Culinary-Themed Mysteries

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  • (Anthology): Murder on the Menu - ed. Carol-Lynn Rossel Waugh
  • (Anthology): Murder Most Delectable - ed. Martin Harry Greenburg
  • Anthology): Death Dines In - Claudia Bishop and Dean James, eds.: Collections of short stories are notoriously uneven, but this one has more good ones than bad, and a ton of recipes that I would actually make. Notable standouts are Donna Andrews' "The Birthday Dinner", "Alice and the Agent of the Hun" by Elizabeth Foxwell, and Claudia Bishop's own "Waiting for Gateau". There are really only 2 crap stories out of 16, which is mighty impressive. I'll be adding a copy to my permanent library. (A)
  • (Anthology) Deadly Morsels - Takis and Judy Iakovou, Jane Rubino, Peter Abresch
  • The Long Quiche Goodbye - Avery Aames
  • Killing Thyme - Peter Abresch
  • Delicious and Suspicious - Riley Adams
  • Thyme of Death - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Witches' Bane - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Hangman's Root - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Rosemary Remembered - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Rueful Death - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Love Lies Bleeding - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Chile Death - Susan Wittig Albert - Again, read another one of Albert's books in one sitting. Had to. They're just so much better than anything else out there. Chili cookoff. Skydiving. Texas. Nursing home mayhem. Just go already. Fantastic stuff. (A).
  • Lavender Lies - Susan Wittig Albert - Read it in most of a day. Loved it. China and MacQuaid are getting married and someone's left a corpse in the way. While the whydunnit twist came a little out of left field (and China behaved oh, exactly the opposite of the way a person should behave in that situation), the whodunnit made sense and the books just as stories, just as the things a person wants to sit spellbound listening to in front of the fire. (A-).
  • Mistletoe Man - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Bloodroot - Susan Wittig Albert - Read it in one sitting. Loved it. China Bayles is compelled by her wayward mother to return to Mississippi to help cope with her great-aunt's decline and uncover family secrets. Compelling setting, great secondary characters, hurtling crazy mysteries wrapped one inside the other and China Bayles' voice is so compelling that I began to believe I could hear her narrating the book out loud. Just an amazing book, let along a good mystery. (A+)
  • Indigo Dying - Susan Wittig Albert - Nearly, but not ultimately as good as Bloodroot, this is definitely still an above-average mystery. Tiny Texas town is menaced by the spectre of strip mining, before someone guns down the architect of the scheme, and begins to bring all his secrets--and everyone else's--to light. Love her descriptions of setting, adore China, but the secondary characters should have pulled more of their weight, frankly. (B)
  • A Dilly of a Death - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Dead Man's Bones - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Bleeding Hearts - Susan Wittig Albert
  • An Unthymely Death (short stories) - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Spanish Dagger - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Nightshade - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Wormwood - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Holly Blues - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Mourning Gloria - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Murder is Binding - Lorna Barrett - Enjoyable, but not super-culinary. Mystery focuses on a stolen cookbook, and meals are made and consumed, but the protagonist is FASCINATING. (A-)
  • Uncommon Grounds - Sandra Balzo
  • Bean There, Done That - Sandra Balzo
  • From the Grounds Up - Sandra Balzo
  • Brewed, Crude and Tattooed - Sandra Balzo
  • Grounds for Murder - Sandra Balzo
  • Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death - MC Beaton
  • Agatha Raisin and the Death of a Glutton - MC Beaton
  • No Just Desserts - Elizabeth Bastion
  • Glazed Murder - Jessica Beck
  • Fatally Frosted - Jessica Beck
  • Sinister Sprinkles - Jessica Beck
  • Biggie and the Quincy Ghost - Nancy Bell
  • Biggie and the Devil Diet - Nancy Bell
  • Biggie and the Meddlesome Mailman - Nancy Bell
  • Biggie and the Poisoned Politician - Nancy Bell: Loved this book. Loved it. Recipe for gumbo included, even if I would rather have had the Angel Food Cake recipe. (A-)
  • Biggie and the Fricasseed Fat Man - Nancy Bell: Oh I do love this series something fierce. Even if I do with there was more than one recipe included in a book, because everything Willie Mae makes sounds so darn good. I will continue to snap these up every time I see them. And they'll be getting re-reads. (A-; well I want more recipes. I'm greedy that way.)
