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Murder Mysteries Novels & Seafood

Food and fiction just go together. So we figured we'd take this to the next level and focus on fiction and seafood. Well, sometimes we stray and it's more about food and the sea and not specifically seafood - but you get the idea.



Elin Hilderbrand

The Blue Bistro by Elin HilderbrankThe Blue Bistro ~ Hilderbrand
2005 St. Martin's Press

I am not a fan of romance novels. Just not my cup of tea. But, I loved this book! I could not put it down.

This is definitely the literary version of a chick flick and although there are probably many guys out there that would enjoy this book, its main audience is women. On the other hand, the descriptions of the food are orgasmic, and that has a fairly universal audience.

Picture Nantucket at the start of the tourist season, and add to it the restaurant of your dreams, and food that is to die for. You're allowed to enter the world of passionate chefs and the wonderful craziness that abounds in the kitchen. The story engulfs you in the restaurant world, and the drive of the owner for perfection in food, in customer service, and in great shoes.The love stories are heartbreakers – and well worth the read!

The first two pages of the book are the menu for the Summer of 2005. When I am able to transport my body into the pages of this book, my meal will be:

Starter: Blue Bistro crab cake, Dijon cream sauce
Entree: Grilled herbed swordfish, avacado silk
Dessert: Lemon drop parfait (my Mom would have the "Butterscoth crème brulee")

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Virgina Rich

The Nantucket Diet Murders by Virgina RichThe Nantucket Diet Murders ~ Rich
1985 Delacorte Press

A fun murder mystery – just the kind I like with not too much violence and good character development. Yes, it takes place on Nantucket. So it's filled with walks through the lanes and local shops and allows us to meet the local characters.

This is basically the tale of a visit between two long time friends, with meals planned out in exquisite detail. Too many menus are centered around looking "slim" and being beautiful. The author has annoyed you with the slimming theme just enough so that when the story features a full blown proper English Tea party and all its decadence, you are once again rejoicing in food heaven! The recipe below, for a Frog, was thrown into the tea party - another welcome respite from the dieting nonsense!

Ms. Rich produced a lovely afternoon read that will leave you wanting to bundle up and walk on the beach in the cold weather. As an added benefit to the foodies out there, the inside covers are filled with delectable recipes.The first one I'm dying to make is for Sour Cream Apple Pancakes. How bad could that be?

So where's the salty, seafood side of this book? Well, it's found in a recipe for a "frog". At first glance this recipe sounds not only a bit bizarre, but downright bordering on disgusting. Then, after reading the description of the melding of flavors, that the author so vividly recounts, it doesn't seem quite as far fetched. Maybe. Here we go…

"Recipe for a Frog" from The Nantucket Diet Murders

Take a large glass and slide into it one cold, newly opened raw oyster. Fill the glass halfway with cold foaming pale beer. Into a second, smaller, glass, pour in just about a half ounce of Jack Daniels.

Then, in one swallow, drink down the Jack Daniels in the smaller glass. Immediately have a sip from the larger glass (of beer). Then take one more sip of the beer. Finally, to "meet the frog" - "hold back your head just a little, open that lovely throat, and –whoops! – down goes the frog!". As in, swallow the oyster whole.

Feel free to try it and let me know – I personally prefer my oysters steamed over an open fire, somewhere in the middle of Florida.

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Jessica Conant-Park & Susan Conant

Turn Up The Heat by Virgina Rich by Jessica Conant-Park & Susan ConantTurn Up The Heat ~ Conant-Park
2008 Penguin Group

The cool thing about this book is that if you aren't familiar with the inner workings of a restaurant and its staff , this book definitely clues you in. One of main character has just bought himself a seafood delivery truck. Perhaps this is not overly exciting to you seafood aficionados, however, it is interesting to think about how all that lovely fresh fish and seafood get from the dock to your table.

This is a fast and enjoyable read that will take you away from your daily grind just enough to allow you to relax and not feel like you have to concentrate too hard!

There are quite a few "salty" recipes at the end of the book – but I warn you, these are not aimed at the casual everyday cook. They are full fledged restaurant recipes, which will not be created in 10 minutes.

Justin Lyonnais, the Exeutive Chef at the Commercial Street Fisheries in Manchester, New Hampshire is talked about in the book. Here's a link to one of his recipes, "Pan Roasted Wild Salmon"

Some of the other recipes include: "Crispy Calamari with an Asian Slaw and Roaster Pineapple Dressing", "Spaghetti and Lobster", and "Clams and Mussels in an Orange Bouillon”"- Yum. (My Mom would opt for the "Raspberry crème Brulee" instead.)

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