Saturday Smorgasbord: Food Themed Mysteries Vs Classic Mysteries

By: Christopher Bartlett

Welcome once more to our humble parlor. We took the time closed due to Covid to make some renovations, including a new fireplace to be more welcoming and efficient. It also brings us gently into our discussion of the month. That being food-themed mysteries versus classical mysteries. 

Each has their own audience without a doubt, along with some crossover between the two. For me, it started with the show Murder, She Wrote, which had fictional mystery writer Jessica Fletcher stumbling into and solving murder mysteries. As far as reading though, it started with an Amazon First Reads book, The Frame Up by Meghan Scott Molin, which has a comic book artist get roped into comic-book-themed mysteries. This led me to looking at other mystery series that are more theme based. 

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy classic style mystery such as The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (Yes, I know in reality it is J. K. Rowling). I enjoy each for their own reasons though. 

The classics, I enjoy for the suspense along with trying to figure out the answer to the mystery before the characters do. The food-themed ones, on the other hand, I more enjoy reading with groups. Mainly because one of us will volunteer to make the food item featured in the book, how the book does it, while the rest of us will do our own versions or side dishes. 

My one issue is always getting hungry while reading the food-themed mysteries. It just means having coffee or my favorite iced tea with me, along with a snack that fits what I am reading that won’t mess up my book (or my diet too badly). 

By no means do I think you have to like one and not the other. The most important thing with any book you read is that you enjoy it. Well, at least, most of it since we don’t all always enjoy the endings. I also wouldn’t recommend everyone doing a food-themed mystery. I mean, can you imagine one by Stephen King or Thomas Harris?

Nor do I mean this to be the end of the conversation, rather the beginning of the conversation. Hence, me always welcoming questions and comments, and in this case, even ideas of food items to write a mystery around. Just imagine your favorite take out or homemade dish at the center of a mystery.

*Tips his hat smiling as he walks out the door toward the kitchen.*

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