  • Dead as a Scone - Ron Benrey
  • The Final Crumpet - Ron Benrey
  • Humble Pie - Ron Benrey
  • Grits and Glory - Ron and Janet Benrey
  • Blue Plate Special - Ruth Birmingham
  • Fried by Jury - Claudia Bishop
  • Buried by Breakfast - Claudia Bishop: Four times. I tried to get through this book four times, and each time I got to page 17 and just lost interest. I do not care about the sequestered jury mainly because I do not care about the neurotic hotel manager. It would be so much better if there were guests or town regulars who are more central to the story. GAH. (F)
  • A Puree of Poison - Claudia Bishop
  • A Taste for Murder - Claudia Bishop: It grows on you, but there's a lot of heavy-handed characterization and cringe-inducing plot twists. (C)
  • A Dash of Death - Claudia Bishop
  • Murder Well-Done - Claudia Bishop
  • Death Dines Out - Claudia Bishop
  • Death Dines at 8:30 - Claudia Bishop
  • A Touch of the Grape - Claudia Bishop
  • A Steak in Murder - Claudia Bishop
  • A Pinch of Poison - Claudia Bishop
  • Marinade for Murder - Claudia Bishop
  • A Dinner to Die For - Claudia Bishop
  • Ground to a Halt - Claudia Bishop
  • A Carol for a Corpse - Claudia Bishop
  • Toast Mortem - Claudia Bishop: Somewhere between Buried for Breakfast and here, this series got really really good. And when I say really really good, I mean that this is the best culinary mystery I have ever read. (A+)
  • Murder on the Menu - Miranda Bliss
  • Cooking up Murder - Miranda Bliss
  • Dead Men Don't Get the Munchies - Miranda Bliss
  • Dying for Dinner - Miranda Bliss
  • Murder Has a Sweet Tooth - Miranda Bliss
  • Bone in the Throat - Anthony Bourdain
  • Murder a la Carte - Prudy Taylor Board: Engrossing, even though you can tell whodunnit on page 37; also, a couple of glaring editing screwups really break the rhythm of what would otherwise be a fairly kickass little mystery (were there originally supposed to be 3 police officers on the island?). I'd definitely read another, as the protagonist is delightfully ornery and has a job where it's fairly believable that she runs into dead bodies. 12 recipes included, one of which I will actually make (Pink Grapefruit Sorbet). (B)
  • Death with a Blue Ribbon - Leo Bruce
  • The Chocolate Cat Caper - Joanna Carl: You can tell this is the first entry in the series, but all the key elements are there, and the heroine is much more likeable than in Bear. This came very close to a +. (C)
  • The Chocolate Frog Frame-up - Joanna Carl: Okay so maybe the series just needed some time to hit its stride. Developing the relationships between the characters and, especially the town of Warner's Pier, Michigan. (C)
  • The Chocolate Bear Burglary - Joanna Carl: I like cozy culinaries and by gum I like chocolate, but I just couldn't get into this book at all. I could not relate to the heroine, and the truffles sounded nasty. (D)
  • The Chocolate Puppy Puzzle - Joanna Carl: Odd but genuinely cozy and intriguing. Readable in one day with forgettable characters, but I did not guess the ending. (C)
  • The Chocolate Bridal Bash - Joanna Carl
  • The Chocolate Mousetrap - Joanna Carl
  • The Chocolate Jewel Case - Joanna Carl
  • The Chocolate Snowman Murders - Joanna Carl: I like this town more and more, and Carl's writing is skilled enough to get me over the whole I-can't-believe-she-found-another-body hump, and her heroine's relationship with her husband and family continues to improve. I can start to relate to her. But skill alone can't carry the fact that I knew whodunnit on page 30, and that one particular plot twist--while executed flawlessly--still made no sense in the final analysis (if you don't know what I'm talking about, ask yourself, why would the murderer need to dress that way? Answers on a postcard, please). Facile, easy and forgettable. (B-)
  • The Chocolate Cupid Mysteries - Joanna Carl
  • The Chocolate Pirate Plot - Joanna Carl
  • Crime de Cocoa: Three Chocoholic Mysteries - Joanna Carl (contains Chocolate Cat, Chocolate Bear and Chocolate Puppy)
  • Red Wine Goes With Murder - Paula Carter: Formulaic and obvious, the sequel, Deathday Party (non-culinary) is much, much better. Disappointing. (C)
  • Candy Apple Dead - Sammi Carter: Formulaic and badly done mystery in a great setting. Don't tease a girl by mentioning how good homemade marshmallows are at the beginning of the book and then include a bunch of other recipes that aren't for homemade marshmallows. (C)
  • Chocolate Dipped Death - Sammi Carter: Still a great setting, and still some good recipes, but 75 pages in, it all goes downhill. Points for being mean to your protagonist, but otherwise, eh. (C+)
  • Peppermint Twisted - Sammi Carter
  • Goody Goody Gunshots - Sammi Carter
  • Sucker Punch - Sammi Carter
  • A Slice of Murder - Chris Cavender
  • Pepperoni Pizza Can Be Murder - Chris Cavender
  • Death by Darjeeling - Laura Childs: The first in the series, and you can definitely see the author getting her feet under her. Choppy pacing and something of a rush to cram in all the characters who appear later in the series; also, I am DONE with the trope of the amateur detective finding out whodunnit totally by accident. Includes much tea lore and one recipe. (C).
