In another life I must have been a chef. I love cooking and books about cooking. I can read cookbooks for pleasure as well as research. I also enjoy a light mystery. In STICKS & SCONES, Diane Mott Davidson feeds both of these interests.
STICKS & SCONES once again brings us that Denver caterer turned detective, Goldy Schulz. As in her previous books, Goldy doesn't start out intending to become involved in a murder investigation. She is busy with her catering business when someone throws a rock through her living room window at four o'clock in the morning. Her police officer husband Tom is away on an investigation, so after she calls the local station, she gets her 15 year old son Arch and the dog and cat out of the house and to a neighbor's. Although there seems to be no motive for the vandalism, the officers who arrive are Tom's friends and know Goldy. In an effort to protect her from further harm, they advise her to find another place to stay, at least until the repairs are completed and Tom returns.
Meanwhile, Goldy has accepted a series of catering bookings at Hyde Castle, an Elizabethan building that has been imported in its entirety from England. The owners want to turn it into an attractive site for weddings and special events. Goldy is to prepare authentic Elizabethan food for several meals, including a dedication luncheon and an awards banquet. Sukie and Eliot Hyde, the current owners, agree to allow Goldy and her son to stay at the castle for a few days, enabling her to fulfill her catering obligations to them.
Within a day, the young man Tom has been investigating in an embezzlement case is found dead on the property; an unseen sniper shoots Tom when he comes to rescue Goldy; and when Goldy returns to their house to collect additional recipes, someone posing as a repairman attacks her, and Tom's computer is stolen. The twists and turns continue from there.
Once again, Davidson has interspersed her story with recipes, all of which contain titles set around the Elizabethan theme: Castle Scones, Stained Glass Sweet Bread, and Shakespeare's Steak Pie. My favorite, however, is the 911 Chocolate Emergency Cookies, sure to rescue anyone in need of a severe chocolate "fix."
Reviewed by Debbie Ann Weiner on April 3, 2001