Discover new authors (or revisit old favorites) with The Poisoned Martini ‘s Recommended Reads. Perhaps these suggested titles will expand your reading list.
Thinking about food this holiday season? There are numerous culinary mysteries to whet your appetite. These sweet tales serve up coffee, cheese, desserts and more along with a body or two for good measure. So relax with one of these cozy mysteries (or other titles by the authors below) and settle in with some snacks. Maybe even try one of the included recipes!
The Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Ames (2010) – In the first Cheese Shop mystery, Charlotte Bessette opens up her Fromagerie and discovers a body outside, stabbed to death with one of her knives. Her own Grandmére stands accused, and Charlotte will have to solve the case to clear her grandmother’s good name. The forthcoming fifth book, Days of Wine and Roquefort, is due out in 2014.
Delicious and Suspicious by Riley Adams (2010) – Lulu Taylor is nervous when the Cooking Channel sends a scout to find the best BBQ in Memphis. She’s downright horrified when the scout is poisoned. It up to her to investigate what happened. After all, some of her own family are suspects! Delicious and Suspicious is the first in the Memphis Barbeque Mystery series by Adams, a pseudonym for author Elizabeth Spann Craig. The fourth and most recent title is Rubbed Out.
Uncommon Grounds by Sandra Balzo (2004) – In the series’ first book, a sabotaged espresso machine kills Patricia Harper, a partner in Uncommon Grounds coffee shop. In order to save the just open shop’s reputation, Maggy Thorsen needs to find out who killed Patricia. What small town Wisconsin secrets will she uncover to discover the truth? The eighth and most recent title is Murder on the Orient Espresso, released in 2013.
Glazed Murder by Jessica Beck (2010) – The first in the Donut Shop Mystery series, Suzanne Hart is faced with solving a murder when her shop becomes a crime scene. Currently, Deadly Donuts is the most recent release in the series, with forthcoming 11th title, Assault and Batter, due out in 2014. Beck also write the Classic Diner Mystery series, and as Chris Cavender, the Pizza Mysteries; see below.
Cooking Up Murder by Miranda Bliss (2006) – Two friends sign up for a cooking class and see a fellow student arguing with a man who later turns up dead. First in the Cooking Class Mystery Series. The fifth and most recent title is 2009’s Murder Has a Sweet Tooth.
Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson (1990) – “Catering a wake was not my idea of fun.” So begins Goldy Schulz’s first mystery and the book that ignited a whole subgenre of mystery fiction—the culinary mystery. Davidson’s debut nabbed Anthony and Agatha nominations for Best First Novel, and to date, has been followed by 17 entries in the series, the latest being The Whole Enchilada. In Catering to Nobody, Goldy’s budding catering business is likely to go under unless she figures out who tried to poison her former father-in-law.
The Chocolate Book Bandit by JoAnna Carl (2013) – In this 13th book in the Chocoholic Mystery series, Lee McKinney Woodyard finds herself embroiled in cutthroat library politics. A retiring board member is murdered and everyone has something to hide. The series began in 2002 with The Chocolate Cat Caper. Read my review of the first book, The Chocolate Cat Caper, here.
A Slice of Murder by Chris Cavender (2009) – In the first book, murder is the last thing on broken-hearted Eleanor Swift’s mind. Then she discovers a late night delivery customer dead… The 6th and most recent title is The Missing Dough (2013).
Jasmine Moon Murder by Laura Childs (2004) – One of the best in the Tea Shop Mystery series is this family-centric mystery in which the uncle of Theodosia’s boyfriend drops dead of a seeming heart attack after a Civil War re-enactment. Naturally, Theodosia will investigate. This long running series began with Death by Darjeeling in 2001. The latest and 15th title is Steeped in Evil.
A Brew to a Kill by Cleo Coyle (2012) – In this 11th entry in the Coffeehouse Mystery series, Clare Cosi must sweet-talk two federal agents, dupe a drug kingpin, and solve the murder of a mysterious hit-and-run. The series began with On What Grounds; the latest in the series is the forthcoming 13th book, Billionaire Blend.