  • Shades of Earl Grey - Laura Childs: Awesome! Fast-paced, with likeable characters and an intriguing setting. I'll definitely be prioritizing the rest of this series higher on my reading list. (B+)
  • Gunpowder Green - Laura Childs: I liked it, but not as well as the first one I read, above. (B-)
  • The English Breakfast Murder - Laura Childs: Crap. Utter crap. I wound up having to skim through nearly 80 pages in order not to launch the book at a nearby wall. Saved from an F by three of the included recipes (Tea-Bone Sauce, Sweet Potato Muffins, Ginger-Pear Scones) and hints on tea-dying. I continue to live in hope that one day, one of the books in this series will feature Delaine being launched into the harbor at speed, and after Theodosia solves that murder, the Cotton Duck's replaced with a gun shop. (D)
  • The Jasmine Moon Murders - Laura Childs: Better than Gunpowder, not as good as Earl Grey, but the ending will knock you for a wallop. (B)
  • Chamomile Mourning - Laura Childs: The first 50 pages are awful, but then the book picks up and gets interesting, and I totally couldn't tell whodunnit. Also, just when the series seemed to be hitting a lull, the author shakes things up a bit. Decent. (C+)
  • Blood-Orange Brewing - Laura Childs: I had to force myself, through sheer bloody-mindedness, to finish this book, but I can't tell if that's because the plot twist halfway through was awful, or whether it happened to touch on a trigger of mine that made it nearly impossible to finish the book. So I'll leave this one without a grade.
  • Dragonwell Dead - Laura Childs Wow. Wow! This entry in the series rocked, and rocked hard, both as an entry in the existing series and just as a standalone. I had no idea who did it. But please please, will someone not strangle Delaine? (A)
  • The Teaberry Strangler - Laura Childs
  • Oolong Dead - Laura Childs: Any book following Silver Needle would have it tough, but this next entry in the series kind of limps along, this time overly heavy on plot. But there's the very welcome reappearance of Theodosia's ex-flame Jory Davis to lighten the load, although the classic two-men-fight-over-heroine schtick veers Theo dangerously toward Mary Sue territory. However, bonus points for the hilariously tragic Beth Ann. (B-)
  • The Silver Needle Murder - Laura Childs: Despite the fact that Delaine remains obstinately unstrangled, I adored this book. It was very heavy on the characters--Delaine, Drayton and Tidwell in particular--if incredibly light on plot. Still, the writing and setting are skilled enough that I didn't really care until the last twenty pages. Not a good whodunnit, but a very good book. (B+)
  • Eggs in Purgatory - Laura Childs
  • Steamed - Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant: Excellent blend of chick lit, Top Chef and a mystery. Not a cozy so much as a foody, but strongly written with an engaging, if boy-obsessed heroine. Tasty recipes included, as well as sprinkled through the book. (B+)
  • Simmer Down - Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant
  • On What Grounds - Cleo Coyle: Kind of a slow start, but becomes a page-turner. Who would have thought coffee could be that interesting? A lot of the appeal comes from a strong lead character and well-written relationships. Can't wait to read another. (B-)
  • Through the Grinder - Cleo Coyle: Eh. I guess if you're a fan of the series as a whole, or maybe like your mysteries with a little bit of chick lit on the side, you'll like this. (B-)
  • A Latte Trouble - Cleo Coyle
  • Murder Most Frothy - Cleo Coyle
  • Decaffeinated Corpse - Cleo Coyle
