There ought to be a website that warns overeaters away from potentially dangerous books, much the way parental movie guides vet PG videos.
I mean, I know enough to avoid a title like The Chocolate Snowman Murders when I’m in the middle of a weight-loss contest. But I was completely blindsided by Gyles Brandreth’s Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance.
It’s a great period piece, all the more so because the three main characters in this mystery — Wilde, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Robert Sherard, the great-grandson of the English poet William Wordsworth — actually knew each other in real life.
The whodunnit scenario works pretty well, too. But I was completely unprepared for all the feasting that takes place. The only thing that saved me from a major pigout was that, in this novel, at least, Wilde‘s idea of decadent dining is way too flesh-oriented for my tastes:
After lunching on a plate “piled high with oysters and dressed crab, smoked fish and cold cuts, scoops of savory jellies, slices of game pie, pickles mayonaise, mustard, bread, and cheese,” followed by a bit of detective work, Wilde convinces Sherard to join him at the Savoy Hotel for late afternoon tea and muffins, “plus buttered crumpets and anchovy toast, not forgetting the hock and seltzer….”
My Grandpa Decker would‘ve drooled over such a spread (though he would’ve been outraged by Wilde in every other respect). I’m just glad London had no pizzerias or Starbucks in those days!
What books make you hungry?