The best books for hungry armchair sleuths who love their snackies!

Who am I?

Maybe it’s due to my Cuban heritage, but I was raised to appreciate a delicious meal. Beans and rice, roasted pork, plantains, my mouth waters at the thought. When I launched into the writing business twenty five years and fifty books ago, I managed to sprinkle my novels with plenty of tasty treats. Diving into the culinary mystery world allowed me to combine my fancy for food and fiction into one glorious place. The best kind of mystery novels are the ones that tickle your taste buds while they tweak your little grey cells, don’t you think?

I wrote...

Pint of No Return

By Dana Mentink,

Book cover of Pint of No Return

What is my book about?

After her divorce from her thrice-married embezzler husband, Trinidad Jones is ready for a fresh start. So when she's left one of her ex's businesses in Upper Sprocket, Oregon, she decides to pack up her dog, cash in her settlement, and open her dream business: the Shimmy and Shake Shop, introducing the world to her monster milkshakes. And even with a couple of sticky situations underway, namely that the other two ex-wives also call Sprocket home, Trinidad's life is churning along smoothly…until she discovers her neighbor, the Popcorn King, head down in his giant popcorn kettle. When one of Trinidad's fellow ex-wives is accused of the murder and Upper Sprocket descends into mayhem, it's going to take a supersized scoop of courage to flush out the killer.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Fatally Flaky

Dana Mentink Why did I love this book?

Imagine you are a caterer who lives and breathes cooking. Now imagine yourself going undercover at a spa that doesn’t serve coffee or any of the other gourmet vittles you’re used to while you’re trying to unmask the killer of a local doctor. Protagonist Goldy Schulz is a savvy caterer, a tough cookie who escaped an abusive spouse and reinvented her life. I like that Goldy has that kind of depth which is sometimes lacking in a cozy mystery. She’s gritty and determined. As a west coast girl, I enjoy the fact that this series is set in Colorado and Goldy’s marriage to her second husband, a hunky cop, adds flavor. It’s fun to see how the acerbic Goldy handles a “Bridezilla” while trying not to offend her client. The book is fun and satisfying, like Goldy’s recipes! 

By Diane Mott Davidson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fatally Flaky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Colorado caterer Goldy Schulz encounters bridezilla—and murder—in another delectable novel by the New York Times bestselling author of Sweet Revenge, Dark Tort, and Double Shot.

It's been a long, rainy summer for Goldy Schulz, who is engaged in planning wedding receptions for what seems to be all of Aspen Meadow. It's bad enough that Billie Attenborough, the bride from hell, has changed her menu six times and the event date twice. Now she wants to move the location to the Gold Gulch Spa just a scant two days before tying the knot to her doctor fiancé.

Then Doc Finn, beloved…

Book cover of Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

Dana Mentink Why did I love this book?

Similar to Goldy in the prior recommendation, Hannah Swenson knows her way around a cookie. She runs her own bakery with offerings that make the reader’s mouth water (mine sure does!) She’s got plenty of sass and a mom who is constantly trying to find her a man. I love her determination to solve the murder of the milkman but most of all I love the cookie recipes which are easy for the average baker. I am a massive cookie lover so I am always looking for new types to try and Hannah Swenson delivers. She keeps the recipes easy and accessible but always with a fun twist.

By Joanne Fluke,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First in the New York Times-bestselling mystery series: “A cleverly plotted cozy full of appealing characters and delicious cookie recipes.”—Publishers Weekly

Take one amateur sleuth. Mix in some eccentric Minnesota locals. Add a generous dollop of crackling suspense, and you've got the recipe for this mystery series featuring Hannah Swensen, the red-haired, cookie-baking heroine whose gingersnaps are almost as tart as her comments and whose penchant for solving crime is definitely stirring things up.

While dodging her mother’s attempts to marry her off, Hannah runs The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden’s most popular bakery. But after Ron LaSalle, the beloved deliveryman…

Book cover of The Quiche of Death

Dana Mentink Why did I love this book?

It takes guts to write a protagonist who’s hard to like. Agatha Raisin, a tough businesswoman who retires to the tiny village of Carsley, is so beautifully flawed she’s impossible to ignore. She’s somewhat of a bully, prone to conniving, and deeply competitive, which is why she buys her quiche at a shop and enters it as her own creation. Of course, someone drops dead after eating it. This crusty woman of a certain age just bulldozes her way through the investigation and her flaws are so funny and refreshing that you wind up rooting for her. She’s a breath of fresh air in the cozy mystery world.

By M.C. Beaton,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Quiche of Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Every new Agatha Raisin escapade is a total joy' ASHLEY JENSEN

'No wonder she's been crowned Queen of Cosy Crime' MAIL ON SUNDAY

'A Beaton novel is like The Archers on speed' DAILY MAIL

The first Agatha Raisin mystery from bestselling author M. C. Beaton


Revenge is a dish best served warm...