  • French-Pressed - Cleo Coyle: Clare Cosi's overprotective streak goes into overdrive here as she tries to rearrange her daughter's life, to the point of going and telling the married chef she's having an affair with to dump her daughter. After a quick check on her business, she hurries back to the restaurant to make sure she's there for the breakup scene. Too bad the chef's dead instead. It's not bad writing, it's just not a standout series, by any stretch of the imagination, and I keep waiting for Clare to sack up and throw a lot more than shoes at her ex-husband, who is a serious loon. The tour through Little Odessa and the nightclub was well done, though. (C-)
  • Espresso Shot - Cleo Coyle
  • Holiday Grind - Cleo Coyle
  • Roast Mortem - Cleo Coyle
  • A Catered Murder - Isis Crawford: It started off so well, but then petered off with a little pfffft. Pros: good start to a series, great characters and whoa, does Crawford have an ear for dialog. Cons: what was that clue? What? And although it does include 7 recipes, they all sound foul, and you really wish she'd included all the ones the sisters discuss in the story. (C)
  • A Catered Wedding - Isis Crawford: Editing, editing, editing. Editing! Oh and what else did I want to mention, hm... oh yeah. Editing! Spelling and grammar errors plus gaping big plot holes. And recipes that are about as appealing as poo. Only bright spot: the addition of two crazy aunts to the cast. No one can ever go wrong with crazy aunts. (D+)
  • A Catered Christmas - Isis Crawford
  • A Catered Valentine's Day - Isis Crawford
  • The Trouble with a Hot Summer - Camilla T Crespi
  • The Merlot Murders - Ellen Crosby
  • The Chardonnay Charade - Ellen Crosby
  • The Case of the Poisoned Eclairs - E V Cunningham
  • Sticks and Scones - Diane Mott Davidson
  • Catering to Nobody - Diane Mott Davidson: A great debut to a popular series. I love a writer who can evoke place, and my bags are now packed for Colorado. Bonus: recipes I would actually make! (A-)
  • Dying for Chocolate - Diane Mott Davidson: Plaaaaaaceporn! Plaaaaaaceporn! Were there recipes? I don't remember them. What I do remember is a tightly knit little mystery with an appealing heroine, sufficient menace, and a strong supporting cast, and I did not see the murderer coming at all. (A)
  • The Cereal Murders - Diane Mott Davidson: Great book that I was unable to put down, featuring appealing recipes, more Colorado place-porn, and some of the most realistic teenagers I've ever read. (A)
  • Chopping Spree - Diane Mott Davidson
  • The Last Suppers - Diane Mott Davidson
  • The Main Corpse - Diane Mott Davidson
  • Killer Pancake - Diane Mott Davidson: The first 150 pages were great, and then the whole thing collapsed like a flan in a cupboard. It stopped being about Julian (who I love), and stopped being about the case, and started being about the weird suspects and a subplot that sucked. The recipes were okay but nearly 200 pages of this book fell flat. (C-).
  • The Grilling Season - Diane Mott Davidson
  • Prime Cut - Diane Mott Davidson
  • Tough Cookie - Diane Mott Davidson
  • Double Shot - Diane Mott Davidson
  • Dark Tort - Diane Mott Davidson
  • Sweet Revenge - Diane Mott Davidson
  • Fatally Flaky - Diane Mott Davidson
  • The Diva Runs Out of Thyme - Krista Davis
  • The Diva Takes the Cake - Krista Davis
  • And Murder for Dessert - Kathleen Delaney
  • Beat Up a Cookie - Denise Dietz: Dialogue okay, but plausability out the window. There's suspension of disbelief and then there's claiming never to have heard of the word 'disbelief'. (D)
  • Footprints in the Butter - Denise Dietz
  • Throw Darts at a Cheesecake - Denise Dietz
  • Chain a Lamb Chop to the Bed - Denise Dietz
  • A Dinner to Die For - Susan Dunlap
  • Scone Cold Dead - Kaitlyn Dunnett
  • Murder Can Rain On Your Shower - Selma Eichler: Blecch. And it includes a recipe for mushroom croustades that sounds absolutely foul. And I *love* mushrooms. (D)
  • Murder Can Cool Off Your Affair - Selma Eichler: Not only did I realize on page 3 whodunnit, but the included recipe, Desiree's Orange Chicken with Almonds is again unappealing. I have to stop reading this series. (D)
