Chocolate Brownies from Prayer for the Dead by James Oswald

January 12, 2016

These gooey chocolate brownies are inspired by the book Prayer for the Dead by James Oswald.

One good thing about having time off over the Christmas holidays was I had a chance to catch up on my reading pile. Along with the reading pile I also have a list of recipes that I have come across whilst reading. A little while ago I read Prayer for the Dead by James Oswald. This is a crime thriller set in Edinburgh and is the fifth book in the series featuring DI Tony McLean. I haven’t read the other books in the series but that did not make any difference. The story is standalone.

Penguin books

Reporter Jo Dalgleish is not one of Tony’s favourite people, he has had run ins with her before. When she asks him to help find her colleague who has disappeared he can’t really refuse. The investigative journalist is found dead, naked with his throat cut and the blood drained from his body. What makes the case more mysterious is that he has been found in a mysterious man made cave system, located beneath the village of Gilmerton south of the city. The blood splatters on the walls resemble masonic symbols. When more bodies are found the pressure is on to solve the case before the papers start talking about a serial killer.

Alongside this DI Tony McLean has his own problems. He is trying to fend off a pair of disreputable property sharks. They have their eye on the flat he owns in a ruined tenement building and he does not want to sell. He has also been asked by a friend, transvestite fortune-teller Madam Rose to find out who is trying to drive her out of her home. They have killed one of her cats and are generally making life unpleasant. The pressure is on, will DI Tony McLean solve the case before more people are killed.

The book is enjoyable and keeps you turning the pages until you reach the unexpected ending. The solution is enigmatic and relates to DI Tony McLean’s past in a rather unexpected way. While there is a lot of emphasis on police procedure, there is also a touch of the supernatural as well as a few more light hearted moments. A Prayer for the Dead is perfect reading material on these darker nights.

Chocolate brownies

When I am reading books I like to look for food references so I can try and recreate the recipe at home. There were a couple of food references in the book but the one that caught my eye was a reference to chocolate brownies. After all who can resist a chocolate brownie. The reference comes when the reporter Jo Dagliesh meets up with DI Tony McLean in a cafe.

“You are all heart, you know that Inspector”? Dagleish hobbled in though the cafe door as he held it open, heading straight for an empty chair. McLean went to the counter and placed his order trying to remember what the reporter had drunk last time. It must have been right or she just didn’t care as she greedily slurped the latte he bought over to the table a few minutes later, eyeing up the pair of chocolate brownies he had added for good measure.

The problem with chocolate brownies is that they are really tasty, gooey and filled with chocolate. One bite and you want more. Needless to say the plate of brownies did not last long, they were demolished quickly by the family. Luckily the recipe only makes 16 or the pounds would have piled on. A lovely chocolate treat never goes amiss on a cold night, the secret is to apply moderation and not eat loads. They are perfect with a cup of tea, the lovely fudgy taste is perfect when washed down with a warm drink.

Chocolate brownies

Chocolate Brownies Recipe

Chocolate Brownies



  • 175 g 6 oz butter
  • 150 g 5oz dark chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 300 g 110 oz caster sugar
  • 75 g 3 oz plain flour
  • 40 g 1½ oz cocoa powder


  • Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until smooth.
  • Leave the chocolate mixture to cool for 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Grease and line a tin with baking parchment.
  • Whisk together the eggs and sugar until thick.
  • Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, folding in
  • Stir in the flour and cocoa powder.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes

If you prefer something a little less chocolatey then these coconut thumbprint cookies are fun to make and very tasty.
Coconut thumbprint cookiesLinking up with #ReadCookEat over on Chez Maximka as the recipe was inspired by a novel.


Tasty Tuesdays on

7 responses to “Chocolate Brownies from Prayer for the Dead by James Oswald”

  1. Galina V says:

    Oh, temptation, temptation! Those brownies look delicious. And I imagine they’d disappear here very fast too. I haven’t read this thriller, sounds great for a long winter evening.

  2. These look delicious and the book sounds great too. I stocked up on loads of crime fiction over Christmas because I haven’t had anything deep, dark and disturbing to read for a while ! And I’ the same – I have a whole list of bookmarked #readcookeat recipes to work through !

  3. I really wanted to catch up with my reading over Christmas, but I didn’t even have time to do that 🙁
    These look like the perfect gooey brownies. I have a brownie craving at 10am now!

  4. Honest Mum says:

    Wow they look incredible, the perfect brownie! Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays x

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