Monday, January 25, 2016

Martine Bailey's "A Taste for Nightshade"

Martine Bailey’s A Taste for Nightshade, the follow-up to An Appetite for Violets, is a gastronomic mystery set in England, Australia and New Zealand in the 1790s. It is a thrilling historical novel that combines recipes, mystery and a dark struggle between two desperate women. Bailey lives in Chester, England and as an amateur cook, won the Merchant Gourmet Recipe Challenge and was a former UK Dessert Champion.

Here Bailey dreamcasts an adaptation of A Taste for Nightshade:
In my dream version I’d like to resurrect Alfred Hitchcock to direct my novel. I'm picturing the atmospheric sets he used for Rebecca and the way Hitch used food to drive his plots . I’ll never forget the illuminated glass of poisoned milk in Suspicion, or Marion Crane picking over her last sandwich in Psycho.

My flame-haired confidence trickster Mary is a talented cook, impersonator, and born survivor. I’d give her role to Myanna Buring, Edna in Downton Abbey and star of Banished and Ripper Street. Mary’s timid mistress is Grace Moore, warm-hearted and vulnerable Anna Maxwell-Martin (Death Comes to Pemberley, Bleak House). While writing I pictured Grace’s weak but handsome husband as a young James Fox. The other male lead is escaped convict Will, to be played by The Last Kingdom's Ragnar, Tobias Santelmann.

The main location is Delafosse Hall, based on a house in North Wales with forgotten tunnels, decaying summerhouse, tales of hopeless love and ghostly hauntings. My dark mystery also takes the reader to London’s Golden Square, the convict camps of Sydney, Australia, and Maori settlements of New Zealand.

The food needs to be highly crafted, from aphrodisiacs and poisons, to a tiny sugar four-poster bed for a wedding cake and a miniature baby and cradle. When writing the book I studied sugarwork with TV food historian Ivan Day, who created the food for Death Comes to Pemberley.

I’m sure Hitchcock would conjure the twisting staircases of Delafosse Hall, the snowbound winter rides, flickering candlelight and create edge-of-the-seat moments from the twists and revelations.
Visit Martine Bailey's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: An Appetite for Violets.

The Page 69 Test: An Appetite for Violets.

--Marshal Zeringue