Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.
Summer is also when I like to turn to escape reading. Lazy Saturdays call for something fun and light. So I often choose cozy mysteries with a food theme, which give me great characters and a few hours of entertainment while satisfying the cook in me. Even better, the books I'm featuring today include appealing recipes.
All four novels, published by Berkley Prime Crime, will be available in July, just in time to pop into your beach bag or travel tote for holiday and vacation reading. Look for them at your favorite bookstore. Don't you love the punny titles?
Leslie Budewitz's Crime Rib is the second entry in her Food Lovers' Village Mystery series set in Montana. The books feature Erin Murphy, who owns a gourmet food market. When a TV crew comes to town to report on the area's food scene, local chefs vie for the spotlight. But after one of grilling masters is found dead, attention shifts from food to murder. Can Erin save the town's reputation, solve the murder, finish remodeling her back patio, and run the grilled steak competition all at the same time? Opening lines: "We can't replace one of the chefs," Mimi George said, her voice piercing the gravy-thick air of the Jewel Inn's banquet and meeting room. "The Grill-off is in two days." The summer-fun recipes tell you how to make your own graham crackers and marshmallows for truly homemade s'mores.
Another second in a series is Maple Mayhem by Jessie Crockett. You won't be surprised that the Sugar Grove mysteries take place in New Hampshire, where maple syrup is king. Our hero is Dani Greene, a fourth-generation syrup producer. Unlike some of her neighbors, Dani is forward thinking and has organized a co-op to help defray costs and increase profits for family-owned businesses. When someone throws a wrench into the works and then a producer is found dead in his sugarhouse, Dani is on the case . . . along with a handsome Fish and Game commissioner. Opening lines: I slid out from behind the wheel and gently closed my car door. It had taken weeks for the local mechanic to repair my baby after it lost a cage match with a cassowary but it had been worth the wait. The recipes range from pancakes to glazed ham.
Cookie shop owner Olivia Greyson is ready for her fifth murder in Cookies and Scream by Virginia Lowell. The Cookie Cutter Shop mysteries are set in a small bakery and gift shop in Maryland. This installment involves a beautiful antique cookie cutter collection that Olivia's been asked to sell. When the owner of the collection turns up dead, officials rule it a natural death, but Olivia suspects foul play. Cookies, a Yorkie, best friend Maddie, and a local sheriff all play a role in solving the mystery. Opening lines: As soon as she flipped on the lights in The Gingerbread House, Olivia Greyson sensed something was wrong She felt certain the store was not as she had left it six days earlier, when she'd abandoned Chatterley Heights to escape the unrelenting heat of early August in Maryland. The spicy shortbread recipe looks divine.
Victoria Hamilton's Muffin but Murder is the second in her Merry Muffin Mystery series. New York City food stylist turned muffin baker Merry Wynter is hoping to sell the family mansion she's recently inherited so she can return to her exciting life in Manhattan. In an attempt to attract a buyer, she decides to host a spooky Halloween costume party, complete with decorations and, of course, her muffins. When one of her guests is found dead, Merry must track down the killer before all her dreams turn to crumbs. Opening lines: Ridley Ridge. How had I lived a whole month and half at Wynter Castle, my inherited digs near Autumn Vale in upstate New York, without visiting Ridley Ridge, the next closest town? Just lucky, I guess. Two muffin recipes and one for a lovely vegetable soup round out the story.