If you attended Taste of Minnesota in its heyday, you appreciate the concept of sampling foods from the region's finest chefs at a single event. "Cooked to Death" may be the latest literary equivalent. Think of these stories as small plates from some of the region's most popular writers.

This clever anthology gathers delightfully wicked short works from 17 Midwestern authors, serving up mystery and murderous intrigue with an occasional side of the macabre. Contributing writers include Ellen Hart, Carl Brookins, Marilyn Jax, David Housewright and Molly MacRae. Most stay true to their signature writing styles, from quaint to cozy to calculating to downright creepy.

It's an eclectic smorgasbord of story-telling talent. And as a bonus, each snack-sized tale features a recipe at the end.

This book never takes itself too seriously, either from a crime-solving or a culinary standpoint. (One of the recipes is for cocktail wienies.)

The result is fast-reading, tongue-in-cheek entertainment. You're sure to come away hungry for more.

Ginny Greene is a mystery-loving copy editor at the Star Tribune.

Cooked to Death
Edited by: Rhonda Gilliland and Michael Allan Mallory.
Publisher: Nodin Press, 207 pages, $16.95.
Events: Book launch, 7 p.m. Thu., Once Upon a Crime, Mpls.; 7 p.m. Aug. 18, Bierstube, Hastings, sponsored by Chapter 2 Books of Hudson, Wis.