Sticks and Scones (Culinary Mystery Series #10)

( 28 )

Overview

Celebrated for her unique blend of first-class suspense and five-star fare, Diane Mott Davidson has won scores of fans and earned a place on major bestseller lists across the country. Now she dishes up another dangerously tasty treat of murder and mystery.

For Colorado caterer Goldy Schulz, accepting a series of bookings at Hyde Castle is like a dream come true. It’s not every day that she gets to cook authentic Elizabethan fare—especially at a real castle that was brought over ...

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Sticks and Scones (Culinary Mystery Series #10)

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Overview

Celebrated for her unique blend of first-class suspense and five-star fare, Diane Mott Davidson has won scores of fans and earned a place on major bestseller lists across the country. Now she dishes up another dangerously tasty treat of murder and mystery.

For Colorado caterer Goldy Schulz, accepting a series of bookings at Hyde Castle is like a dream come true. It’s not every day that she gets to cook authentic Elizabethan fare—especially at a real castle that was brought over from England and reassembled stone by stone in Aspen Meadow. Goldy is determined that everything will go right—which is why, she figures later, everything went terribly wrong. It begins when a shotgun blast shatters her window. Then Goldy discovers a body lying in a nearby creek. And when shots ring out for the second time that day, someone Goldy loves is in the line of fire. Suddenly the last thing Goldy wants to think about is Shakespeare’s Steak Pie, 911 Chocolate Emergency Cookies, or Damson-in-Distress Plum Tart. Could one of her husband Tom’s police investigations have triggered a murder? Or was her violent, recently paroled ex responsible? With death peering around every corner, Goldy needs to cook up some crime-solving solutions—before the only dish that’s left on her menu is murder.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review

When the sound of broken glass shatters her sleep, Colorado caterer and meddling sleuth Goldy Schulz doesn't know what to think. Is it a gunshot? A bomb? An earthquake? And where the heck is her husband, Tom, when she needs him most?

But Tom is away for the night, working a case for the Colorado police department. So Goldy's on her own and the timing couldn't be worse, with her first big gig in five weeks only a few hours away.

The job is a huge Elizabethan banquet, a luncheon at a Gothic chapel on a grand old English estate owned by nouveau millionaires Eliot and Sukie Hyde. And in spite of the late-night scare at Goldy's home, it looks like she just might pull the lavish event off without a hitch-until she discovers a disfigured body floating face down in the creek that winds past the chapel. To make matters worse, the body belongs to Andy Balachek, an on-the-lam suspect who Tom's been looking for in connection to a stolen stamp ring. When Tom arrives on the scene and gets shot by a sniper, Goldy can't help but wonder: What else could possibly go wrong?

She shouldn't have asked. Because with an angry ex-husband out of jail and out for revenge…a ghost haunting Hyde Castle and stirring up one disaster after another at the worst possible moments…two dissatisfied former clients determined to ruin her career…and Tom keeping secrets about a beautiful mystery woman from his past, Goldy's got more on her plate than any caterer can handle-even an invincible caterer like Goldy!

Bestselling author Diane Mott Davidson's got all the ingredients for a five-star mystery-including mouthwatering recipes for Castle Scones, Queen of Scots Shortbread, Damson-in-Distress Plum Tart, Shuttlecock Shrimp Curry and Shakespeare's Steak Pie-in this culinary whodunit, sure to satisfy her most discriminating fans.
From the Publisher
“The suspense factor rises higher than a champagne soufflé.”
-People