A Catered Murder by Isis Crawford (2003) – Syracuse author Barbara Block—known for her gritty Robin Light series—delved into the culinary scene with this cozy series starring sisters Bernie and Libby Simmons. In their first case, the sisters cater a high school reunion and are drawn into solving a murder when an alum and best-selling author is poisoned.
Crime Brulee by Nancy Fairbanks (2001) – Carolyn Blue becomes a food writer, her dream job, and sets off for New Orleans with her husband. At a dinner party, one of the guests disappears and clues lead to an alligator swamp in this first Culinary Food Writer mystery. The most recent, eleventh title is Turkey Flambé, released in 2007.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke (2000) – Hannah Swenson is busy running “Lake Eden, Minnesota’s most popular bakery.” But then the dairy delivery man is found dead behind her shop. “Who would have the sheer audacity—and the motive—to kill the most punctual delivery man Hannah ever had?” Fluke’s next Hannah book, Blackberry Pie Murder, is due out in February 2014.
Just Desserts by G. A. McKevett (1995) – A predilection for sweets gets Savannah Reid kicked off the police force. Well, really, it’s because she wouldn’t go along with a police cover-up. So naturally she starts a detective agency to find out who really killed a city councilwoman. The 18th and most recent title is 2013’s Killer Honeymoon.
Red Velvet Revenge by Jenn McKinlay (2012) – A perfect title for this 4th entry in the Cupcake Bakery mystery series. Fairy Tale Cupcakes owners Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura are off to a rodeo. There, they’ll have to figure out who killed the hot-headed star bull-rider.
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Crime by Tamar Myers (1995) – This second book in the Pennsylvania Dutch mystery series, featuring Magdalena Yoder and her quaint PennDutch Inn. Magdalena must clear her name when she’s the prime suspect in a film director’s murder. Myers also writes the Den of Antiquity mystery series.
The Body in the Belfry by Katherine Hall Page (1990) – NYC transplant Faith Faircild is a minister’s wife and caterer in a small Massachusetts town. A woman’s jilted boyfriend becomes the convenient prime suspect when her body is found in the belfry. Faith, thinking it unfair the police have settled on the boyfriend as the guilty party, mounts her own investigation. To date there have been 21 titles in the series, #21 The Body in the Piazza was released in 2013.
The Nantucket Diet Murders by Virginia Rich (1985) – Mrs. Potter’s return to Nantucket turns up murder. Is a handsome diet doctor leading rich widows to their death? Author Rich penned three Eugenia Potter mysteries before her passing. Author Nancy Pickard picked up the series in 2012 with The Secret Ingredient Murders.
Murder Takes the Cake by Gayle Trent (2008) – Everyone seems to think Daphne Martin killed a vicious gossip. So Daphne sets about to find out who in her small Virginia town really did it. First in the Daphne Martin Cake Decorating Mystery series.
A Peach of a Murder by Livia J. Washburn (2006) – Retired schoolteacher Phyllis Newsom is determined to win a blue ribbon at the local Peach Festival. Not even the murder of a no-good local will stop her. She’ll solve his murder and win the coveted prize. Washburn also write the Literary Tour Mystery series.
Do or Diner by Christine Wenger (2013) – In her debut adventure, Trixie Matkowski must solve the murder of the local health inspector or see her family’s diner go out of business. The forthcoming second book, A Second Helping of Murder, is due out in Spring 2014. See my review here.
Am I making you hungry yet? Comment on your favorite culinary mysteries.
Just thought I’d add two more authors I happened across after compiling this culinary mystery list:
An Appetite for Murder by Lucy Burdette (2012) – Hayley Snow takes on a new job as a food magazine writer, but her boss ends up dead after sleeping with her boyfriend! With Hayley a prime suspect in the eyes of the police, she’ll need to find out who gave her boss a fatal slice of key lime pie. The forthcoming fourth book, Murder with Ganache, is due out in 2014.
One Bad Apple by Sheila Connolly (2008) – Meg Corey leaves behind the hectic, stressful life of an investment banker to fix up a colonial house and orchard in the country. Her new life isn’t as peaceful as she hoped when her ex-boyfriend turns up dead on her property. She’ll need to investigate or face a whole new life behind bars. The latest and most recent title is book six, Sour Apples (2012).