High-flying public relations supremo Agatha Raisin has decided to take early retirement. She's off to make a new life in a picture-perfect Cotswold village. To make friends, she enters the local quiche-making competition - and to make quite sure of first prize she secretly pays a visit…

Book cover of The Cat Who...Cookbook

Dana Mentink Why did I love this book?

As a young adult, I absolutely devoured all the books in Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who series. I was infatuated with the dashing Qwilleran and his sleuthing cats Koko and YumYum. Qwilleran is a foodie and he seeks out excellent vittles when he relocates from the big city to Moose County and schmoozes with all the locals. This cookbook was an absolutely geeky delight, since it features recipes mentioned in the books and snippets directly from the novels which describe when the foods are mentioned. The dishes are quite fancy, but there is a selection of easier ones included also. (Brownies, Mac and cheese, and meatloaf to name a few.) I am partial to Mrs. Cobb’s meatloaf. (It turned out perfectly!) Really though, I adored this book just because it was so much fun to rediscover Qwill and the quirky Moose County residents through this clever cookbook!

By Julie Murphy, Sally Abney Stempinski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cat Who...Cookbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Those who love Lilian Jackson Braun's Cat Who... mysteries know that the residents of Moose County are as discerning in their gastronomical tastes as the finicky felines who star in the novels. Now readers can enjoy the kind of feast that can only be found four hundred miles north of everywhere—with recipes for Polly's Picnic Brownies, Sea Scallops with Saffron Cream on Angel Hair Pasta, Mulligatawny Soup, Marinated Mushrooms, Thanksgiving Potatoes, Vonda's Chocolate Whoppers, and more. And for those who want to pamper their pets, The Cat Who...Cookbook features a section called "Feline Fare"—featuring some of Koko and Yum Yum's…

Book cover of Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Dana Mentink Why did I love this book?

This is a nonfiction book, but it’s the late Anthony Bourdain’s expose on what goes on in restaurants from the chef’s perspective. It was both fascinating and shocking to learn about the almost savage relationships between the members of the kitchen staff, from the chef to the line cooks to the dishwashers and servers. There is a tragic foreshadowing, since Bourdain is candid about his drinking and substance abuse during his time as a professional cook. After reading this book, I no longer used jarred garlic because I recall Anthony’s scathing criticism of those who don’t use the fresh kind. It definitely gave me a totally new appreciation for those involved in the restaurant business.

By Anthony Bourdain,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Kitchen Confidential as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE CLASSIC BESTSELLER: 'The greatest book about food ever written' 'A compelling book with its intriguing mix of clever writing and kitchen patois ... more horrifically gripping than a Stephen King novel' Sunday Times 'Extraordinary ... written with a clarity and a clear-eyed wit to put the professional food-writing fraternity to shame' Observer _____________________________ After twenty-five years of 'sex, drugs, bad behaviour and haute cuisine', chef and novelist Anthony Bourdain decided to tell all - and he meant all. From his first oyster in the Gironde to his lowly position as a dishwasher in a honky-tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown;…

You might also like...

Hayley and the Hot Flashes

By Jayne Jaudon Ferrer,

Book cover of Hayley and the Hot Flashes

Jayne Jaudon Ferrer Author Of Hayley and the Hot Flashes

New book alert!

Who am I?

I grew up in a small town, with wonderful librarians who introduced me to books I remember fondly to this day. The Flicka, Ricka, Dicka series, the Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew, and, of course, Little Women shaped my love for stories about relationships and the simple pleasures of daily life. Whether it’s a mystery or a memoir, I want interesting interactions between the main characters, meaty descriptions of daily activities and affairs, and, of course, a happy ending. As I’ve gotten older, I like books with older protagonists; those are hard to come by—one reason I wrote a novel about the adventures of five middle-aged girlfriends!

Jayne's book list on entertaining stories about relationships

What is my book about?

Country music diva Hayley Swift has fallen off the charts and into a funk. Desperate to regain her place in the limelight, she agrees to a low-budget tour of Southern venues, starting with her 35th high school reunion.

There, in an unexpected but fortuitous reconnection, The Girls Next Door —who sang together in their teens--become Hayley and the Hot Flashes as they embark on a road trip that will forever change their lives. You'll laugh out loud as the ladies deal with stage fright, stalkers, attitudes, egos, harmonies, hormones, and more. Middle age has never been moodier—or more melodic!

Hayley and the Hot Flashes

By Jayne Jaudon Ferrer,

What is this book about?

When five middle-aged girlfriends trade in carpools and casseroles for microphones and music halls, look out!

Hayley Swift, a country music diva who has slipped out of the limelight, gets more attention when she's mistaken for Taylor Swift's mom than for her former glory days. When she's invited to perform at her 35th high school reunion, a bus accident puts her back-up singers in a hospital, Hayley begs her long-gone-domestic quartet from high school to join her onstage for the gig. They're such a hit that she invites the women to fill in on a low-budget tour for a couple…

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