• Inspector Clouseau

Mystery Solved: Why Literature’s Greatest Detectives Are All Obsessed With Food.

Updated: May 6

From Hercule Poirot to Nero Wolfe, what it meant to be a “foodie” in a world of crime.

by Mackensie Griffin Aug

Illustrations by Cryssy Cheung

One day, while scrolling through Twitter, a post from Kitchen Arts & Letters caught my eye. The renowned New York City bookstore was selling a “Nancy Drew Cookbook” from the ’70s, written by Nancy Drew author Carolyn Keene “herself.” (Keene was the pseudonym of several ghostwriters, male and female, who wrote the beloved mysteries over the years.) As a fan of Nancy Drew, retro recipes, and any intersection of food and literature, I found it too good to pass up.

When it arrived a few days later, I found I had purchased a cookbook that seemed to be written from Nancy’s perspective. Peppered with cooking “clues” and recipe titles like “Captive Biscuits” and “Dancing Puppet Parfait,” the book was a charmingly cheesy interpretation of Nancy Drew as someone who was interested in cooking, even though she doesn’t spend much time dwelling on food in the novels. Thankfully, she never made the horrifying recipes — muffins made with mayonnaise, “peanut butter soup” — featured in the cookbook.

But as fate would have it, the acquisition of this book prompted a family friend to give me two more cookbooks based on fictional detective series, Lord Peter Wimsey by Dorothy L. Sayers and Nero Wolfe by Rex Stout, dragging me deeper into a world of food and mystery. more...