Sunday, October 14

Recipes for Crime - Kerry Greenwood & Jenny Pausacker

Food and crime novels often go hand in hand - fictional detectives are often associated with food, or their ascetic disinterest in food, and poisoning is a technique favoured by murderers. In Recipes for Crime the redoubtable Greenwood and YA author Pausacker have created a unique blend of literature review, cook book, and short story anthology, inspired by, and written in the style of, the greats of the genre. So we have a a general overview of the association of food with fictional murder, and the Doyle-esque "The Baroness's Companion", where Holmes solves a case regarding breakfast, over breakfast, accompanied by recipes for bacon and eggs, kedgeree, coddled eggs, potted meat, devilled kidneys, and plum jam.
The tone is light and affectionate, with deft touches of humour - in the recipe for fiddly and time consuming comfits, essentially sugared almonds, they write "When we consider that in the Middle Ages it was common to make comfits out of caraway seeds , we go all wobbly and have to sit down."
Aware that "plenty of people, ourselves included... derive a large part of the general knowledge from reading detective stories", and need therefore be accurate, and following their advice that the information so relayed should be gently incorporated into the text and not presented in chunks, I came away somewhat more erudite and thoroughly enjoyed the process. I never knew prolific pulp fiction author Carter Brown, whose novels were a guilty pleasure through my teen years, was an Aussie! - Alex

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