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Murder Most Delectable: Savory Tales of Culinary Crimes [Hardcover]

Martin H. Greenberg


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Book Description

April 6 2004
An 18-course feast for crime fans, Murder Most Delectable brings together the tastiest tales of epicures most evil. Renowned writers like Joyce Carol Oates (exploring a relationship that "leaves a sour taste in one's mouth"), Rex Stout (and the redoubtable Nero Wolfe, in "Poison à la Carte"), and Ruth Rendell (The Case of Shaggy Caps") offer up stories that memorably combine a love of food with a talent for wickedness. As an added bonus, the editor has generously placed recipes throughout this savory collection—but be warned, any ill effects are the sole responsibility of the host....

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The appetizing "Murder Most Delectable" should leave you asking for seconds. -- The Post and Courier, Oct. 29, 2000

The stories are sure to keep you keen observers of glorious food on your toes, wishing for more morsels from the authors' tables. -- Daily News, Oct. 7, 2000

Those who mingle the pleasures of life with dining and entertainment may spend an evening with "Murder Most Delectable." -- Port Arthur News, Sept. 13, 2000 --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

What a grand love affair people have with food, the only thing that can simultaneously delight all five senses. The sound of a porterhouse steak as it sizzles on the grill... the sight of a golden brown turkey roasting in the oven... the cool feel of watermelon on a steamy day... the smell of apple pie as it bakes to perfection...all fill us with delight and joy. But the final most glorious sense–taste–is sated with the first delectable bite.

Some people's appetite for food is exceeded only by their appetite for crime. As our demand for creative dishes has increased, so has the opportunity for evil epicureans to combine their talent for wickedness with their love of good food and drink. Thus they are able to lay their victims low in one fell swoop, using nothing more than a well-cooked meal or specially concocted libation.

This menu of eighteen stories of culinary crimes and death beckons everyone. Readers are advised to quiet any hunger pangs before turning the pages, for the meals described may be worth dying for. As an added bonus, recipes pertinent to each story's flavor are included, making this savory concoction, indeed, a true collection of Murder Most Delectable. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.


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Amazon.com: 2.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A MIXED BAG OF GOOD, BAD, & UGLY MYSTERIES Jan. 28 2011
By David R. Eastwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
All in all, Martin H. Greenberg's anthology MURDER MOST DELECTABLE: SAVORY TALES OF CULINARY CRIMES (2000) is disappointing. Readers who already own the anthology MURDER ON THE MENU (1984), edited by Greenberg with the help of Carol-Lynn Rössel Waugh and Isaac Asimov, should know that the earlier book is better and that four of the stories Greenberg chose for this one were in the earlier one (Ruth Rendell's, Rex Stout's, Janwillem van de Wetering's, and Nedra Tyre's) .

The 18 stories in this book are "The Last Bottle in the World" by Stanley Ellin, "Takeout" by Joyce Christmas, "The Case of the Shaggy Caps" by Ruth Rendell, "The Cassoulet" by Walter Satterthwait, "Tea for Two" by M. D. Lake, "The Second-Oldest Profession" by Linda Grant, "Connoisseur" by Bill Pronzini, "Gored" by Bill Crider, "Day for a Picnic" by Edward D. Hoch, "Guardian Angel" by Caroline Benton, "The Main Event" by Peter Crowther, "The Deadly Egg" by Janwillem van de Wetering, "Dead and Breakfast" by Barbara Collins, "Recipe for a Happy Marriage" by Nedra Tyre, "Death Cup" by Joyce Carol Oates, "Poison Peach" by Gillian Linscott, "Of Course You Know That Chocolate Is a Vegetable" by Barbara D'Amato, and "Poison à la Carte" by Rex Stout.

Of the 18 selections, the best in my view is the Nero Wolfe story by Rex Stout, offering us Archie's wit and Wolfe's successful trap. Slightly below this, I'd place Ellin's clever premise story about a murderer who cannot be punished and Rendell's and Linscott's fine puzzlers--an Inspector Wexford puzzler that ends inconclusively and a Victorian-era puzzler that may not be to everyone's taste.

Three stories I considered somewhat flawed for various reasons were Edward D. Hoch's, Janwillem van de Wetering's, and Barbara D'Amato's. The first two of these are fair-play puzzle stories; the third is kind of "revenge fantasy" about a mystery writer and a book critic (it was awarded an AGATHA, an ANTHONY, and a MACAVITY in 1999, but in my view it is heavy-handed and has been over-rated).

Next, four stories that I felt were just middling were Grant's ironic premise story about a middle-aged hit-woman, Pronzini's ironic premise story about a nasty wine connoisseur, Crider's easy-to-solve puzzler about a sheriff who likes peach ice cream, and Collins's well-written but very predictable premise story about the secret ingredient served at a bed and breakfast.

Below these, I would rank Satterthwait's semi-amusing premise story (which mixes up voluntary and involuntary muscles) and Benton's rather lame premise story about a woman who does not wish to move to another house.

And five stories I felt were a waste of time were by Joyce Christmas, M. D. Lake, Peter Crowther, Joyce Carol Oates, and Nedra Tyre. Christmas's little puzzler/"heroic fantasy" starring Lady Margaret Priam is tepid and implausible; Lake's premise story (another "revenge fantasy" about another mystery writer getting the better of an enemy--this time a fornicating plagiarist) is lame and very implausible, despite the fact that it won an AGATHA in 1998; and Tyre's premise story about a serial poisoner is lame and boring. Most disappointing to me, Oates's moral-deterioration story is long-winded, stylistically pretentious--and lifeless. Finally, Crowther's ironic premise story about one gangster poisoning another with elemental sodium (to make that person explode) is vividly erotic in a couple passages, but it capsizes because of its predictable ending--and because of its author's totally erroneous knowledge of basic chemistry (trust me here--to verify my own views about this, I emailed two doctors, a chemist, a chemistry professor, and a chemical engineer, and I will be happy to discuss this aspect more fully in the "comment" section of this review).

Another way of summarizing my views is that I've given out four A's, three B's, four C's, two D's, and five F's. Among the factors considered are the authors' cleverness and originality, their ability to pace themselves and stay on track, the appropriateness and vividness of the styles in their narration and dialogue, and the plausibility of the various characters and events within their stories.

As a supposed bonus, this anthology contains real-life recipes at the end of each of the stories. And (as one might expect in an anthology involving murder and food) at least one story involves cannibalism.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad, bad bad! Jan. 4 2010
By Martha Littlejohn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this mystery collection because Rex Stout is one of the authors included, but none of the other writers are worthy to carry his empty beer-cap. The recipes might be worthwhile, but that's the only reason I gave this dud even one star. Too bulky to use for propping up wobbly tables - I can't imagine any household wanting to have this waste of paper on its shelves.
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