unlikely list of suspicious items and an equally unlikely list of
villains are found in the newest culinary mystery offering by Diane
Mott Davidson. The worlds of map collecting and map sales are
cut-throat businesses. Knives enveloped in snowballs, Rohypnol,
stolen maps and the ghost of a dead murderer are featured here.
First and foremost, our heroine, Goldy Schulz --- proprietor of
Goldilocks Catering in Aspen Meadow, Colorado --- always seems to
end up in hot water. SWEET REVENGE is no exception.
Goldy has come a long way since her first culinary mystery 14 books
ago. Her confidence, cooking skills and expertise have increased
exponentially. In SWEET REVENGE it is the Christmas
season, always a very hectic time in the catering business. A large
scoop of trouble is brewing: Why did Sandee Brisbane return to
Aspen Meadow? After murdering Goldy's ex-husband, she threw herself
off a cliff into a raging forest fire. Or did she? "The specter
appeared on November 25, which fell on the Friday after
Thanksgiving, when I was on my way to Smithfield and Hermie
McArthur's house to book two parties." Former District Attorney
Drew Wellington would be invited to one of these parties. However,
due to an unforeseen circumstance, he would be unable to
Larry Craddock, another map dealer, has Goldy in his sights.
Sometimes, when people have been sold a fake document, they don't
go directly to the police. Some take matters into their own hands
and try to exact revenge. Unfortunately, this guy won't rest until
everyone is miserable. He accosts Goldy, as well as her former
assistant, Julien, and starts verbal altercations throughout Aspen
Meadow. What is his beef?
One great consistent theme in Davidson's books is the cooking.
Every time Goldy makes espresso and adds a heaping tablespoon of
whipped cream, you can almost taste the creamy, rich mixture. Her
recipes are usually not too complicated and are added in an
appendix in the back of the book. Cleverly designed, the
What-The-Dickens Holiday Breakfast for the library staff and
volunteers includes charming Dickensonian names: Great Expectations
Grapefruit, Chuzzlewit Cheese Pie, Tale of Two Cities French Toast,
Bleak House Bars, Hard Times Ham, Christmas Carol Coffee Cake. But
the best part is that there are also recipes for Chicken Divine (a
lower fat recipe for Chicken Diane), Prudent Potatoes au Gratin,
Stylish Strawberry Salad, Unorthodox Shepherd's Pie, Deep-Dish
Cherry Pie, Got-a-Hot-Date Bars, Pina Colada Muffins and Door-Prize
The bottom line is this: If you appreciate a good mystery with
several recurring characters, lots of culinary undertones, great
recipes and some Goldy family history, you should savor Diane Mott
Davidson's books. Reminiscent of a new age Miss Marple with a good
business mind, sense of humor and great cooking skills, Goldy is
sure to please. Bon appetit!
Reviewed by Marge Fletcher on January 23, 2011