Why so many culinary mystery series?

In trying to track down a certain author’s name, I came across this site of culinary mystery series.

Why are there so many of them? What is the allure of combining food and mystery?

They missed Rex Stout. More than a couple of the Nero Wolfe novels revolve around food and chefs.

They sell.

Why, I don’t know. They make the sleuth seem closer and homier, maybe. If you trade recipes with them, they must be friendly. Note that it’s never the villain or prospective murderer who gives the recipes

I suppose if we wanted to have a series of soft-core-porn mysteries, in which the sleuthing is regularly interrupted by steamy scenes (because the detective writes such stuff for an internet site, or for a line of Romance novels) we could have it if enough people were willing to buy it. i say we start writing them now.

Read some. The allure is that they combine two things of interest in one novel. I highlt recommend Diane Mott Davidson’s books.

They don’t sell for the mystery. I have a friend who writes a successful culinary-mystery series. She says that she spent lots of time on the first few books ensuring that the mystery was completely solid. Then she found out that her readers didn’t care. As long as there were recipes delivered by friendly people they liked in a friendly setting, that’s all they cared about.

I don’t get it either.

Some good eating in Robert B. Parker’s mysteries, too, with instructions how to prepare, which cuts you want to buy, etc.

Makes sense to me–or to put it another way, my usual preference in leisure reading is romance. I do step out of that genre, often into mystery, and friendly people I like in a friendly setting makes a lot more difference into whether I read more than once book from the series or not. I like cosy mysteries, and in some sense, I think culinary mystery describes a subset of cosy mysteries. I can’t say I’ve ever actually used a recipe I’ve found in a book this way, but my favorite author who incoporates recipes into her (romance) novels does so in a very chatty style in the character of her various characters, which makes for fun reading but not an easy-to-follow recipe.

Why do I like books like this? I enjoy getting to know characters, witty dialogue, and the assurance that certain conventions will be followed. And they are generally not too deep, too long, or too scary. If the book is part of a series, I know I can revisit the series later and see more of the characters (even though I may choose not to, either through apathy or active dislike).

Fine. But why bother to write a mystery, then? Why not a romance, or a novel about friendly small town people? Why have a mystery that isn’t a mystery? If you take the mystery out of a mystery what do you have left?

In this thread, a cookbook.

I’m on it!

Except I can write sex, but I’m having a really hard time with the mystery part.

But I’m having fun… I’ll let you know if I sell any sexy gumshoe novels.

Hallelujah, I’ve found people who agree with me!

I think about this a lot when I see some of the stupider “themed” mystery series out there. I mean, scrapbooking? Really?

It seems like modern mystery readers don’t want to think anymore, and I think that’s sad and pathetic. Most of the books I see in that section of the bookstore are just “crime dramas,” as far as I’m concerned. Gimme something I can figure out!

Because, to paraphrase Raymond Chandler, the average novel doesn’t get published. The average mystery does, because there is a built-in market.