“A rich feast.”
-Publishers Weekly

“[A] thrilling treat...[a] delicious whodunit.”
-Bon Appétit

“Today’s foremost practitioner of the culinary whodunit.”
-Entertainment Weekly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Culinary sleuth Goldy Schulz finesses another catering job by the skin of her teeth in her 11th warm and fuzzy adventure from bestseller Davidson (Prime Cut, etc.). Goldy is preparing to cater two events at the baronial estate-cum-conference center outside Denver where she and her family are staying. While waiting for a delivery, she discovers the body of one of a gang of philatelic thieves and sees her husband, Tom, wounded by a sniper. A rich feast of false clues and red herrings follows. While Tom recuperates, Goldy is free to investigate the shooter. Embarking on a series of unpleasant and improbable personal encounters, as well as demanding meal preparations, she uncovers a string of clues that not only implicate her hosts, her son's coach and her ex (now out on parole), but raise questions about her marriage to Tom. Fortunately, the author grants Goldy a few brief respites in which to settle her thoughts, allowing the reader to regroup before taking off on the next hectic sequence. Davidson has garnished her story with a rich sauce of old feuds, double-dealing and marital secrets that overwhelms her basic ingredients of credible characters (adolescent son Arch, in particular, rings true), good food and an intriguing puzzle. In the end, Goldy gets her culprit, the guests get their meals and readers, perhaps not so much sated as stuffed, get several excellent recipes. The jacket which sports a teapot in the guise of a surly butler holding a gun will be instantly recognized by the author's devotees. Agent, Sandra Dijkstra. (Apr. 10) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Caterer Goldy Schulz has a dream assignment and a couple of dilemmas. She is hired to create a series of Elizabethan meals to serve at Hyde Castle, a residence imported stone-by-stone from England to Colorado complete with medieval plumbing and ghosts. While her policeman husband is out of town on a case, someone shoots through her living room window early one morning. En route to the castle, Goldy sees a dead man in the creek; while she waits for the sheriff to arrive, someone shoots at her. A woman from her husband's past arrives from Vietnam, ostensibly for medical treatment. Why was the European-born fencing instructor arguing with Hyde Castle's owner? Why was the dead man fencing rare stamps? The subplots keep this a lively story, which is enhanced by Cherry Jones's energetic narration. For mystery fans. Nann Blaine Hilyard, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
While her homicide cop husband Tom is off in New Jersey chasing a trio of lethal stamp thieves, caterer Goldie Schultz, the pride of Aspen Meadow, Colorado, has to vacate her house on the very day she's set to cook up an Elizabethan banquet for Eliot and Sukie Hyde-because an unknown sniper shoots out the front window. The Hydes offer Goldie and her son Arch temporary lodgings in their castle, brought over from England and reconstructed brick by brick, where a ghost roams, a stunning fencing teacher and daughter of the deceased caretaker shares a deep dark secret with Eliot, and the body of Andy Balachek, one of the stamp thieves, lies a-moldering by the rocks near the castle chapel. Tom flies back in time to get nicked in the shoulder by another sniper's bullet, and while he rests up in Goldie's castle quarters, his former fiancée, Sara Beth O'Malley, a nurse presumed dead in Vietnam, stakes out the Schultz house. Even worse, Goldie's ex, The Jerk, has been released from prison and is romancing Viv Martini, whose previous liaisons include both Eliot and a larcenous philatelist. The ghost pops in and out, former clients of Goldie stop by to criticize, a fencing demonstration goes awry, but Goldie still finds time to visit stamp-dealers, confer with her ex's other ex, cook up everything from steak pies to plum tarts, and sort through the wildly overstuffed plot. Like its nine predecessors (Tough Cookie, 2000, etc.), Sticks includes a batch of tasty recipes that make Goldie's cooking sound a lot easier to swallow than her adventures. Author tour
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553578317
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Series: Culinary Mystery Series , #10
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 217,266
  • Product dimensions: 6.88 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane Mott Davidson

Diane Mott Davidson lives in Evergreen, Colorado, with her family and is at work on her twelfth novel, Assault & Pepper.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Nighttime noises are torture. When a midnight wind shrieks through our window jambs, or footsteps clomp past the house, I think, It could be anything. Once a snow bank slid from our roof and thundered onto the deck. I awoke, heart pounding, convinced I'd been shot.

It isn't logical, of course. But living with terror for seven years had not made me the most rational of thinkers, least of all when roused from sleep. A sound could be anything? No.

It was something.

When I awoke at four o'clock on Monday morning, February ninth, those years of dread were long over. Still, I was certain I'd heard a tiny scraping noise, like boots chafing against ice. Think, I warned myself. Don't panic.

Heart pulsing, throat dry, I waited for my brain to clear, for the sound to come again. My husband Tom was out of town. Even when he's at home, noise rarely interrupts his slumber. Tom is a big hulking cop, and isn't afraid of much.

I shifted in the chilled sheets. The temperature outside was close to zero. Frigid air poured through tiny leaks in our bedroom windows. The noise had come from outdoors, from below, of that I was fairly certain.

Now all was quiet. No sound emanated from Arch's room down the hall. Two months from turning fifteen, my son slept so soundly even a howling blizzard would not rouse him. On the first floor, our bloodhound, Jake, was not growling or pacing in his enclosed area next to the kitchen. These were good signs.

