It could be argued that there’s not much better than cozying up with a good book and a warm beverage, especially on days when we might all need a little extra comfort. In fact, there’s a genre of books practically designed for this purpose. Enter: the cozy mystery. Often featuring doddering little old ladies (think Miss Marple) who turn out to be quite clever, cozy mysteries are designed to have just enough intrigue to keep you guessing, but not so much that you can’t sleep at night. Best read in front of a crackling fire with tea in hand and cat on lap, there are plenty of cozy mysteries to fill up the chilly spring evenings we’ve been having lately.
Today, let’s discuss The Outsmarting of Criminals by Steven Rigolosi. Published in 2014, it was selected as an Oprah’s Book Club “Top Five Mysteries” Editor’s Pick. The story follows fifty-something-ish Felicity Prim. After being mugged in New York City, Miss Prim takes a self-defense course, persuades a younger friend to purchase her a Laser Taser 3000, and moves to the small New England town of Greenfield, Connecticut to become a “criminal outsmarter.”
Vibrant, outgoing, and known for her baking skills, Miss Prim soon wins over many, if not all, of the town’s inhabitants—the dashing detective, the reticent barkeep, and the eccentric bookshop owner among them. As the story develops, the cast of clever and whimsical characters explore mysteries both personal and public, building to a satisfyingly twisty conclusion.
This book pairs nicely with Miss Prim’s hot beverage of choice, Earl Grey tea. You might even decide to top it with some lemon sugar, though you won’t be able to find the Mrs. Mallowan’s variety Miss Prim is so fond of (Mallowan being a reference to Agatha Christie’s husband Max Mallowan). For those who prefer a chilled beverage, try the recipe for Junusakey Lemonade included at the back of the book. This reader also recommends having the recipe for your favorite cinnamon rolls on hand, as the fourth or fifth mention of Miss Prim’s baked goods may have you craving something sweet.
Do you have a favorite book and beverage pairing? Tell us about it!