Death Brackets: The Clichés of Crime, The Winner! Or Loser as the case may be.

Why do you hate moi and culinary sleuths?The readers have spoken. After a list that started with eight of the worst offenders in the world of crime cliches, we have our winner. Or our loser, depending on how you look at it.

To recap: We started off pitting hit men against serial killers, the idea of riding the coattails of Sherlock Holmes against the fabled and fated “one last job”, put the alcoholic P.I. up against the old school Italian mafia and let the paranormal crime solvers duke it out with the culinary sleuths.

The voting was at times razor thin, and other times wide open as a slashed throat. But we’ve come down to it and the one worn-out trope you, the readers, would like to see done away with is—

The Culinary Sleuth!

So this is our call to the authors who set murders in pie shops, coffee houses, bakeries, tea rooms, high class Manhattan eateries or out of the way cheese shops – turn off the oven and step out of the kitchen.

Some readers expressed a rather vitriolic response to the types of books that include a recipe at the end, after the killer has been revealed (as if our appetites were worked up by reading about death). Other seemed merely bored, as if the novelty had worn off.

In a close second were the dreaded serial killers, but even they and their multiple-murderous ways did not engender as much hatred as the sweet old ladies and unassuming sleuths who populate the pages of the culinary mystery sub-genre.

Not that we won’t come to love you again, you cooks with justice on your minds. But maybe it’s time to take a break. All that cheese and chocolate is making us . . . whatever the readerly equivalent is to being fat and diabetic.
So there you have it folks. Thanks to everyone who voted and expressed an unvarnished opinion. Now get back to gleefully reading about hit men, alcoholic private eyes and psychic crime solvers. And if you get a little hungry as you read, and maybe want a nice quiche recipe after you’re done, remember you asked for them to go away.

Eric Beetner is the author of Dig Two Graves, Split Decision (Book #3 in the Fight Card series) and co-author with JB Kohl of One Too Many Blows To The Head and Borrowed Trouble. His award-winning short fiction has appeared in Pulp Ink, D*cked, Off The Record, Grimm Tales, Discount Noir, Needle, Murder In The Wind and the upcoming Million Writers Award: best new online voices. For more and links to free stories visit

Read all Eric Beetner’s posts for Criminal Element.


  1. Laura K. Curtis

    You know, back in the 70s? 80s? I read an excellent book called Someone Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe. It had it all…culinary sleuths, a serial killer, recipes… I should go find it and read it again.

  2. Becky Hantsbarger

    Thank you for the fat-free chuckle!

  3. Elizabeth A White

    Ok, that picture is hilarious… and makes me feel guilty for voting the way I did.

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