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Top Five Culinary Mystery Series

Updated on July 10, 2014

Top 5 Culinary Mystery Series

Move over chick lit, there's a new genre in town taking over library shelves and bookstore windows - Culinary Mysteries!

Recent years have seen an explosion of female protagonists in mystery novels, and as more and more women pick up mysteries, their offerings have become more diverse and their characters more interesting.

Mixing recipes and suspense, culinary mysteries please both the lover of a good mystery as well as the chef or baker at heart! In most culinary mystery series, the sleuth is a chef, baker, or somehow works with food - food is a major part of the storyline, and often you'll find cooking tips and recipes in between chapters or at the end of the book so you can try them on your own at home. These mysteries tend to be less graphically violent and normally things are tied up satisfyingly at the end of the book too.

There are a variety of culinary mystery series, but here are the top five I like best!

Photo Courtesy of Dion Silva

Hannah Swensen Mysteries by Joanne Fluke

Joanne Fluke has created a wonderful friend in the red-haired, cookie-baking Hannah Swensen, owner of The Cookie Jar in Lake Eden, Minnesota. With a knack for finding bodies and solving their murders, Hannah battles her mom's attempts to control her life, balances running her own business, and seesaws between her two suitors. Plus, there's an adorable cat! Hannah Swensen Mysteries will have you reading along not just to solve the crime, but to get to the next delicious cookie recipe!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery)
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery)

Start your journey with Hannah here, with the first book in the series!


Cheese Shop Mystery Series by Avery Aames

A Cheese Shop Mystery Series follows Charlotte Bessette, owner of a cheese shop in Providence, Ohio, as she navigates running the family business while solving crime too. Her hilarious and wacky French family provides a lovely background for this small town story, Not only will you be entertained by Charlotte, you'll learn a lot about cheese and wine too - plus, recipes!

The Long Quiche Goodbye (Cheese Shop Mystery)
The Long Quiche Goodbye (Cheese Shop Mystery)

The Long Quiche Goodbye is the first novel in this delightful series!


Donut Shop Mysteries by Jessica Beck

Jessica Beck draws us a dear friend in the form of Suzanne Hart, who runs Donut Hearts coffee shop in April Springs, North Carolina. Inspired to be a sleuth by the murder of a friend soon after she moves back to town, Suzanne brushes off her overbearing mom and objections from the real police to solve crimes in her spare time... all while serving up delicious donuts and keeping the people of April Springs happy! Donut recipes are included too!

Glazed Murder: A Donut Shop Mystery (Donut Shop Mysteries)
Glazed Murder: A Donut Shop Mystery (Donut Shop Mysteries)

Start this series with Glazed Murder, the first book.


Goldy Schulz Mysteries by Diane Mott Davidson

Goldy is the caterer everyone wishes they could use, and Diane Mott Davidson brings her to life in this series. Her sluething career begins when shortly after moving back to the small town of Aspen Meadows, Colorado and opening a catering business, one of the first guests she serves dies. In an effort to clear her name, Goldy sets to work solving this crime, which of course leads to more mysteries in the subsequent books. Delicious dishes abound and recipes are included, of course!

Catering to Nobody (Goldy, Book 1)
Catering to Nobody (Goldy, Book 1)

This is the book that launches Goldy's sluething side job!


Cupcake Bakery Mysteries by Jenn McKinlay

Step inside Fairy Tale Cupcakes Bakery and meet Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura, who not only whip up delicious cupcakes, they solve murders too! Unlike some of the other culinary mysteries, this series features a team of two best friends, which not only makes for twice the trouble, it presents an opportunity for hilarious conversations throughout the book too! You'll love these two, and their cupcake recipes too!

What are your favorite culinary mysteries?

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    • Monica Ranstrom profile image

      Monica Ranstrom 5 years ago

      I have read most of the Hannah Swensen series and I really enjoy them. Nice lens.

    • GollyGearHope profile image

      Hope 5 years ago from Skokie, Illinois

      I know she only lived to write three culinary mysteries - but my favorite is still Virginia Rich!

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 5 years ago

      An interesting trend, the ones you review look good. Another group for the to read list.

    • texan203 lm profile image

      texan203 lm 5 years ago

      Great book review lens

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      I have read the books by Diane Mott Davidson and find the recipes and the stories extremely good.

    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 5 years ago from New Jersey

      Though I'm not sure they quite count as "culinary mysteries", I love Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano books where food certainly plays a regular role in the storylines and characters' activities. Nice list!

    • dlobel profile image

      Debra Lobel 5 years ago from Oakland, CA

      Hah! I just bought "Sprinkle with Murder" a couple of days ago before I even read this review. I see I made a good choice.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 5 years ago

      I was aware of this trend to combine food and mystery, but didn't know these particular authors - thanks for the leads.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Well, with the popularity of all these cooking shows and books... I shouldn't feel surprised!

      Simple and very enjoyable lens. :)