Released last week Delicious and Suspicious, the first in a series of mysteries revolving around Aunt Pat’s, a fictional Memphis barbecue restaurant.
The book is by author Elizabeth Spann Craig, writing under the name Riley Adams. Craig, a Georgia native who now lives in North Carolina, took the time to answer a few questions for Hungry Memphis.
Why a Memphis barbecue mystery?
Memphis has this incredibly rich culture of food, music, and Southern quirkiness that added up to the perfect setting. At Aunt Pat’s barbecue restaurant, I’ve tried embodying the fun and flavor of the town for my readers. Including recipes and food in traditional mysteries adds a real element of fun and local color for readers from all over the country. I’ve heard from mystery fans from all over America who are looking forward to a glimpse into Memphis.
What kind of research did you do for the book?
Oh, I suffer for my art! I had a wonderful trip to Memphis, hosted by residents Ann and John Haire. I spent a lot of time on Beale Street and ate some mouth-wateringly delicious food, and listened to blues music. I also spent a lot of time touring more of the residential sections of the city and learning some of its history from residents and book research. I absolutely loved researching this book.
This is the first in a series. Will all the books revolve around barbecue?
In the second book of the series, to launch early next year, Lulu puts aside her barbecue tongs to investigate when one of her best friends is suspected of murder. The trail to the killer leads Lulu from bluesy Beale Street to a snazzy lake house soiree, to a wedding right on the grounds of Graceland...and finally to a murderer who has kept just barely out of reach.
Tell me about the recipes in the book.
In Delicious and Suspicious, I invite my readers to “put some South in their mouth”! I’ve got recipes for red beans and rice, Southern-style potato salad, breakfast casserole, pulled pork barbecue and sauce, spicy corn muffins, country-fried steaks, and gingerbread. As a lifelong Southerner, I was delighted to share some of our Southern culture through recipes and descriptions of food in the book—here, food is about friendship, community and comfort.
Finally, in Delicious and Suspicious ... whodunnit?
Well, let’s put it this way—any of the suspects could have done it, so readers should be surprised at the end! Lulu just hopes it’s not one of her family—but she means to get to the bottom of it. When a food scout from a cable cooking channel is murdered, it's only natural for Lulu to take it personally. After all, her barbecue restaurant served the scout's last meal. But danger lurks as Lulu investigates the crime. Will she clear the restaurant's name, or is she next to be skewered?
Delicious and Suspicious is available on Amazon.
Elizabeth Spann Craig blogs at mysterywritingismurder.