This idea behind this post first started working it’s way into my mind about a year ago. While I was preparing my Lent course, I started to think about food and books, and particularly about food and detective fiction, my favourite type of fiction.
I’ve been reading and watching a lot of detective fiction over the last year. Mainly, I admit, watching as I try and work my way ? through whole series using the Winnipeg Public Library.
I was further encouraged in this direction when I visited Pho Yo a couple of weeks ago. I picked up Diane Mott Davidson’s, Catering to Nobody. I’ve finished this book, and I think I’ll give a few more a try. Although, when the lead character suggested that as far as Szechuan food was concerned, she thought that spicy food was concerned spicy food should be left to the Mexicans, I was tempted to hurl the book against the wall. However, I stuck it out, and can only hope the lead character’s palate improves as the series goes along.
Food figures to varying degrees in detective series. For one thing, it’s a great conveyance for poison. Strong Poison, by Dorothy Sayers, is just one example of such a case. Sayers created Wimsey at a time when she was poor and claimed to have made him incredibly wealthy so that she could indulge in the culinary fantasies she herself couldn’t afford. This is a common thread in many Golden Age detectives. Sayers herself developed into quite a gourmand later in life and enjoyed good food and fine wine for the remainder of her life.