Closely related to the gardening mysteries covered in yesterday's post, culinary mysteries have food as a major thematic element, usually as the cause of death, though frequently meals serve as the location or as a substantial backdrop to the story. One of the best-known modern novelists working in this sub-genre (which, like gardening mysteries, some critics prefer to term a sub-sub-genre of the cosy sub-genre of mysteries) is Diane Mott Davidson:
Stout, a prodigy in arithmetic, invented a school banking system with his brother that allowed him the leisure to move to Paris and become a full-time writer. He published three novels before turning his attentions to the mystery genre, where eventually he would pen over three dozen short stories and almost as many novels. Several of these have since been turned into film, TV and radio productions, and Robert Goldsborough later took up the series with the blessing of the Stout estate, producing an updated series of seven novels which were mostly well-received:
One of the chief attractions of culinary mysteries are the recipes that often are scattered throughout the books (Stout made it easy for his fans by publishing The Nero Wolfe Cookbook shortly before his death), and any good culinary mystery will be replete with recipes for everything from a really excellent cup of coffee to delightful candies...
...from Vegetable Paella to meals fit for a President:
I beg you not to entrust these dishes to your cook unless he is an artist. Cook them yourself, and only for an occasion that is worthy of them. They are items for an epicure, but are neither finicky nor pretentious; you and your guests will find them as satisfying to the appetite as they are pleasing to the palate. None is beyond your abilities if you have the necessary respect for the art of fine cooking - and are willing to spend the time and care which an excellent dish deserves and must have. Good appetite! --Nero Wolfe, in Too Many Cooks (1938)