  • Murder Can Kill Your Social Life - Selma Eichler
  • Murder Can Depress Your Daschund - Selma Eichler
  • Murder Can Run Your Stockings - Selma Eichler
  • Murder Can Spook Your Cat - Selma Eichler
  • Murder Can Stunt Your Growth - Selma Eichler
  • Murder Can Wreck Your Reunion - Selma Eichler
  • Murder Can Ruin Your Looks - Selma Eichler
  • Murder Can Upset Your Mother - Selma Eichler
  • Murder Can Botch Up Your Birthday - Selma Eichler
  • Murder Can Singe Your Old Flame - Selma Eichler
  • Murder Can Crash Your Party - Selma Eichler
  • The Perils of Paella - Nancy Fairbanks
  • Crime Brulee - Nancy Fairbanks
  • Death a l'Orange - Nancy Fairbanks
  • Truffled Feathers - Nancy Fairbanks
  • Chocolate Quake - Nancy Fairbanks: This is probably one of the 10 worst books I've read in the last five years. It's set in SF by someone who's obviously been there maybe once, and there's an incredibly strong anti-immigrant sentiment throughout that is breathtaking in its meanness. (F)
  • Mozzarella Most Murderous - Nancy Fairbanks
  • Three-Course Murder - Nancy Fairbanks
  • French-Fried - Nancy Fairbanks
  • Bon-Bon Voyage - Nancy Fairbanks
  • Holy Guacamole! - Nancy Fairbanks
  • Dim Sum Dead: A Madeline Bean Murder Mystery - Jerrilyn Farmer - Oh y'all I'm torn. On the one hand, the characters are well-drawn, the plot is speedy and it makes sense the way that the amateur detective finds the solution, so hallelujiah. On the other, there's 80 pages of blah-and-skim going on in the middle, and overall, I can't say I'd re-read this book. Maybe I'll try another from the series just in case. (C+)
  • Immaculate Reception: A Madeline Bean Catering Mystery - Jerrilyn Farmer
  • Mumbo Gumbo: A Madeline Bean Novel - Jerrilyn Farmer
  • Desperately Seeking Sushi - Jerrilyn Farmer
  • Flaming Luau of Death - Jerrilyn Farmer
  • Killer Wedding - Jerrilyn Farmer
  • Perfect Sax - Jerrilyn Farmer
  • Sympathy for the Devil - Jerrilyn Farmer
  • The Blueberry Muffin Murder - Joanne Fluke: This is the first book I read by Fluke, and I loved it. Sign me up for the whole series. (A)
  • The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder - Joanne Fluke: Love this series. Love bakeries in Minnesota. (A)
  • Strawberry Shortcake Murder - Joanne Fluke: Such good books. (A)
  • The Lemon Meringue Murder - Joanne Fluke: This is the first entry in the series that has struck a sour note with me. The protagonist has turned into a prude, sputtering with righteous indignation at such afronts as green hair, short skirts, alcohol and the possibility of romance for the developmentally disabled. She's becoming very unlikeable. Luckily, Lake Eden is still well-realized and interesting, the tension with her mother is still well done and the addition of a third Swensen sister is outstanding. The recipes are outstanding. But Hannah needs to just pick a dude already. (C)
  • Fudge Cupcake Murder - Joanne Fluke - Lady? PICK A DUDE. Or just come right out and tell them you're poly, and let the cards fall where they may. So there's good news and bad news about this book. The good news is that even though you can tell whodunnit on page 150, this is a decent book, and the author's found a couple of great ways to perk up the series: developing Andrea as a likeable character, giving the mom a beau to make her seem more human and less demonic (Laura Childs take note for possibilities for Delaine), and giving Michelle intriguing deviousness. The bad news is that there are 100 pages in the middle I just didn't care about, and I cannot believe the protagonist runs her own successful business, bakeshop or no, because in 300 pages, she spent so little time there that I'm amazed no one's stealing from the till or smashing the windows. But overall a solid entry (B).
