Tag Archive for: culinary

Recipes to Die For

 By Mary Lee Ashford

What is it with food in mysteries? Or I should say, “What is it with culinary mysteries?” as that’s the proper term for the sub-genre. 
As a long time reader of culinary mysteries, from Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen books to Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldy Bear catering stories there’s a wide variety. Some of the main character’s are great cooks like Hannah (current book Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder) and some are not. Such as our own Debra Goldstein’s Sarah Blair. Check out Debra’s latest Four Cuts Too Many!  
In my Sugar and Spice series, it’s sidekick Dixie that’s the blue-ribbon baker while my main character, Sugar’s expertise is on the business side of things as assembler of their community cookbooks. Though she likes to think she’s an expert taster as well. 
In my opinion the brilliant thing about food in mysteries is that food brings people together. We talk over coffee and pie, and gather around family dinner or community events. This creates all kinds of opportunities for sharing information (which can include a clue) or overhearing private exchanges (which can often point to a suspect). 
Food can also sometimes lead to conflict. Is there a secret family recipe? Is there an element of competition? In Game of Scones, the first book in the Sugar and Spice series, there’s a disagreement over who makes the best scones. And wouldn’t you know, there’s room for only one recipe in the town’s centennial celebration community cookbook. You can see where this is going, right? I won’t give too much away but very soon someone is missing and someone is dead. 
One of the fun things about culinary mysteries, at least for the author is the chance to try out new recipes. Game of Scones found me trying all kinds of different scone recipes. And with Risky Biscuits, you guessed it…  tons of biscuit recipes. Who knew there were so many? I have a  good friend who is an actual, honest-to-goodness blue-ribbon baker and I called upon her skills to perfect the biscuits and gravy recipe featured in the back of that book. Then came Quiche of Death which meant the testing various types of quiche. Check out my Pinterest boards for the books to find some of the recipes that were part of the research. 
About those recipes often featured in the back of the books. What are your thoughts on them? Do you check them out? Have you ever tried out a new recipe you found in the back of a culinary mystery? Did you find a new favorite? If so, please share! 
Currently Kensington Books is featuring Game of Scones for only $1.99 in all ebook platforms so if you have not yet read the first in the series, here’s your chance to take advantage of this great deal.  If you’ve already read the book, thank-you! If you’ve left a review, double thanks! I

To celebrate the deal, I’ll be doing a giveaway of a Game of Scones tshirt  Just leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing! I’ll draw a winner by midnight Friday and announce the winner on Saturday. Good luck! 

Mary Lee Ashford is a lifelong bibliophile, and avid reader, and supporter of public libraries.

In addition to writing the Sugar and Spice series for

Kensington Books, she also writes as half of the writing team of Sparkle Abbey, author of the national bestselling Pampered Pets mystery series from Bell Bridge Books.

Prior to publishing Mary Lee won first place in the Daphne du Maurier contest, sponsored by the Kiss of Death chapter of RWA, and was a finalist in Murder in the Grove’s mystery contest, as well as Killer Nashville’s Claymore Dagger contest.

She is the founding president of Sisters in Crime – Iowa and a past board member of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest chapter, as well as a member of Novelists, Inc., Romance Writers of America, Kiss of Death the RWA Mystery Suspense chapter, Sisters in Crime, and the SinC internet group Guppies. She loves encouraging other writers and is a frequent presenter for writers’ groups.

Mary Lee has a passionate interest in creativity and teaches a university level course in Creative Management to MPA candidates, as well as presenting workshops and blogging about creativity.

She currently resides in the midwest with her husband, Tim and cat, Zoey. Her delights are reading and enjoying time her two sons and their lovely wives as well as her crazy awesome grandchildren.

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