With Thanksgiving now less than two weeks away, a lot of us are beginning to look forward to our own traditional Thanksgiving day feasts. As mystery lovers, we might also want to think about mysteries highlighting great American meals - particularly those featuring turkeys.
And - no surprise - the first name that comes to mind is that gourmet/gourmand of distinction, Nero Wolfe. While Rex Stout's novel "Too Many Cooks" doesn't take place over Thanksgiving, the feast served up in the book at the Kanawha Spa in West Virginia on April 7th, 1937, to the members of "Les Quinze Maitres," an association of master chefs, is American all the way through. Consider the menu:
Oysters Baked in the Shell
Pan Broiled Young Turkey
Rice Croquettes with Quince Jelly
Lima Beans in Cream
Wisconsin Dairy Cheese
It is never made clear in the course of this novel precisely how anyone is supposed to be able to walk away from the table after consuming all this superb food. But then, this is a murder mystery, so some degree of unreality is only to be expected. And since Nero Wolfe uses an after-dinner speech as the occasion to roll out his solution to a particularly nasty murder, it seems quite fitting to enjoy reading about the meal on a mystery lover's Thanksgiving.