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Book titled The Gentle Art of Murder

Confession time again: Iíve been too busy researching and writing books to get back to my website. Iím between books at the moment, so this is a good time to catch up

My latest book, The Gentle Art Of Murder, has been out for a while in England and is just out in America as of this writing, April 2015. It draws on my experiences working in the fine arts department at a local campus of Indiana University. Iíve been privileged to know quite a few extremely talented artists, and I must assure you that none of them resembles in the least any of the characters in the book! They were a big help with the technicalities, though.

Booklist likes the book, saying "DamsÖis a talented storytellerÖthe Dorothy Martin books are always entertaining and satisfying, and they have the distinct advantage of appealing to both cozy fans who favor classic golden-age mysteries in the Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers mold (though contemporary, the Martin novels have the feel of mid-twentieth-century whodunits) and readers who like the modern version, by such authors as Susan Wittig Albert and M. C. Beaton." Of course Iím delighted to find myself in such exalted company!

I mentioned in my last note to you all that I planned another visit abroad. Well, that happened last summer. In one rather frantic month I spent a little over a week in Cambridge, England and then went on to the Channel Islands and Normandy. I thoroughly enjoyed Cambridge, which I knew a bit from former visits, though I was mightily disappointed to discover that the famed college choirs were on vacation. I had dreamed of hearing Kingís College again.

I just finished a book set at a fictitious college in Cambridge; itís called Blood Will Tell and will be out by the end of 2015. The photo at right is punting on the River Cam.

This summer Iím excited to be returning to Alderney, the smallest of the principal Channel Islands, where Iím going to set my next book. Itís a fascinating and lovely place with a rich history and delightful people whom I hope to get to know better.

photo of boats in the harbor at Alderney

I already have the plot for that one sketched out in my head, or I think I do. My characters often let me know that I had it all wrong. The beautiful harbor at Alderney is shown in the photo at left.

Then the second book of my current contract will be set in Normandy. I discovered many things about that legendary part of France last summer, not the least of which was that the residents were prepared to be patient with my French, which was even less adequate than I had feared it would be. With the help of a phrase book I was able to get along fairly well, particularly since I was in touristy places where most hoteliers and restaurateurs spoke at least some English. A highlight of the trip was a visit to Mont-Saint-Michel, that magical island I last saw over fifty years ago, shown in the photo below.

photo of Mont Saint Michel

It hasnít changed much, though I have. The street (thereís only one, spiraling up and around from the medieval gate to the door of the Abbey) seems a good deal steeper than before, for one thing. But the whole trip was an experience I plan to have Dorothy replicate, perhaps without Alan, who speaks pretty good French. I think I want Dorothy to struggle as I did! I did not, however, discover a body, and Iím pretty sure Dorothy will.

I donít have anything much planned in the way of public appearances for the rest of this year, though I do intend to go to the Malice Domestic conference in Indianapolis in October if I can work around a date conflict.

Do keep in touch. I love to hear from you.

I like to call my books ďcheerful mysteries.Ē For despite all signs to the contrary, I continue to believe the world is a good place and most of her people are trying to do their best. So my books reflect that philosophy and I hope this site does, too.

Winner of the Agatha Award for Best First Novel (1995)

Fans of the English cozy will put the kettle on, snuggle under a lap rug, and sigh contentedly...” - Kirkus Reviews