  • The Sugar Cookie Murder - Joanne Fluke
  • The Peach Cobbler Murder - Joanne Fluke - Not bad, not bad at all. Read the whole thing in one sitting, and I would in fact, cheerfully sell a member of my family for the Rhubarb Custard Cake. (B+)
  • The Cherry Cheesecake Murder - Joanne Fluke
  • Key Lime Pie Murder - Joanne Fluke
  • Candy Cane Murder - Joanne Fluke
  • Carrot Cake Murder - Joanne Fluke
  • Cream Puff Murder - Joanne Fluke
  • Plum Pudding Murder - Joanne Fluke
  • Apple Turnover Muder - Joanne Fluke
  • Gingerbread Cookie Murder - Joanne Fluke, Leslie Meier, Laura Levine
  • A Murderous Glaze - Melissa Glazer
  • Sharpshooter (a Sunny McCoskey Napa Valley mystery) - Nadia Gordon
  • Death by the Glass (a Sunny McCoskey Napa Valley mystery) - Nadia Gordon
  • Murder al Fresco (a Sunny McCoskey Napa Valley mystery) - Nadia Gordon
  • Murder Most Delectable: Savory Tales of Culinary Crimes (anthology) - edited by Martin H. Greenburg
  • Case of Indelicate Champagne - Fred Halliday
  • Murder in the Kitchen - Fred Halliday
  • Death on the Drunkard's Path - Jean Hager
  • Recipe for Murder - Lisa Harris
  • Baker's Fatal Dozen - Lisa Harris
  • Chef's Deadly Dish - Lisa Harris
  • Death on a Silver Platter - Ellen Hart: Loved this book. So tense, and believable characters, and I had no idea who did it. Not much to do with food, just a great story. Includes one recipe. (A)
  • This Little Piggy Went to Murder - Ellen Hart
  • Dial M for Meatloaf - Ellen Hart
  • Slice and Dice - Ellen Hart
  • No Reservations Required - Ellen Hart
  • Killing Cure - Ellen Hart
  • Faint Praise - Ellen Hart
  • Wicked Games - Ellen Hart
  • Stage Fright - Ellen Hart
  • No Reservations Required - Ellen Hart
  • Merchant of Venus - Ellen Hart
  • The Iron Girl - Ellen Hart
  • Original Sin - Ellen Hart
  • Town in a Blueberry Jam - B.B. Haywood: A book that's a whole lot better than it has any right to be. There are a few flaws here pointing to both new author and inadequate editor (much more the latter), but the plot corks right along with twists and turns aplenty, and the supporting characters are a hoot. (B-)
  • Town in a Lobster Stew - B.B. Haywood
  • Whisper of Rage - Tim Hemlin
  • Dead Man's Broth - Tim Hemlin
  • A Catered Christmas - Tim Hemlin
  • People in Glass Houses - Tim Hemlin
  • Hail to the Chef - Julie Hyzy
  • State of the Onion - Julie Hyzy
  • Beat a Rotten Egg to the Punch - Cathie John
  • Add One Dead Critic - Cathie John
  • Carve a Witness to Shreds - Cathie John
  • Beat Until Stiff - Claire Johnson
  • Roux Morgue - Claire Johnson
  • Fax Me a Bagel - Sharon Kahn
  • Never Nosh a Matzo Ball - Sharon Kahn: Only loosely culinary, but still a heckuva good romp of a book. Madcap in a Marx Brothers way, if the Marx Brothers went to temple in West Texas. (A-).
  • Hold the Cream Cheese, Kill the Lox - Sharon Kahn
  • Which Big Giver Stole the Chopped Liver? - Sharon Kahn
  • Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Choir - Sharon Kahn
  • Don't Cry for Me, Hot Pastrami - Sharon Kahn: Not a ton of culinariness, but an extraordinarily good romp of a book nonetheless. I never saw that ending coming. (B)
  • Lemon Tart - Josi S Kilpack
  • English Trifle - Josi S Kilpack
  • Devil's Food Cake - Josi S Kilpack
  • Eat, Drink and Be Buried - Peter King: Gah. The author of this book never met an animal he didn't immediately want to saute in the most intentionally strange way possible. It's great to be all about food, but try to remember to write a mystery with it. (D)
  • Spiced to Death: A Culinary Mystery - Peter King
  • Dying on the Vine: A Culinary Mystery - Peter King
  • Dine and Die on the Danube Express - Peter King
  • Roux the Day - Peter King
  • Gourmet Detective - Peter King
  • Death al Dente - Peter King
  • Appetite for Murder - Cecil LaMalle
  • Glutton for Punishment - Cecil LaMalle
  • Prepared for Murder: A Culinary Mystery with Recipes - Cecil LaMalle
  • (Reference) Food and Drink in the English Mystery Novel - Jeannine Larmoth
  • Recipe for Death - Janet Laurence
  • Death and the Epicure - Janet Laurence
  • The Mermaid's Feast - Janet Laurence
  • Chill Before Serving (a Mystery for Food Lovers) - Cynthia Lawrence
  • Take-out City - Cynthia Lawrence
  • Delicious - Shelby Lewis
  • Someone is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe - Nan and Ivan Lyons: First culinary mystery I ever read, it's still intriguing and faux-glamorous in that cocaine-drenched 80s kind of way. (A)
  • Someone is Killing the Great Chefs of America - Nan and Ivan Lyons
  • The President is Coming to Lunch - Nan and Ivan Lyons
  • Death Pays the Rose Rent - Valerie S Malmont
  • Death, Guns and Sticky Buns - Valerie S Malmont
  • Death, Snow and Mistletoe - Valerie S Malmont: Excellent. Read the whole thing in one sitting. Am now scouring the library for the rest. (A).
