Peter King Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Peter King has contributed a light, witty entertaining mystery series to the culinary mystery subgenre. His novels are filled with recipes, culinary trivia, details of food preparation and ethnic cooking, and information about the everyday functioning of a gourmet restaurant’s kitchen. Each work takes readers on both a food-oriented tour and a tour of an interesting locale, such as New Orleans or the vineyards of Provence, France. The Gourmet Detective mysteries have received enthusiastic praise from mystery readers and critics for their unique combination of a well-written mystery with an informative discussion of food preparation and recipes.

King’s Jack London series combines the historical mystery with the thriller and real-life characters with fictional events in mysteries that both entertain and inform the reader. King has enjoyed the same enthusiastic response to this series as he has to his Gourmet Detective series. The first novel of the series, Jewel of the North (2001), was named a Top Pick by Romantic Times magazine.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Cannon, Peter, and Jeff Zaleski. Review of Dine and Die on the Danube Express, by Peter King. Publishers Weekly 250, no. 20 (May 19, 2003): 56. Review of Gourmet Detective novel in which the detective rides a luxury train from Munich to the Black Sea coast of Romania, investigating the disappearance of a Hungarian actress. Reviewers praise the travelogue and food descriptions but find the mystery plot thin.

Croan, Robert. “Delicious Mystery Is Served ’Al Dente’ on a Silver Plate.” Review of Death al Dente, by Peter King. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 26, 1999, p. 2. The Gourmet Detective travels to Italy to help a famous actor create a great Italian restaurant in London and ends up being attacked by a herd of buffalo and a monk. Reviewer finds the work amusing but light on plot.

DeCandido, GraceAnne A. Review of Roux the Day, by Peter King. Booklist 98, no. 18 (May 15, 2002): 1579. Reviewer of this Gourmet Detective novel set in New Orleans praises King’s description of ingredients and finds it a light and pleasant mystery.

Kershaw, Alex. Jack London: A Life. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1999. Good source for the real life and character of Jack London. Discusses his careers and his devotion to socialism and environmental protection. Also examines him as a writer. Provides knowledge of the real London to contrast with King’s fictionalized version.

Lambert, Pam. Review of The Gourmet Detective, by Peter King. People Weekly, June 10, 1996, 38. Reviewer likes the culinary humor and trivia included in the first of the Gourmet Detective series novels and finds the work pleasant light reading.

Scaggs, John. Crime Fiction. New York: Routledge, 2005. Contains a chapter on mystery and detective fiction that looks at settings and subgenres as well as a chapter on historical crime fiction. Gives a perspective from which to understand King’s writing.