Oline H. Cogdill

gourmetdetective hallmark
Back in the late 1990s, Peter King wrote a series of amusing, well-plotted novels about the Gourmet Detective, whose British business revolved around seeking rare ingredients and finding markets interested in unusual foods and wines.

This profession made The Gourmet Detective—we never found out his real name—a different kind of sleuth and also offered a different window to the culinary mystery. The books' plots were engrossing and included bits of lore and history about myriad ingredients and regions.

King, a Cordon Bleu–trained chef, and a retired metallurgist, wrote eight novels in The Gourmet Detective series, as well as three historical mysteries starring Jack London.

So I was greatly pleased when Hallmark Movies & Mysteries added The Gourmet Detective to its lineup of made-for-TV mystery movies.

Death Al Dente: A Gourmet Detective Mystery premieres Sunday, October 9, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, on Hallmark. Encores are to be expected.

The first two Gourmet Detective movies were quite well done and Death Al Dente continues those high standards.The plot is solid, the chemistry between the leads read and there is just a soupcon of humor to add to the mix. Death Al Dente briskly moves during its two-hour story.

And The Gourmet Detective finally has a name—Henry Ross. His occupation also is different in the films. Now Henry is a former world-class chef who helps the San Francisco Police Department on crimes that involve food.

And this being San Francisco—a world-class foodie city—there are a lot of crimes that involve food. Without giving anything away, I so wanted that last shot in San Francisco's Chinatown to be of a real Chinese restaurant.

Death Al Dente again pairs up Henry, winningly played by Dylan Neal (Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove, Dawson’s Creek, Arrow) and San Francisco homicide detective Maggie Price, nicely played by Brooke Burns (The Chase).

This time the pair investigates the murder of Henry’s old friend, Leo, another well-known chef who was shot in his home kitchen. This shooting follows a recent break-in at his home. While Leo (Ben Wilkinson) survives the shooting, he later dies in the hospital. A family secret, a man who may be stalking Maggie, and the burgeoning relationship between Henry and Maggie play into the plot.

And of course, there are a good number of salivating food scenes as well as those that involve food discussions. After all, it takes a gourmet detective to pause during an interrogation to ask about a recipe.

Death Al Dente: A Gourmet Detective Mystery premieres Sunday, October 9, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Running time: two hours.

Photo: Brooke Burns, Dylan Neal in Death al Dente: A Gourmet Detective Mystery Photo courtesy Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Marcel Williams