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Library - Highlights

Posted on: December 16, 2019

Cook Up Some Fun with a Culinary Mystery

Chopping Spree Book Cover

Good books and good food can go hand in hand, particularly during the holiday season, and books that mesh the two together have created a niche in the  mystery genre that continues to be popular at your Abilene Public Library.  I’m referring to culinary mysteries where authors not only provide you with a mystery to read, but sprinkled throughout the series are great recipes you can try.  So if you love to read cozy mysteries and you love to cook tasty foods, you might want to try out some of these leading culinary mystery authors at your library.

Whole Enchilada Book CoverFirst off, one of the most well-known authors is Diane Mott Davidson.  Using the theme of food in all her stories, the idea of which she reportedly got from the late bestselling author Robert B. Parker, she created the character of Goldy Schulz.  Goldy is a caterer in Colorado who just so happens to solve murders in her spare time.  Having begun this series in 1990 with the release of Catering to Nobody, 16 additions to the series have been added, many containing clever titles such as Sticks and Scones, Chopping Spree, Dark Tort, and more.  Throughout each of the books, while Goldy is off solving a murder, you’ll see her catering skills put to good use as she shares about 10 delicious recipes with her readers, which she serves over the course of the story.  For instance, in The Whole Enchilada, the first recipe shared is for Enchiladas Suizas, and you can learn to make them yourself from start to finish.

Joanne Fluke is another bestselling author known for adding recipes to her mystery reads.  Collectively writing in the “Hannah Swensen Mysteries,” Fluke started in 2000 with the release of Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, which was made into a Hallmark Channel TV movie starring Alison Sweeney and Cameron Mathison.  That was also the beginning of an entire series under the name “Murder, She Baked:” with plotlines coming from other Fluke titles. Each of the books is named for another delicious dessert, and “murder” at the end, and Hanna is also a caterer who happens to solve crimes.  Known for their comedy and endings, there is also a little romance mixed in too, and just like before, you’ll find many an interesting recipe that Hannah highlights in each book.

Strawberry Shortcake Murder Book CoverPrimarily focusing on dessert items, some of the great recipes you’ll learn to make include Aggression Cookies, featured in Apple Turnover Murder, Big Soft Chewy Molasses Cookies from Devil’s Food Cake Murder, Easy Cheesy Biscuits from Plum Pudding Murder, Hawaiian Flan from Strawberry Shortcake Murder, and many others.  Now, if you can make it through the books without stopping because you feel the need to try out one of the recipes first, then good for you.

Lou Jane Temple pens cozy mysteries about Kansas City BBQ Queen and restaurateur Heaven Lee, who can’t seem to stay out of trouble as she’s going about her daily life.  With titles like Death by Rhubarb, Bread on Arrival and “Red Beans and Vice,” these spicy mysteries are lots of fun to read.  She also has two more mysteries in the “Spice Box” series which features a spice box and its travels through time and cooks, each with a mystery to solve.

These are but three of the authors penning culinary mystery series, and they provide a nice alternative for those who love to cook/bake, but also like a nice cozy mystery read that’s not too intense.  There are other cozy culinary mystery writers out there as well. Plus, you can also take it a step further and check out cookbooks inspired from popular series such as the one for Jan Karon’s “Mitford” series, Patricia Cornwell’s “Kay Scarpetta” series, and more. 

Don’t miss out on these cozy reads at your Abilene Public Library and hop on the culinary mystery train.  The recipes inside are very enticing and should make nice additions to your meal selections, plus you’ll get a great story out of it too.  If you’re ever looking for more suggestions, speak with library staff and we’ll be more than happy to help you find that perfect book.

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