About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Recipes and Menus in Spy Thrillers

One of the unexpected pleasures of reading Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews which I reviewed in my last post was the inclusion of a recipe at the end of each chapter for a dish that had been eaten earlier in the chapter.

The recipes were for all types of food. As an example the recipe at the end of Chapter One was for Old Lady’s Beet Soup:

Melt butter in a large pot; add a chopped onion and sauté until translucent; stir in three grated beets and one chopped tomato. Pour in beef stock, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Broth shoud be tart and sweet. Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and chopped dill.

The recipes come from different ethnic cuisnes. One of the most interesting to me was Afghan Pumpkin.

I came to look forward to seeing what food what would be featured in each chapter.

As I was reading the book I thought back to a mystery or thriller I had read over 30 years ago that also included recipes through the book.

With a bit of research I found the book, The Monte Cristo Cover-Up also published as It Can’t Always be Caviar by Johannes Mario Simmel. It turned out not be menus to start each chapter with recipes throughout the book.

WW II Spy Thomas Lievens is a gourmand, a word far more elegant than foodie, who provides the menus.

One of the menus is:

Lady Curzon Soup
Paprika Chicken
Clara Salad
Apple Hedgehog with Wine Custard
Toast and Cheese

The spies ate very well in each book.


  1. Bill - Oh, that's interesting! I've often heard of or read cosy mysteries with recipes, and there are some other mysteries too - not so much thought of as cosies - that have recipes. But I've never heard of a spy thriller with recipes. Yet more reason for me to check this one out.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Spies and recipes are words I often think of in the same sentence.