I’ve always loved a good murder, especially a light-hearted one, i.e. Midsomer Murder-esque. I especially like those in which the investigator is female. I’m not sure why that is, maybe because I find them easier to relate to.
I started with Miss Marple, then moved on to Agatha Raisin, both of which I’m extremely fond, but my favourite by far is Sadie Hoffmiller. She is the character created by American author, Josi S. Kilpack. Sadie is a middle-aged, ‘normal’ woman who seems to find herself involved in many a mystery, from murders to disappearances.
In the same way that Jessica Fletcher, the super speedy typewriter from the 80’s ‘Murder She Wrote’ series, is likeable, so is Sadie. She’s a mum of two grown up children, lives in suburbia and has a retired police detective for a fiance, which comes in very handy when investigating a plethora of crimes.
I discovered Josi S. Kilpack and her heroine by accident while waiting for the toilet in a cafe called Sweet Mermaids in Ketchikan, Alaska (as one who does). There was one one of those turney book merchandising units where I was standing and there were quite a few books on it, but bizarrely they were all the same – tens of copies of ‘Baked Alaska’.
I picked it up to read the blurb and although it cost a lot (twice as much as it would have in the UK – perhaps due to shipping costs to Alaska?), I knew I needed it in my life!
It had two major ingredients that appealed: a murder mystery plus, and this is amazing, recipes! What a winning combination. Basically, Josi S. Kilpack writes her novels with a key difference – that every so often we hear about what Sadie is eating – and of course it ain’t burgers n chips. No. It’s usually exciting foods relevant to the location she’s in. Then – and this excites me – then, we get the recipe for it. How brilliant is that?!
Another interesting element to Josi’s stories is that they involve Sadie travelling – whether it be within the States or further afield. In addition to ‘Baked Alaska’ I’ve read ‘English Trifle’ – trip to England of course, a stately home no less; ‘Rocky Road’ where Sadie travels to Utah – very interesting; and Fortune Cookie, which is based in San Francisco’s China Town. So not only do you feel that you’ve read a good old yarn, you’ve also, in your head at least, travelled somewhere rather exotic, and discovered something about the cuisine there – a recipe for reading success I’d say!
I’m pacing myself with the Sadie Hoffmiller series as Josi has finished writing them and, if what I’ve read is true, isn’t planning on writing any more. Such a shame! I’m going to be sad when I’ve finished them all so I’m taking my time, but ‘Banana Split’ is staring back at me from the shelf and it’s very tempting.
I was waiting so long for the toilet in the Sweet Mermaid that I gave up in the end so I never did get to see what the loo looked like, but I did discover something much more exciting, and I’m delighted I did!
Find out more about Josi S. Kilner here: http://www.josiskilpack.com/.
Most of the titles appear to be available on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=josi+s+kilpack
It even inspired me to attempt to make a Baked Alaska, which is what this picture shows. I have to admit there is a recipe for this in the book but I chose one out of my much loved Howdens cookery book, mainly because it looked almost impossible and I like a culinary challenge! They actually look much more impressive than they taste (bit bland really) but it’s a show-stopper at a dinner party!