I loved the novelty of culinary mysteries when they first arrived on the scene and I think I read every one published for years. Food and books! Together! I was delighted when these two collections of short food mysteries were issued.
Death Dines at 8:30 (Berkley, 2001) sifted to the top of one of my stacks recently. It’s a collection of 16 short culinary mysteries edited by Claudia Bishop, who wrote the Hemlock Falls Inn series of cooking mysteries, and Nick DiChario, a prolific author of short fantasy and science fiction. The premise of each is that a death occurs during an evening meal at 8:30 P.M. Despite the common framework, the stories are as different as can be in the hands of these diverse authors: Barbara D’Amato, Edward D. Hoch, Nick Danger, Tamar Myers, Elizabeth Daniels Squire, Valerie Wolzien, Claudia Bishop, Bill and Judy Crider, Camilla T. Crespi, Mike Resnick, Jean Hager, Patricia Guiver, Nancy Kress, David A. Kaufelt, Sharan Newman, and Diane Mott Davidson. A recipe accompanies each story. A nice part of this anthology is that the royalties were donated to America’s Second Harvest, a nonprofit that feeds the hungry.
The companion volume, Death Dines In (Berkley, 2004), was edited by Claudia Bishop and Dean James, industrious author of five mystery series and four volumes of mystery-focused nonfiction. The common thread in these stories with recipes is a meal at home, as imagined by Donna Andrews, Claudia Bishop, Rhys Bowen, Don Bruns, Meg Chittenden, Nick DiChairo, Marcos Donnelly, Carole Nelson Douglas, Elizabeth Foxwell, Parnell Hall, Lyn Hamilton, Jeremiah Healy, Dean James, Mary Jane Maffini, William Moody, and Anne Perry.
I always like having a volume of short stories at hand so that I can read a little here and there without having to stop mid-action. These two books are excellent choices for grazing, as well as offering some interesting recipes. While they were originally released in hardcover, they are also available in mass market paperback, making them easily portable. One drawback is that neither contains an index to the recipes.
Death Dines at 8:30
· Hardcover: 304 pages
· Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; 1st edition (May 1, 2001)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 0425174700
· ISBN-13: 978-0425174708
Death Dines In
· Hardcover: 336 pages
· Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; 1st edition (May 4, 2004)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 0425192628
· ISBN-13: 978-0425192627
Aubrey Hamilton ©2018
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal IT projects by day and reads mysteries at night.