I’ve had a weakness lately for what I refer to as “murder mysteries lite.” A genre which includes such authors as Janet Evanovich and Joanne Fluke. They all involve murders but are written in a lighter easy-read style. They provide quick reads. Usually they feature some humor and, in Fluke’s case, include recipes! Both of these authors have written series featuring the same lead character and I’ve come to know and love those characters. I can discuss Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum’s life and history the same as those of some of my friends.
As a subset of these “lite murder mysteries,” I’ve also discovered a whole series of books featuring food in some way associated with those murders.
Joanne Fluke’s stories feature Hannah Swenson, the owner of a cookie bakery in a small lake-front Minnesota town. All of the murders involve her baked goods in one way or another and she, of course, plays a role in figuring the mystery out. (NO! They aren’t choking to death or being poisoned by the cookies!!) The best part, she features a cookbook at the end of each book!
In my opinion, the best, so far, is The Sugar Cookie Murder. In that one, she is launching a community cookbook and the story line features a big community holiday meal where all the recipes are featured. Various characters comment on the foods and then, as an appendix, the entire cookbook is there! There’s a crock-pot German potato salad that I’m dying to try. (No pun intended since we’re discussing murder mysteries!) Other titles include Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, Strawberry Shortcake Murder, Peach Cobbler Murder and more
Somewhere along the line, I picked up a book by JoAnna Carl called “The Chocolate Puppy Puzzle“ featuring the amateur sleuthing of Lee McKinney, business manager of TenHuis Chocolade (a candy shop in a small lake-front town in Michigan). Now that was a quick and easy read - only about one day! This is one of the “Chocolate Mysteries.” This series features chocolate trivia throughout the book! I haven’t been able to find the rest of that series, “The Chocolate Cat Caper“, “The Chocolate Bear Burglary” and “The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up”
I'm really looking forward to shopping at Half Price Books while we're out West. (We don't have that chain of stores here.) I can usually find some of these harder to locate tomes there!