Recipes in a murder mystery? What a concept! But that's what you'll
find if you dip into the pages of any of Diane Mott Davidson's
delectable "culinary mysteries," where mayhem mixes with mousse.
Ms. Davidson's down-to-earth protagonist serves up enough problems
to flatten a souffle.
In PRIME CUT, the latest in the series, Goldy Schulz, caterer
extraordinaire, is faced with a grocery cartload of trials, but she
manages to cook her way out of some pretty dicey situations ---
with her menus intact. We are presented with the somewhat
improbable situation of a caterer whose kitchen is being remodeled.
Though any normal person could not cope with such a situation,
Goldy carries on as though nothing were amiss. In fact, cooking
helps her think.
In some ways, PRIME CUT reads like a sitcom. But the disasters and
near disasters are interrupted by moments of sublime cooking ---
not to mention the scrumptious recipes scattered between
Goldy is no ranch-house cook. A cordon bleu chef has nothing on
her, and her energy and efficiency in her torn-up kitchen are
impressive. As caterer to the social set in an Aspen-like Colorado
town, Goldy should have the catering market all to herself. But
someone else has an eye on her business, and that someone resorts
to the lowest tactics to undermine Goldy's reputation and her
Trouble starts when Goldy drops off a meal for a friend whose wife
is in the hospital. She finds him uncharacteristically drunk and,
even worse, discovers the body of her kitchen contractor hanging
from the rafters of the house. This particular contractor has made
several enemies because he never manages to complete his
contracting tasks ---including Goldy's kitchen. But Goldy's friend
becomes the prime suspect and is hauled off to jail because the
body is found at his home, despite --- or perhaps because of ---
the intervention of Goldy's policeman husband. If that were not
enough, when Goldy's mentor, the venerable chef Andre, is found
dead in a mountain cabin where he has been catering a photo shoot
for a modeling agency, she cannot rest until the killer is found.
The saboteur of her catering business is never a credible murder
suspect, but he manages to contribute to Goldy's troubles at the
worst possible time.
If you think a salamander is a slimy amphibian, you are in for a
surprise. In its culinary form, a salamander is like a hot iron for
browning food, and can you think of a worse fate for a chef than to
be braised by such a thing? But worse things happen. The catalog of
skullduggery is breathtaking. An astonishing parade of unsavory
characters is to be found in tiny Aspen Meadows, and they all
managed to find their way into this book. Just when things reach
the boiling point Goldy tells herself: "Cook! That will help you
figure this out." Has she stumbled onto the solution to the world's
Whether you are obsessed with food or just love a good mystery,
you'll savor PRIME CUT's choicest morsels!
Reviewed by Suzanne Searby on January 22, 2011