Mystery Writers of America Cookbook

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook, edited by Kate White; Quirk Books, $24.95, on sale March 24th

What is a good mystery novel without a sharp kitchen knife and a little culinary mishap? Recall any of Agatha Christie's poison-soaked meals or Connie Archer's "Soup Lover's Mystery" series.   Many of the great case-cracking fictional characters relish their meals too, from Miss Marple's tea and scones to Alex Cooper's necessary Dewar's on the rocks. Food frequently defines character and also offers tantalizing clues and plot twists. 

Now, readers can cook the same meals some of the greatest mystery writers enjoy. Mary Higgins Clark, James Patterson and Peter James are just a handful of of contributors to this volume, providing mouth-watering delights and interesting recipe backstories. All proceeds from the book go towards funding the Mystery Writers of America, an organization that promotes writers in the genre, provides scholarships for writers, and presents the annual Edgar Awards.


With over 100 'wickedly good' entries to savor, from breakfast selections to after-dinner cocktails, editor (and former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief) Kate White also includes colorful insight about how food and murder often go hand in hand. (Stomach contents can be critical in determining whether a victim's last meal was more deadly than delicious, for example.) Recipes such as the wonderfully titled Male Chauvinist Pigs in the Blanket from Nelson DeMille, Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone's Famous Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwich and Alison Gaylin's The 'Smoking Gun' Margherita are sure to delight the mystery aficionado with gastronomic tendencies. 

Who's ready for dessert? Why not try James Patterson's 'killer' chocolate cake recipe below, provided courtesy of Quirk Books. 

Chocolate Cake_Patterson_credit Steve Legato.jpg
photo credit: Steve Legato


Grandma's Killer Chocolate Cake

Here's one "killer" Alex Cross always loves to catch--Grandma's Killer Cake! A special family recipe dating from the 1940s, this decadent cake seems to get better with age; it is tastier on day two. And you need to be a good detective around the house after it has been made, sitting there in its glass-domed cake stand, staring back at you with deadly temptation, because a piece seems to mysteriously disappear every time I go into the kitchen. Not to be caught red-handed, so looms the "Killer Cake Killer"!



2??3 cup butter??

2 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs??

2 cups flour??

11??3 cups buttermilk

11??3 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 2 ?? 5 cup hot water

31??2 squares bitter chocolate, melted gently

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1??2 cup butter??

3 squares bitter chocolate

 2 cups granulated sugar

 2??3 cup milk??1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs. ??

2. Blend in flour and buttermilk in alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour. Add baking soda mixture, followed by chocolate and vanilla extract. ??

3. Pour batter into one 9-by-12-inch pan or two round 9-inch springform pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool. ??

4. Combine all frosting ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a full boil, and boil for 2 minutes. Let cool. You can put saucepan on ice if necessary to cool quickly. ??

5. Remove the cake from the pan, frost, and serve. ??

James Patterson has sold 300 million books worldwide, including the Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women's Murder Club, Maximum Ride, and Middle School series. He supports getting kids reading through scholarship, Book Bucks programs, book donations, and his website, He lives in Palm Beach with his wife, Sue, and his son, Jack.


Excerpted from The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook edited by Kate White. Reprinted with permission from Quirk Books.