Archive for June 19th, 2014

Mmm… Culinary Mysteries

Our theme for Summer Reading this year is “Literary Elements,” focusing on the idea that good books have just the right mixture of ingredients. It’s pretty obvious then that we should include a list of books with a cooking slant – most of which include recipes for creating your own perfect mix. The fact that the following are all mysteries adds a bit of spice – and after all, you can’t make an omelet without cracking a few eggs (whether those eggs deserve it or not is a different story).


Listed are the first book in each series:


An Appetite for Murder – Lucy Burdette

  • When her potential new boss at “Key Zest” magazine–Kristen Faulkner, the woman who stole her boyfriend–is murdered, aspiring food critic Hayley Snow becomes the prime suspect in the investigation and works to clear her name. (4 books in series)

Candy Apple Dead – Sammi Carter

  • When she is stood up by fellow merchant Brandon Mills, Abby Shaw, the owner of the Divinity Candy Shop, is shocked when he is found murdered and discovers a whole new and disturbing side to this man whom she thought she knew when she launches her own investigation. (5 books in series)

Carbs and Cadavers – J. B. Stanley

  • Professor James Henry joins a supper club for dieters when he becomes involved in solving a crime in his tight-knit Virginia community. (6 books in series)

A Catered Murder – Isis Crawford

  • When Libby and her sister Bernie cater a vampire-themed high school reunion in honor of bestselling author Laird Wrenn, they find themselves knee-deep in murder when Wrenn drops dead after dinner and Libby is accused of the crime. (9 books in series)

Catering to Nobody – Diane Mott Davidson

  • Catering a wake for her son’s teacher leads Goldy Bear into the detective business when rat poison turns up in her food and the police, except for investigator Tom Schulz, begin to treat her like a suspect. (17 books in series)

The Chocolate Cat Caper – Joanna Carl

  • After accepting a job supplying chocolate from her aunt’s luxury chocolate business to a party for unpopular defense attorney Clemintine Ripley, Lee McKinney takes on a new job as detective when someone adds cyanide to a chocolate confection eaten by the hostess. (13 books in series)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder – Joanne Fluke

  • Cookie-baking sleuth Hannah Swenson must protect her reputation when a popular delivery man is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah’s cookies scattered around him. (17 books in series)

Cookie Dough or Die – Virginia Lowell

  • Olivia Greyson finds her reputation and cookie shop in danger when she becomes the prime suspect in the murder investigation of her mentor, prominent business owner Clarisse Chamberlain, when it is revealed that Clarisse left her a large sum of money along with a collection of valuable antique cookie cutters. (4 books in series)

Crime Brulée – Nancy Fairbanks

  • Accompanying her husband to an academic conference in New Orleans, food writer Carolyn Blue decides to take the opportunity to write an article on Cajun cuisine, but her trip takes an unexpected turn when a friend mysteriously vanishes. (11 books in series)

Delicious and Suspicious – Riley Adams

  • When her family–the owners of Aunt Pat’s barbeque–is accused of murdering a prominent restaurant critic for the Cooking Channel, Lulu Taylor will stop at nothing to get them out of hot water even if it means grilling possible suspects. (4 books in series)

Death by Darjeeling – Laura Childs

  • When a guest turns up dead at a tea for the annual historic homes garden party she is catering, Theodosia Browning, the owner of Charleston’s Indigo Tea Shop, turns sleuth to save her reputation, clear her name, and track down the real killer. (15 books in series)

Glazed Murder – Jessica Beck

  • When her donut shop becomes a crime scene after a dead body is dumped on her doorstep, Suzanne Hart, who finds sleuthing as addictive as her sugary baked goods, joins in the search for a killer. (11 books in series)

A Good Day to Pie – Carol Culver

  • Hanna Denton has returned home to Crystal Cove, California, to take over the pie shop her Grannie Louise owned for thirty years. However, Hanna is suddenly faced with an even bigger challenge: convincing the handsome new police chief (her ex-high school crush Sam Genovese) that Grannie couldn’t possibly have committed murder. (2 books in series)

I Scream, You Scream – Wendy Lyn Watson

  • When her ex-husband’s buxom girlfriend is murdered, ice-cream parlor owner Tally Jones and her former high school flame, Finn Harper, investigate the inhabitants of Dalliance, Texas, to find the murderer and clear Tally’s name. (3 books in series)

If You Can’t Stand the Heat – Robin Allen

  • Poppy Markham investigates after a Michelin-rated chef is found stabbed to death with her stepsister’s knife at her father’s restaurant. (3 books in series)

Killer Mousse – Melinda Wells

  • When the first live airing of In the Kitchen with Della results in murder, Della, discovering that her Killer Mousse is indeed deadly, must prove that she did not deliberately poison her delectable concoction, which is no easy task. (4 books in series)

Lemon Tart – Josi Kilpack

  • Cooking aficionado turned amateur detective Sadie Hoffmiller tries to solve the murder of her beautiful young neighbor–a single mother who was mysteriously lured from her home while a lemon tart was baking in her oven.* (11 books in series)

On What Grounds – Cleo Coyle

  • Clare Cosi, the manager of The Village Blend, finds a murder mystery percolating in her very own store when the assistant manager is found dead in the back and the police believe it to be an open-and-shut case of robbery, but certain clues lead Clare to believe otherwise. (13 books in series)

Pies and Prejudice – Ellery Adams

  • After discovering her hidden talent for enchantment, Ella Mae opens the Charmed Pie Shoppe, but her dream is short-lived when the fiancé of her nemesis, Loralyn Gaynor, is found murdered with Ella Mae’s rolling pin. (3 books in series)

Something’s Cooking – Joanne Pence

  • When someone murders a frequent contributor to Angelina Amalfi’s food column, the sophisticated journalist must elude dangerous smugglers and brutal killers and help a sexy homicide cop crack the case. (14 books in series)

Sprinkle with Murder – Jenn McKinlay

  • This first installment in a new series follows Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura, the proud owners of the Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery, as they race against time to save their business and catch a sugary sweet killer who used their cupcakes to kill a famous fashion designer. (6 books in series)

State of the Onion – Julie A Hyzy

  • While going up against her nemesis for the executive chef position, White House Assistant Chef Olivia Paras finds her goose cooked when she becomes the target of a world-class assassin, after witnessing a murder. (7 books in series)

Steamed – Jessica Conant-Park

  • Known in local chatrooms as GourmetGirl, Chloe Carter, a food connoisseur and expert in failed romances, continues her quest to find the perfect man, but a blind date with a fellow food lover goes horribly wrong when he is stabbed to death. (5 books in series)

Thyme of Death – Susan Wittig Albert

  • When her friend Jo dies of an apparent suicide, ex-lawyer and herb-shop proprietor China Bayles looks with suspicion upon the friendly faces of quaint Pecan Springs. (22 books in series)

Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth – Tamar Myers

  • Insights into Mennonite customs and authentic Mennonite recipes mark a mystery set in Magdalena Yoder’s Mennonite Inn, the setting for a series of mysterious poisonings involving a congressman, his socialite wife, and a group of animal-rights activists. (19 books in series)


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