Jeanne Cooney, humorist and author of the popular Hot Dish Heaven mystery series, will provide a tongue-in-cheek look at writing and life in rural Minnesota when she speaks at a public hot-dish supper at the American Legion in Redwood Falls April 22.

The supper begins at 5:30 p.m., with music by Pam Arentson.

This supper and discussion caps off this year’s county-wide read-a-thon, during which nearly 200 area residents read Cooney’s “A Potluck of Mystery and Recipes.” 

In addition to “A Potluck of Murder and Recipes,” Cooney’s humorist mysteries include “A Hot Dish of Murder and Recipes” and “A Second Helping of Murder and Recipes.”

These fictitious stories, published by North Star, are set in the Red River Valley of northwestern Minnesota, home to an array of colorful, Scandinavian characters.

Along with an old-fashioned, make-believe, who-done-it, each story includes lots of Minnesota references, time-honored hot dish, Jell-O, and bar recipes, as well as a few Ole and Lena jokes. While the books may be read as a series, they also stand on their own.

Cooney is a popular speaker at conferences and community gatherings, and she is a Minnesota Artist in Residence, available to teach humor writing to students of all ages. Cooney and her off-beat books have been featured on Twin Cities’ television and radio as well as in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Fargo Forum and the Minot Daily News, among other midwest newspapers.

What’s more, Minnesota Public Radio has named her one of a handful of authors to read if interested in Minnesota-based mysteries. All three of her books have hit number one nationally on Amazon, in the rural humor category. Mpls-St. Paul Magazine said of Cooney’s first book, “What makes this book so fun is Cooney’s ability to spit out phrases such as ‘uff-da’ and dish out recipes such as Jell-O Salad and Tater-Tot Hot Dish faster than you can say, ‘Yah, ya betcha.’”

Midwest Book Review said of “A Potluck of Murder and Recipes,” the final book in the series, “It’s another terrific and original mystery from the pen of Jeanne Cooney and once again documents her complete mastery of the genre.”

At the Redwood Falls event, all three books in the Hot Dish Heaven series will be available for sale, and Cooney will be happy to autograph them. They sell for just $14.95 each and make great gifts for the humorist, mystery buff, or cook. (Remember, Mother’s Day is approaching.)

When asked about the success of the series, Cooney said, “These books won’t prompt deep thinking, but, hopefully, they’ll make you laugh, and you might even find a recipe or two that you want to try. And, that alone will make me darn happy, don’t ya know.”

The April 22 supper and discussion is free but registration is needed.

Call the Redwood Falls Public Library at (507) 616-7420.