article dedicated to the DI Hillary Greene series.
- Murder on the Oxford Canal (A Narrow Escape) (2004)
- Murder at the University (On the Straight and Narrow) (2005)
- Murder of the Bride (Narrow is the Way) (2006)
- Murder in the Village (By a Narrow Majority) (2006)
- Murder in the Family (Through a Narrow Door) (2007)
- Murder at Home (With a Narrow Blade) (2007)
- Murder in the Meadow (Beside a Narrow Stream) (2008)
- Murder in the Mansion (Down a Narrow Path) (2008)
- Murder in the Garden (Across the Narrow Blue Line) (2009)
- Murder by Fire (A Narrow Point of View) (2010)
- Murder at Work (A Narrow Exit) (2011)
- Murder Never Retires (A Narrow Return) (2012)
- Murder of a Lover (A Narrow Margin of Error) (2013)
- Murder Never Misses (Walk a Narrow Mile) (2013)
- Murder at Midnight (A Narrow Victory) (2015)
- Murder in Mind (The Work of a Narrow Mind) (2015)
- Hillary’s Final Case (A Narrow Trajectory) (2016)
- Hillary’s Back (2020)
- Murder Now and Then (2021)
- Murder in the Parish (2023)
The Jenny Starling Series in Order
Originally published under Faith Martin’s pen name Joyce Cato.
- The Birthday Mystery (Birthdays Can Be Murder) (2010) – 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 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.
- The Winter Mystery (A Fatal Fall of Snow) (2011) – Jenny Starling is spending Christmas in a snowed-in country house cooking all the traditional food she loves. But the family she’s working for are not full of the seasonal spirit. In fact, they seem to hate each other. On Christmas Eve, someone is found dead on the kitchen table. And the head of the family is blaming Jenny! But with an incompetent detective called in, and seemingly no motive for the murder, Jenny will have to give the police a hand. She will stop at nothing to clear her name and find the real murderer.
- The Riverboat Mystery (Dying for a Cruise) (2012) – Jenny Starling has a job on a luxury paddle steamer working for a wealthy businessman. All she has to do is cook for his small number of guests. But things quickly turn sour. Then she discovers the body of one of the passengers in the store cupboard. Who wanted him dead and why? Jenny will have to ignore many red herrings and follow the clues to get to the bottom of a complex and intriguing murder mystery. This is the third 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
- The Castle Mystery (The Invisible Murder) (2012) – Jenny Starling has her dream job cooking for Lord and Lady Avonsleigh in a genuine castle. Then one of the castle’s treasures, a fabulously jewelled dagger, is used to murder a staff member. The victim is found stabbed through the heart in the conservatory. Lady Avonsleigh insists that Jenny help the police find the murderer. But how can Jenny solve this case when the murder was committed in front of several reliable witnesses, none of whom saw a thing?
- The Oxford Mystery (Deadly Stuff) (2014) – 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 Teatime Mystery (Just Not Cricket) (2015) – Jenny Starling is doing the catering for the village cricket match. But she’s not expecting one of the players to turn up dead. Everyone from the village has turned out to watch the match, and with this being the club’s centenary, Jenny Starling has been hired specially to provide her stunning food for the event. Then the next man up to bat, Tristan Jones, is nowhere to be found. He is discovered behind the pavilion, murdered by a blow to the back of the head with an old cricket bat. The handsome twenty-something had a reputation as a Lothario, with an appetite for married women. Did a scorned woman or a cuckolded husband kill him? However, he’d annoyed other people too. He was a stockbroker who took big risks with other people’s money and lost their lifesaving. Soon another body turns up and Jenny Starling is going to need all her cunning to crack this complex case.
- The Country Inn Mystery (2019) – Jenny Starling is working at The Spindlewood Inn for the weekend. It’s hosting a Regency Extravaganza, involving historical costume, amateur dramatics and food. Leading actress of the amateur dramatic society and reputed man-eater Rachel Norman portrays a doomed noblewoman. But when she turns up actually drowned in the pond, there’s suddenly a murder to investigate. There’s been plenty of trouble at the idyllic country inn. The performers weren’t a happy troupe, and Jenny discovers a simmering romantic tension. Who wanted Rachel dead and why? Jenny Starling is going to need all her wits to crack this complex case.
The Monica Noble Series in Order
Originally published under Faith Martin’s pen name Joyce Cato.
- The Vicarage Murder (An Unholy Mess) (2015) – Monica Noble is throwing a party to welcome the village’s new residents. The guests include Margaret and her cheating husband Sean. Also on the list are a celebrity chef, an Oxford university professor, a 40-something divorcee, and the owner of a chain of gyms. Then as the drinks are flowing, a shotgun blast rings out. One of the guests is found dead. DCI Dury and Sergeant Jim Greer are soon on the scene and discover that the victim had many enemies. Almost all the guests harbour secrets and motives for murder. Even Monica’s daughter comes under suspicion. When another villager is strangled to death nearly a week later, the stakes are raised. Can Monica help the local detectives save her daughter and solve the murders before anyone else pays the ultimate price?