  • Death, Lies and Apple Pie - Valerie S Malmont
  • Death, Bones and Stately Homes - Valerie S Malmont
  • Cooked Goose: A Savannah Reid Mystery - G A McKevett
  • Corpse Suzette - G A McKevett
  • Murder a la Mode - G A McKevett
  • Just Desserts - G A McKevett
  • Death by Chocolate - G A McKevett
  • Bitter Sweets- G A McKevett - Not a culinary mystery per se (no recipes) but the protagonists consume enough food for 20. Good use of tension, adore the gumshoe, but the investigators' lack of concern with finding the kidnapped child didn't seem real. Otherwise, grade A. (B)
  • Sour Grapes - G A McKevett
  • Peaches and Screams - G A McKevett
  • Sugar and Spite - G A McKevett
  • Killer Calories - G A McKevett
  • Sprinkle With Murder - Jenn McKinlay: excellent little mystery. Don't let the rough start deter you, this one's a keeper: sugary and light and funny as all get out. (A+)
  • Buttercream Bump-Off - Jenn McKinlay
  • Murder Makes an Entree (A Victorian Whodunnit) - Amy Myers
  • Murder in the Smokehouse - Amy Myers
  • Murder with Majesty - Amy Myers
  • Murder in the Queen's Boudoir - Amy Myers
  • Though Shalt Not Grill - Tamar Myers
  • The Crepes of Wrath - Tamar Myers
  • Splendor in the Glass - Tamar Myers
  • The Hand That Rocks the Ladle - Tamar Myers
  • Eat, Drink and Be Wary - Tamar Myers
  • Play It Again, Spam - Tamar Myers
  • Grape Expectations - Tamar Myers
  • Assault and Pepper - Tamar Myers
  • Custard's Last Stand - Tamar Myers
  • Too Many Cooks, Spoil the Broth - Tamar Myers: Well, at least in this one the protagonist's sister called her out on being so unlikable. Sadly, it had no effect. Also, it's time for the author to come up with some new jokes. (D)
  • Between a Wok and a Hard Place - Tamar Myers: The lead character is growing on me, but there was no plot to speak of, just a buzzing crowd of thinly drawn supporting characters, and the protagonist's own drama. (D)
  • Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Crime - Tamar Myers: Why, oh why, couldn't the lead character have snuffed it? This book had so much potential, and sucked so hard. (D)
  • No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk - Tamar Myers: Did not suck as much as I thought it would. One good recipe. (C+)
  • Just Plain Pickled to Death - Tamar Myers: I wished less ill on the lead character this time (the protagonist of the series), and while the setting is growing on me, I still wouldn't make any of the recipes. (C-)
  • Butter Safe Than Sorry - Tamar Myers
  • To Die For - Janet Neel
  • A Vintage Year for Dying - Frank Orenstein
  • Add a Pinch of Cyanide - Emma Page
  • Too Many Cooks - Joanne Pence: Haaaaaaaate. The mystery itself could have been good, but the romance for the protagonist mutated and grew and chowed down on the plot like the cockroach that ate Cincinnatti. Also, as a veteran of this genre, can I just say? Least likeable main character yet. (D+ (I liked two of the recipes))
  • To Catch a Cook - Joanna Pence
  • If Cooks Could Kill - Joanna Pence
  • Something's Cooking - Joanna Pence
  • Courting Disaster - Joanna Pence
  • Two Cooks a-Killing - Joanna Pence
  • Cooks Overboard - Joanna Pence
  • A Cook in Time - Joanna Pence
  • Bell, Cook and Candle - Joanna Pence
  • Cook's Night Out - Joanna Pence
  • Cooking Up Trouble - Joanna Pence
  • Cooking Most Deadly - Joanna Pence
  • Red Hot Murder - Joanna Pence
  • Little Indiscretions - Carmen Posada
  • The Unsuspecting Gourmet - Margo Rabb
  • The Cooking School Murders - Virginia Rich
  • The Baked Bean Supper Murders - Virginia Rich
  • The Nantucket Diet Murders - Virginia Rich: Okay. Not stellar, but okay. Mildly lame with amusing food thrown in, and I had no idea whodunnit. 3 recipes included, and several more woven in among the text. (C+)
  • The 27-Ingredient Chili Con Carne Murders - Virginia Rich and Nancy Pickard: Good recipes, good place-feeling, interesting murders and I had no idea whodunnit, BUT, the romantic subplot really detracted from the whole, actually dragging down the storytelling considerably. (B)
  • The Blue Corn Murders (a Eugenia Potter mystery) - Nancy Pickard
