One of my very favorite trends in the mystery genre is the tales of deception and death that involve cooking and baking escapades. I love figuring out the identity of a murder, thief or other evil-doer, and then introducing a new recipe into my kitchen repertoire from the story I just devoured. So we went to Sheila Connolly, Jenn McKinlay and Julie Hyzy, who are each continuing their sleuths' adventures this month. The three authors share the food aspect in these yummy mysteries — and a recipe from their tasty series!
When I began my Orchard Mystery series, my heroine Meg Corey had just lost her job, her boyfriend and her Boston apartment and found herself living in a drafty colonial house in western Massachusetts in January. Then she learns that there's an apple orchard that comes with the place, and she has to learn about how to run an orchard. It's bad enough that she keeps stumbling over bodies, but in A Killer Crop (December 2010), her own mother is a suspect.
Meg also finds herself doing a lot more cooking than she used to. Because she's a small farmer, she gets involved with the local foods movement, and even helps to create a new (and much needed) restaurant in her small town of Granford. Of course, with fifteen acres of apples in her back yard, she's going to make a lot of apple dishes.
This recipe has always been a favorite of mine. It was given to me by a friend's mother many years ago, and I made sure to include it in the first book, One Bad Apple. We've always called the recipe Apple Goodie.
- Sheila Connolly
What a treat (pun intended) to be invited to blog about one of my favorite subjects – cupcakes!
People frequently ask me where I get my ideas for my mysteries. And usually, I have no idea. Well, with the cupcake bakery mystery series, it was a little bit more in my face. In one week, I listened to a co-worker trying to pick the cupcake flavors for her wedding cupcakes, my agent posted a blog about how she always checked out the cupcake bakery in whatever city she traveled to and one of my closest friends called to tell me that a cupcake bakery had opened nearby and that they sold shots of frosting. Just like that, I knew I had to set a mystery series in a cupcake bakery.
What makes this such a perfect setting for me is that cupcakes are a little wacky. I mean, have you seen some of the flavors out there? There’s everything from strawberry and cilantro to bacon and maple! So, naturally my characters, bakery owners Mel, Angie and Tate, are a little wacky as well, which makes them a blast to write. The cast of characters that is invited into their lives because of the bakery gives them plenty of opportunity for murder, mayhem and romance! So, if you’re looking for some laughs with good friends, stop by Fairy Tale Cupcakes and have a Kiss Me Cupcake or a Blonde Bombshell or two!
- Jenn McKinlay
When I first started writing the White House Chef Mystery series, Ollie (Olivia) Paras was not yet executive chef. She earned that title by the end of the first book, State of the Onion, and has gone on to feed the First Family while saving the world in her spare time ever since.
Amateur sleuth adventures are a staple in the mystery world, but would-be detectives suffer from Jessica Fletcher-itis: How can such a nice protagonist consistently stumble over dead bodies? I’m lucky in that Ollie’s world is the White House where conspiracies are all in a day’s work.
As the executive chef, Ollie interacts with world leaders, staff members, Secret Service agents, and foreign dignitaries on a regular basis. Although she doesn’t come across a murder victim early in Buffalo West Wing (book #4, just out!), she is surprised by the mysterious appearance of a box of chicken wings in the White House kitchen. Attached is a note that indicates the wings are a gift for the new First Kids. Like any good amateur sleuth, Ollie refuses to serve anything suspicious. That key decision gets her into big trouble and begins her newest adventure.
To celebrate the new book’s release, I’m including a recipe for chicken wings on this post Ollie would approve of. In fact, this is one of many great recipes included in Buffalo West Wing. I can say they’re great without any immodesty because I rely on a “ghost chef” to provide these delicious creations.
- Julie Hyzy
Here are three tasty mysteries I can't wait to enjoy during the long cold month of January. Do you like mysteries full of recipes or have a favorite recipe from a favorite author? Let me know in the comments below!