19 November 2009

Forgotten Books: A TASTY WAY TO DIE, Janet Laurence

This week's contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books.

A TASTY WAY TO DIE is recorded in my reading for 1999, so I guess that is not so long ago, but I think it may be the only one I've read by this author.

According to Fantastic Fiction, this is the second title in a 10 title series writing 1989-2000, featuring Darina Lisle, a rising young cook and caterer.

Tall, attractive Darina Lisle, recently shed of her own catering business, pitches in to help former school chum Eve--an ambitious London caterer--out of a predicament. The sick woman Darina temporarily replaces soon dies from eating a poisoned mushroom, probably meant for Eve. A subsequent poisoning (hemlock this time) discovered by Darina provides some of the best nonfood description in the book. Long on food preparation, short on action, this one stimulates enough juices to keep the pages turning. Mostly for gastronomes.

Fantastic Fiction suggests that if I like A TASTY WAY TO DIE, I might also like MURDER IS BINDING, the first in the Booktown Mystery series by Lorna Barrett.

Alternatively I might enjoy CARBS & CADAVERS, the first in the Supper Club series by J. B. Stanley.

Now both these books are too recent to qualify as "forgotten" but perhaps you have some culinary crime fiction titles to recommend?

Joanne Fluke is another who is trying to titivate our crime fiction taste buds. Is this just a modern phenomenon? I think not. Delicious Evil lists some interesting Food Mystery Novels and you can probably suggest a lot of classics where poisoning is a central theme.


Bernadette said...

I went through a phase where I read dozens of culinary cosies - I was travelling across the US and there seemed to be lots of different series and they were easy to find and cheap. My favourite series was by Jerrilyn Farmer - the Madeleine Bean Catering mysteries (maybe 'cos of the name) - the character is a caterer in LA and there are big events with lots of Hollywood types and they're quite fun - there was one book where she catered for the tour of the Pope - I thought the details were great.

But in terms of 'forgotten' (or at least classic) books the Nero Wolfe ones are always on about food - Wolfe is a real gourmet (and he eats like a horse too) and his food or his live-in chef feature heavily in some of the stories.

Heartbeatoz said...

At one stage there seemed to be a whole plethora of these Culinary Cozies and I must say I bought quite a few of them I quite liked the Laura Childs Tea Series, I liked this Janet Laurence Book but at the time I was unable to find anymore by her.

Anonymous said...

Kerrie - There really have lots of culinary cozies (love that term!) in recent years. In classic crime fiction, there's of course Lord Peter Wimsey - a true gourmand. And there's also Virginia Rich's Faith Fairchild series. Mmmm, now I'm getting hungry : )..

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't think I've ever read a culinary cozy.

Unknown said...

Thanks for mentioning Murder Is Binding, the first in the Booktown Mystery series. The third book is hot off the press, Bookplate Special, and it's an especially "foodie" entry in the series. Hope you'll give it a try.

Evan Lewis said...

'Carbs and Cadavers' is a hoot of a title. Wish I'd thought of it.

Martin Edwards said...

Janet Laurence is a very good writer who has also written an interesting guide to the craft of crime fiction.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin