Thursday, July 11, 2013

Recipe for Murder

What if you had a story that needed a recipe before it could be published? That was the situation I found myself in many years ago.

So, when today’s #wanafriday blog post challenge was chosen: Give your favorite recipe and story to go with it, I had to be a bit vice-versa, (because that’s the way I tend to be anyway) and start with my favorite story that needed a recipe.

When we started our local chapter of Sisters-in-Crime  a long time ago we also started a short story contest called The Coveted Dead Bird (emphasis on the coveted part for who wouldn’t want a fake, upside down, Poe-like black bird on a trophy?). It was to encourage our budding writers to start writing and submitting—me being one.

Long story short, I wrote a short story for the contest. I didn’t win but re-submitted that story to a German branch of Sisters-in-Crime who was putting together an anthology of short stories. The catch was, it had to have a recipe to go with it—which was perfect because poison was my means for the murder (means, motive and opportunity being the necessary aspects of a murder mystery). It was accepted for publication.

The story takes place in the restaurant where we Sisters held our meetings, the now-defunct Daily Planet which we all loved for its art deco interior (with booths and velvet curtains on them for privacy), an ideal setting for a murder (heh, heh, she cackles and rubs her hands together).

I found my method of poison while researching the effects of the Jimson Weed which grows wild along the highways (Datura). The plant puts out little black seeds that are deadly.

I read an article about a family that had gathered some of these seeds and left them to dry on the window sill above their stove (it has a pretty, trumpet-like white flower and I can only guess they wanted to plant them around their property). You can see where this is going—the seeds fell into the food cooking on the stove but the mother picked them out of the dish and served it anyway.

Deadly decision—they all died.

But, a perfect means for a murder, don’t you think? 

All I needed now was a recipe that disguised the black seeds. My protagonist waitress at the Daily Planet had to be able to sprinkle them on her two-timing (motive) husband’s favorite dish that he always ordered when he came in with his ‘bimbo’ girlfriend—opportunity.

What dish has cracked black peppercorns liberally sprinkled on top that could hide the Datura seeds? Steak au Poivre (Peppercorn Steak). Not exactly a favorite of mine—but it made for a good story.

If you want to try it (minus the Datura seeds of course) here are a few recipes:

Have you ever written a short story or murder mystery? What was your inspiration?

Now go visit the other #wanafriday writers who are participating in this theme on their blogs and see what they have come up with.  (They will be added as they put up their posts on Friday and Saturday.)

Ellen Gregory - gives the most yummy sounding recipe for chocolate pudding.
Janice Hall Heck - and how about another chocolate dream dessert?
Kim Moser Griffin - meatballs and what?
Liv Rancourt - a recipe you can't eat
Seth Swanson - awesomesauce
Tami Clayton - favorite soup from Fez medina


Ellen Gregory said...

Well, the prompt did say to share a story with your recipe, so I'd say you nailed it! Remind me never to have dinner at your house...

Kim Griffin said...

A great story, Cora! And a useful tip on how to murder by steak ;)

Liv Rancourt said...

Steak! Yum!
(I think...)

Anonymous said...

Steak without seeds, please. What time is dinner?

Michele Powers said...

You used to meet at the Daily Planet? How cool! Marie Callendars must seem so boring. ..

Cora said...

I promise never to serve steak.

Cora said...

That would have been a great title, Murder by Steak. Thanks.

Cora said...

Yes, it does pale by comparison. We all so loved that place.

Tami Clayton said...

Great story to go with your recipe, or as you say at the beginning of your post, the recipe that goes with your story. I'm not a meat-eater so I won't be sampling this recipe, but I will now be on the look out for anything served with black seeds. ;)

Unknown said...

This was funny. I'm not sure ill be eating steak for a bit....

elizabethfais said...

Simply sinister! Agatha Christy would LOVE it. :-)