The detective is one of the most popular genres of modern literature. And it has a pond of exciting sub-genres. There are among them delightful hermetic detectives, whose events take place in a confined space, mystical, spy, historical and even ironic detectives. Today we offer our readers a selection of books of the “culinary detective” sub-genre, in the plot of which a variety of food plays a key role.
A Pocket Full of Rye Agatha Christie
Ah, poison, tea and the English breakfast are an inseparable pair for a classic detective story! A number of key features can be seen in Christie’s books: the plots often describe different foods and drinks, and the crimes often involve poisoning by poisons added to food. There are similar elements in the Poirot and Miss Marple series. For example, in the novel A Pocket Full of Rye, Jane Marple investigates the death of a businessman sent to breakfast. It was the most common British breakfast: eggs, toast, chicken breast, coffee, and jam. How did the murderer disguise the bitterness of the poison, and why weren’t the other housemates poisoned? And most importantly, who and why decided to take the life of the deceased?
Too Many Cooks, Rex Stout
If you love the old-school masters of the detective genre, you’ve probably noticed a common trait among their most popular detectives. They are often sophisticated gourmets: Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot loved gourmet meals, and Rex Stout’s real gourmet was Nero Wolfe, whose investigations are devoted to a whole series of novels. When he was a spy, Nero almost died of starvation. When his life became a comfortable one, the detective grew fat and became a 120-pound container of ham, cream, and scrambled eggs. Not surprisingly, this glutton decided to go to a convention of top chefs. One of the chefs is murdered, and Niro immediately takes on the task of investigating the circumstances of the crime, while munching on sausages and other tasty dishes.
Raspberry Danish Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery), Joanne Fluke
Joanna Fishmann (known by her pen name “Fluke”) is considered one of the most popular authors of culinary detectives. She became famous for her series of books about Hannah Swensen, a charming baker who creates delightful desserts. The beauty has two favorite pastimes: baking and investigating crimes. The book series was inspired by the movie series “She Baked a Murder.” The series now has about 30 books. It starts with “Chocolate Cookies with a Murder Flavor,” but the most popular has been “Sweet Murder Danish,” in which Hannah solves crimes while baking tons of cookies in time for Thanksgiving.
The Poisoned Chocolates Case, Anthony Berkeley
In Britain, this novel by Berkeley is rightly included in the top 100 greatest detective books of all time. But our reader, alas, is not familiar with the work of this writer. And it’s a pity that to get a paper version of this example of the classics of the detective genre – another problem. The work itself is part of a series of adventure stories about Roger Sheringham and his friends from the club of literary and amateur detectives. All the honest company undertakes to investigate the mysterious death of a rich man’s wife, to whom an unknown spiteful person has sent a murderous tribute – candy with deadly poison.
The Crêpes of Wrath, A Pancake House Mystery, Sarah Fox
Sarah Fox has an interesting peculiarity: the titles of her works play on the titles of other famous books. For example, in The Crêpes of Wrath there is a reference to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. The next novel in the series, The Crimson Bread Rolls, is a reference to Sherlock Holmes (A Study in Crimson), although the original title (For Whom the Bread Rolls) refers to Hemingway’s iconic book For Whom the Bell Tolls. This novel is the first part of a series of books about an amateur sleuth named Marley McKinney. Marley once lived in bustling Seattle, where she worked diligently in a law office. But the hustle and bustle of the big city can get pretty tiring, and so can the challenging daily life of a lawyer. When her cousin is hospitalized, Marley moves to the country to help a relative by taking over the reins of his diner. To the girl’s horror, her cousin is soon found murdered. Who would have thought that a cozy diner with the scent of pancakes and syrup could be the epicenter of crime?
Enjoy these “delicious” books and tell us about your favorite culinary detectives.