After 17 novels, Diane Mott Davidson is the author most associated with the culinary mystery.
Yes, there are a slew of other authors who write culinary mysteries (and I list some below). But Davidson re-established the culinary mystery with Catering to Nobody, published in 1990.
Each of Davidson’s novels have included several recipes that Goldy has made during the plot. I have tried several and been pleased with their ease and flavor.
So instead of trying to find that one recipe amid all those novels, Goldy's Kitchen Cookbook chronicles all her recipes.
Part memoir, part writing manual, part cookbook, Goldy's Kitchen Cookbook introduces the recipes with stories about how she came to create them. Davidson also includes anecdotes from her experiences as a writer and home cook, and the time she received a fan letter from Julia Child.
Each of the recipes also tells which novel it came from.
Davidson also shows how she lost 30 pounds and kept it off in Goldy's Kitchen Cookbook.
As for Goldy’s habit of thinking about crimes and their solution while cooking, Davidson said she got that trick from reading Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels. “Spenser loves to cook, and working at the stove allows him time to reflect on the crime. . . I thought, that’s what Goldy needs to do,” Davidson writes.
By the way, I have made Davidson’s Fudgy Souffle (from Killer Pancake) several times. It’s an easy “soufflé” that is made on the stovetop. (It’s on page 268 if you need to look it up quickly.)
Davidson didn’t start the culinary mystery. Most experts suggest that honor goes to the late Virginia Rich, who wrote the Eugenia Potter series. Rich wrote three novels about Eugenia, a chef/rancher, starting with The Cooking School Murders in 1982. Author Nancy Pickard wrote the next three novels about Eugenia, starting in 1993 with The 27-Ingredient Chili Con Carne Murders, which Rich had begun before her death.
I wonder if we should call 2015 the year of the cookbook, mystery style.
In addition to Goldy's Kitchen Cookbook, The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook: Wickedly Good Meals and Desserts to Die For, edited by Kate White, was published earlier this year by Quirk Books.
Beautifully illustrated, The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook contains more than 100 recipes from authors whose offerings continue the mystery theme with breakfasts, entrees, desserts, and cocktails.
About the same time, The Cozy Cookbook was published by Berkley. The authors featured in The Cozy Cookbook have each somehow written about food and include an excerpt from their novels to introduce a recipe.
Here’s a few more authors of culinary mysteries. I am listing just a sampling of their novels; they have many more. And more are at The Cozy Mystery Blog.
Murder on the Orient Espresso by Sandra Balzo
Fudging the Books by Daryl Wood Gerber
A Dish Best Served Cold by Rosie Genova
Fatal Reservations by Lucy Burdette
Macaroni and Freeze by Christine Wenger
Butter off Dead by Leslie Budewitz
Dead Men Don't Eat Cookies by Virginia Lowell
Death of an English Muffin by Victoria Hamilton
Revenge of the Chili Queens by Kylie Logan
If Onions Could Spring Leeks by Paige Shelton
The Big Chili by Julia Buckley
Trick or Deadly Treat by Livia J. Washburn
All the President’s Menus by Julie Hyzy
Double Fudge Brownie by Joanne Fluke