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Margie Orford

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Cats in Crime Fiction: Pesky Plot Problem or Tactile Treat?

No one has ever asked me how to commit murder, but given my research, this is a subject in which I am better qualified than baking.

But the people who write to columnists clearly prefer cooking to crime, so I was inundated with recipe requests after last week’s column. It was Mark Twain who pointed out that “clothes make the man. Naked people have no influence upon society.” This is not true in the case of Jamie Oliver, whose orange and polenta biscuit recipe I nicked from The Naked Chef.

I’d say eat them with espresso made in an Italian stovetop percolator rather than those poncy coffee machines that look like something from Star Trek and that you need a degree in mechanical engineering to operate.

Coffee, by the way, is a crime essential. Barbara Nadel, who has a delightful series featuring an Istanbul detective, wrote to me saying she had checked on her put-upon lead only to find that she never fed the poor man. All he did was smoke and drink coffee. Considering that he is the father of 11 children, if I remember correctly, he might appreciate the biscuits.


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