- The Flower Show Murder (An Unholy Whiff of Death) (2015) – Monica Noble is thrilled to be asked to judge a neighbouring village’s flower show, even if she can’t tell a begonia from an azalea! Her fellow judge Vicar James Davies inhales deeply from a large bloom and drops dead in the tent. At first everyone thinks he’s had a heart attack, but the doctor on hand is suspicious and calls in the police. A second murder quickly follows, this time of one of the main suspects. Monica must help Chief Inspector Jason Dury to solve the two murders and find the killer – fast, before anyone else pays the ultimate price.
- The Manor House Murder (An Unholy Shame) (2016) – Monica Noble and her husband Graham, the local vicar, are invited to participate in a high-flying church conference being held at a swanky manor house hotel in their village. At the Saturday night dinner, the ambitious female cleric Celia Gordon tragically dies, seemingly of a peanut allergy. But when Chief Superintendent Jason Dury arrives on the scene he quickly discovers that it’s a case of murder. And Monica’s husband is the prime suspect. But if Monica is to find out who killed Celia, and free her husband from suspicion, she must grapple with a very ruthless – and increasingly desperate – killer, putting herself and those around her in mortal danger.
Ryder & Loveday Mystery Series in Order
Everything starts with the introduction of Probationary WPC Trudy Loveday – smart, enthusiastic, and always underestimated – who’s assigned to help coroner Clement Ryder. Together, they formed a new team of investigators to solve thrilling mysteries. For more details, go to our guide to the Ryder & Loveday Mystery Series.
- A Fatal Obsession (2018)
- A Fatal Mistake (2018)
- A Fatal Flaw (2019)
- A Fatal Secret (2019)
- A Fatal Truth (2020)
- A Fatal Affair (2021)
- A Fatal Night (2021)
- A Fatal End (2022)
Reading the Standalone Novels by Faith Martin
- The Lavender Lady (2017, Originally published under Faith Martin’s pen name Jessie Daniels.) – Newly widowed Effie James is asked by her old friend Duncan, a psychology professor, to help him with his latest book. Her task is to join the C-Fits, a paranormal investigation team, on their ghost-watching vigils and report back to Duncan. Corwin Fielding, the attractive and erudite leader of the paranormal researchers has no objections to an ‘impartial’ observer on his team, and the others in the group are a friendly and welcoming bunch. The C-Fits are called in by Isabel Atkins. She is worried that her recently deceased mother might be haunting her old family home. Effie quickly finds herself thrown in at the deep end. But Effie comes to suspect that the old lady might not have died of natural causes after all. And that her killer might not take very kindly to the idea of a group of strangers poking their noses in…
- Murder by Candlelight (2024) – The Cotswolds, 1924. At the Old Forge in the quiet village of Maybury-in-the-Marsh a cry of anguish rings out: lady of the house Amy Phelps has been discovered dead. But with all the windows and doors to her room locked from inside, how – and by whom – was she killed? Arbuthnot ‘Arbie’ Swift finds himself in the unlikely position of detective. The celebrated author of The Gentleman’s Guide to Ghost-Hunting is staying at the Old Forge to investigate a suspected spectre, but now the more pressing matter of Amy’s murder falls to him too. With old friend Val, he soon uncovers a sorry tale of altered wills, secret love affairs and tragic losses – and plenty of motives for murder. When events take another sinister turn, Arbie must find the killer, fast. And to do so will mean cracking a most perfectly plotted crime…
Books written by Faith Martin under the name Maxine Barry
- Stolen Fire (1993)
- Fire and Ice (1996)
- Caribbean Flame (1996)
- An Oxford Secret (The Jewelled Web) (1996)
- Destinies (1997)
- Resolutions (1997)
- An Oxford Enemy (Dear Enemy) (1997)
- Forbidden Desire (Dark Desire) (1998)
- An Oxford Revenge (Moth to the Flame) (1999)
- An Oxford Inheritance (The Windrush Affairs) (2001)
- An Oxford Fraud (Altered Images) (2001)
- An Oxford Scandal (Melting the Iceman) (2001)
- Imposters in Paradise (2002)
- The Lying Game (2006)
- Heart of Fire (2006)
- Hidden Rainbows (2006)
- Island Daze (2008)
- An Oxford Trial (River Deep) (2009)
- An Oxford Suspect (A Matter of Trust) (2012)
- His Last Gamble (2012)