Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Culinary Mystery

There is no love sincerer than the love of food. —–George Bernard Shaw

"Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort."
Norman Kolpas

There’s always been an interest in food, not only eating, but talking about it, reading about it, and watching it on television. Look at the popularity of The Food Network. They’ve even added another station dedicated to food-The Cooking Channel. You can find food related shows on many other stations as well. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the culinary mystery is one of the most popular cozy genres.

In order to be a true cozy mystery food and/or drink must be an integral part of the protagonist’s life. The protagonist may have a job revolving around food, or it may just be a hobby.  Many of these mysteries series feature shop owners: The Cheese Shop Mysteries by Avery Aames, The Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs, The Hannah Swensen Mysteries by Joanne Fluke, or The Mystery a la Mode Series by Wendy Lyn Watson for instance. Some characters write about food: Carolyn Blue in The Culinary Food Writer series by Nancy Fairbanks or Hayley Snow in Lucy Burdette’s Food Critic Mysteries.

You may find a character who knows nothing about food, yet it fast becomes a prominent part of their life. Liver Let Die is the first in The Clueless Cook Mystery Series by Liz Lipperman. Journalist Jordan McAllister is completely clueless when it comes to food-she doesn’t even know what foie gras is-yet she agrees to cover for her newspaper’s culinary reporter. Jordan gets in over her head…and not only when it comes to writing her column. This book includes recipes as well as a great story. In addition to being a culinary mystery, this series could also fall into the humor genre.

It should be noted that many series include recipes, but they are not necessarily culinary mysteries.  Lorraine Bartlett includes recipes in her Victoria Square Mysteries, as does Maggie Sefton in her Knitting Mysteries.
It just goes to show how popular food is, and how important it is in all of our lives. After all, everyone has to eat!

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