Help me welcome Nancy J. Cohen to the blog today. She is sharing with us her new book, “A Bad Hair Day Cookbook: Recipes from Nancy J. Cohen’s Cozy Mystery Series.” Savor Nancy’s guest post, Mysteries and Cookbooks then scroll down to the tour section to click the big red button for your chance to win Nancy’s Kitchen Gift Basket including a signed copy of A BAD HAIR DAY COOKBOOK, novelty kitchen utensils, pumpkin pie recipe dishtowel, Hawaiian apron, sparkly sponge, fall harvest pasta. While you are there, take advantage of other tour stops offering great reviews of the book, more engaging guest posts from Nancy and previews of recipes from the cookbook.
Mysteries and Cookbooks
by Nancy J. Cohen
Mysteries and cookbooks belong side-by-side on your bookshelves. The joy of food balances the nightmare of murder. Think about the funeral feast. After a day of sorrow, people gather together to celebrate life and to share a meal as a community.
Dr. Christine A. Jackson, the author of Myth and Ritual in Women’s Detective Fiction, says: “After untimely death unleashes chaos in fiction, recipe rituals, meal routines, and dining etiquette offer a semblance of civility to restore balance. Foods both exotic and familiar pepper The Bad Hair Day novels. A Bad Hair Day Cookbook guides the reader through these menus that counteract murder.”
Death represents darkness while food represents light. We seek comfort foods while under stress. Eating our favorite meal provides positive emotions that counteract the strain of sadness. Many of us have fond memories of our mothers or grandmas bustling in the kitchen as we were growing up. This nurturing instinct makes us want to feed our loved ones. It helps them thrive, and this, in turn, supports our role of bringing new life into the world and keeping our young ones healthy.
People often socialize around food and drinks, which is especially important in a mystery. These scenes not only uplift us, but they provide opportunities for the sleuth to review suspects with her sidekick or to question persons of interest. My hairstylist sleuth, Marla Vail, will often meet her friend Tally or her mother for lunch. They’ll discuss personal issues as well as murder suspects, deepening characterization while providing a necessary review for readers. These scenes are important to the story because they also give us a relief from tension. Our characters need downtime the same as we do in real life.
Culinary mysteries are a highly popular subgenre. Food is the antithesis to murder, so what better pairing is there for these stories? Here’s an excerpt from A Bad Hair Day Cookbook that’s taken from Hair Raiser, one of my mystery novels. This scene illustrates how food and cooking can lead to information about suspects.
“Let’s go have dessert over at the Seafood Emporium,” Marla suggested after she and Nicole had both finished a generous portion of moussaka. When their attentive waiter approached holding out a platter with a delectable array of sweets, she shook her head, declining the temptation of a syrupy slice of baklava. “We’re not far from the other restaurant, so we might as well stop in there to see Max. He’s next on my list.”
“Hey, girl, I’m going to get fat going out with you,” Nicole complained.
Marla pretended to scrutinize her friend’s narrow waistline. “I don’t think so. You’re one of those disgusting people who never gains weight.”
Max was preparing a sauce to go with grilled trout when they entered his kitchen. “Hey, ladies,” the lean young man said while he whisked cream into a boiling mixture of dry white wine, balsamic vinegar, and minced shallots. When the cream had blended in, he added diced tomatoes. Marla recognized the ingredients from her gourmet cooking days when she was married to Stan. Now she had little time to cook, let alone follow recipes.
“This is Nicole. We stopped in for some dessert,” Marla explained. “As long as we’re here, I’d like to confirm your arrangements for Taste of the World.”
Max cut a chunk of butter into the sauce, his wrist rotating with rapid, deft movements.
“Everything is fine.” A curl of hair fell forward onto his forehead as he bent over to sniff the aroma emanating from the pan.
“You haven’t heard from anyone else about the event?”
“Nope. Been too busy.” He cast a furtive glance around the room. “You gals will have to excuse me, but I don’t have time to chat. We’re short one cook tonight, and I’ve got to do my own prep work. Y’all go on and enjoy your dessert.”
He walked away from them, ostensibly to get some ingredients to add to his dish, but Marla had the distinct impression they were being dismissed. Was he being less talkative than usual because others were present? Maybe she’d corner him another time when they could be alone.
Food is central to many scenes in an amateur sleuth story. So get cooking, either in your own kitchen or in the pages of a juicy mystery novel. And check out my new cookbook that combines both of these themes. You’ll want to add a copy to your bookshelves at home.
About The Book:
Are you having a bad hair day? Whip out your whisk, snatch up your spoon, and prepare your palate. Inside the pages of this cookbook are recipes that will bring you good cheer.
Enjoy 160+ tasty recipes from Nancy J. Cohen’s popular Bad Hair Day cozy mystery series. Included in this cookbook are excerpts, cooking tips, and anecdotes written by hairstylist and savvy sleuth Marla Vail. From appetizers to desserts, Marla offers cooking tips and tricks along with commentary about the dishes she prepares for her family. Whether you’re a skilled cook or an eager novice, this cookbook will unravel the mystery of cooking. Put on your apron and plan to make some killer recipes. Bonuses Include:
•Meet the Sleuth
•Introduction by Marla Vail
•Excerpts from Series Titles
•Themed Menu Suggestions
•“A Sabbath Dinner” by Nancy’s Mother
For Home Cooks, Food Lovers, Mystery Fans and Cookbook Collectors
Recipes are listed in these categories:
ENTREES – BEEF
ENTREES – LAMB
ENTREES – POULTRY
ENTREES – FISH
ENTREES – VEGETARIAN
“Reading through this cookbook has revived my interest in getting back in the kitchen.” Rhonda Gilliland, Author and Editor of the Cooked to Death Series
“Designed for busy cooks who may not be out solving crimes, but whose time is equally challenged.” Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review
“Mysteries and cookbooks belong side by side on readers’ shelves. A Bad Hair Day Cookbook serves up both food and justice.” Christine A. Jackson, Ph.D., Author of Myth and Ritual in Women’s Detective Fiction
About The Author:
Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have been named Best Cozy Mystery by Suspense Magazine, won a Readers’ Favorite gold medal, placed first in the Chanticleer International Book Awards and third in the Arizona Literary Awards. Nancy’s instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery, was nominated for an Agatha Award and won a gold medal at the President’s Book Awards from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys cooking, fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and shopping.
Tour and Giveaway:
November 20 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – GUEST POST
November 20 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
November 21 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
November 21 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
November 22 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
November 22 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
November 22 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
November 23 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 23 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT
November 23 – Ruff Drafts – RECIPE, SPOTLIGHT
November 24 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
November 24 – Nadaness In Motion – SPOTLIGHT
November 25 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
November 25 – This Is My Truth Now – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 26 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW, RECIPE
November 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
November 26 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
November 27 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 27 – eBook addicts – REVIEW
November 27 – Diary of a Book Fiend – REVIEW
November 28 – THANKSGIVING – OFF
November 29 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, RECIPE
November 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – REVIEW
November 30 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 30 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
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