  • The Secret Ingredient Murders (a Eugenia Potter mystery) - Nancy Pickard
  • Mom, Apple Pie and Murder - Nancy Pickard
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Ham? - Phyllis C. Richman
  • The Butter Did It: A Gastronomic Tale of Love and Murder - Phyllis Richman
  • Murder on the Gravy Train - Phyllis Richman
  • A Brisket, A Casket - Delia Rosen
  • Bitter Feast - S J Rozan
  • A Gastronomic Murder - Alexandra Roudybush
  • Favas Can Be Fatal - Priscilla Royal
  • Murder Uncorked - Michelle Scott
  • Murder by the Glass - Michelle Scott
  • Silenced by Syrah - Michelle Scott
  • A Vintage Murder - Michelle Scott
  • Corked by Cabernet - Michelle Scott
  • A Toast to Murder - Michelle Scott
  • Death by Deep-Dish Pie - Sharon Short
  • Murder by Mushroom - Virginia Smith
  • Delicious - Mark Haskell Smith
  • Chili Con Corpses - JB Stanley
  • Fit to Die - JB Stanley
  • Carbs and Cadavers - JB Stanley
  • Murder of a Chocolate-Covered Cherry - Denise Swanson
  • Murder of a Smart Cookie - Denise Swanson
  • Red Beans and Vice - Lou Jane Temple
  • Death is Semisweet - Lou Jane Temple
  • The Cornbread Killer - Lou Jane Temple
  • A Stiff Risotto - Lou Jane Temple
  • Bread on Arrival - Lou Jane Temple
  • Death by Rhubarb - Lou Jane Temple
  • Revenge of the Barbecue Queens - Lou Jane Temple
  • Death du Jour - Lou Jane Temple
  • The Spice Box - Lou Jane Temple
  • Murder Pans Out - Emily Toll
  • Murder by the Slice - Livia J Washburn
  • A Peach of a Murder - Livia J Washburn
  • The Christmas Cookie Killer - Livia J Washburn
  • Killer Crab-Cakes - Livia J Washburn
  • The Pumpkin Muffin Murder - Livia J Washburn
  • Scoop to Kill - Wendy Lyn Watson
  • Double Truffle - SK Weber
  • Devil's Food - Janice Weber
  • Killer Mousse - Melinda Wells
  • Death Takes the Cake - Melinda Wells: I really wanted to like this book more that I did. I mean I really, really, *really* wanted to like this book. The protagonist is appealing, as is her emotional baggage, and the mystery was well thought-out, and the setting immersive and the supporting characters meaningful. So what happened? Subplot overload is what happened. Look. It's a wee mystery book, okay? 125 pages in, 125 out, give or take 40. If you add in more than six supporting characters--yes > 6--and give them all drama, and backstory and then try to feed them all into the main plot while still creating an immersive setting, your reader will, like me, throw their hands in the air and pray for the book to end. In other words, skim. Skim skim skim. This book just wanted way too much from me, caring-wise, and thus I am not likely to either reread it or pick up any of the others in the series. Overall, the characterization just wasn't strong enough to carry the load it had been assigned. (C-)
  • Sugar and Spice - various (short stories w/recipes)
  • Sugarplums and Scandal - various (short stories w/recipes)
Author Comments: 

Changed the +/- system to grades to be consistent with the system I use on other book lists. If you know of ones not listed here, please let me know.

I get a kick just out of reading these titles. Thank you for posting this.

I know! How awesome are these? Between a Wok and a Hard Place? I'd love to do a whole research paper on why culinary mysteries attract puns.

This is so a weird list. I like it! I didn't know they had so many books in that category...

You have to add Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles series. Lots of information about herbs, some good recipes, and some good, solid mystery writing.

Sorry for the delay in responding. I have one of these on Mt To Be Read, but I haven't managed to get more than 10 pages in. I haven't seen these listed as culinary mysteries before, because they seem to be about crafts and dying, and I didn't notice any recipes in them. I'll move this to the top of the Mtn though, and see if I'm wrong. Thanks.

Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this, but it's now the fourth time I've tried to read "Indigo Dying" and it's really heavy going. Will there be recipes at some point?