Maybe I was imagining things. I'd gone to bed too late, after cooking all evening for today's catered event. And I was stressed out, anyway. In December, our family life had been in an uproar. My in-home commercial kitchen had been shut down, and Tom and I had ended up involved in a homicide case at a nearby ski area. To make things worse, on New Year's Eve, right after the official reopening of my kitchen, I'd catered my first party in months. It had gone very badly.

Wait. Another unmistakable scrape was followed by a tiny crack. It was like . . . what? Elk hooves shattering ice? A pine bough creaking under its burden of snow? Like . . . someone opening a suitcase across the street?

Who unpacks bags at four in the morning?

Henry Kissinger said, Even a paranoid has real enemies. With that in mind, I decided against getting out of bed and peering out a window. My eyes traveled to the bedside table and I reached stealthily for the portable phone. In addition to being paranoid, I sometimes suspected I was an alarmist, or, as the ninth-grade tough guys at Arch's school would say, a wimp. Now, I bargained with myself. One more sound, and I would speed-dial the sheriff's department.

I shivered, waited, and longed for the heavy terry-cloth robe hanging in my closet, an early Valentine's present from Tom. Caterers need to rest after cooking, Miss G., he'd said. Wrap yourself in this when I'm gone, and pretend it's me.

Of course, I would have much preferred Tom himself to the robe. For the past week, he'd been in New Jersey working a case. There, he reported, the weather was rainy. In Aspen Meadow, I'd told him in our evening calls, each day had brought more snow. Arch and I had made a morning ritual of shoveling our front walk. But daytime temperatures in the mid-thirties had melted our man-made snow banks, and the nightly freezes transformed the sidewalk into a sheet of ice.

So. If someone was on our sidewalk, he or she was on a very slippery slope.

I propped myself up on my elbow, yanked up the bedspread, and listened intently. In the neon light cast by the street lamp outside, I could just make out my own reflection in our mirror: blond curly hair, dark eyes, thirty-four-year-old face just a tad round from an excess of chocolate. It was a face that had been happy for almost two years, since I'd married Tom. But now Tom's absence was an ache.

Back in my old life, my ex-husband had often stumbled in late. I'd become used to the drunken harangues, the flaunted infidelities, the midnight arguments. Sometimes I even thought his girlfriends used to follow him home, to stake out our house.

Of course, I absolutely believed in Tom's fidelity, even if he had been both secretive and preoccupied lately. Before he left, he'd even seemed low. I hadn't quite known how to help. Try as I might, I was still getting used to being a cop's wife.

Five minutes went by with no sound. My mind continued to meander. I wondered again about Tom. Six a.m. on the East Coast; was he up? Was he still planning on flying back this morning, as he'd promised us? Had he made any progress in his investigation?

The case Tom was working on involved the hijacking—on a Furman County road—of a FedEx delivery truck. The driver had been killed. Only one of the suspected three hijackers had been arrested. His name was Ray Wolff, and he was now in the same cell block as my ex-husband, Dr. John Richard Korman. The Jerk, as his other ex-wife and I called him, was currently serving a sentence for assault.

During Arch's weekly visit, John Richard had boasted to his son of his acquaintance with Ray Wolff, the famous killer-hijacker. How low things had sunk, I thought, when a father reveled in his own criminal infamy.

I shivered again and tried not to think of the threats my ex-husband had sent from jail. They'd been both implied and overt. When I get out of here, I'll set you straight, Goldy. To Arch, he'd said, You can tell your mother your father has a plan. I guess I wasn't surprised that those tiny signs of remorse John Richard had shown at his trial had all been for the benefit of the judge.

I jumped at the sound of a third, louder crack. Downstairs, Jake let out a tentative woof. I hit the phone's power button as an explosion rocked our house.

What was that? My brain reeled. Cold and trembling, I realized I'd fallen off the bed. A gunshot? A bomb? It had sounded like a rocket launcher. A grenade. An earthquake. Downstairs, glass crashed to the floor. What the hell is going on?

I clutched the phone, scuttled across the cold floor, and tried to call for Arch. Unfortunately, my voice no longer seemed to be working. Below, our security system shrieked. I cursed as I made a tripping dash down the unlit hall.

The noise had been a gunshot. It had to have been. Someone had shot at our home. At least one downstairs window had been shattered, of that I was certain. Where is the shooter now? Where is my son?

"Arch!" I squawked in the dark hallway. Dwarfed by the alarm, my voice sounded tinny and far away. "Are you all right? Can you hear me?"

The alarm's wail melded with Jake's baying. What good did a security system do, anyway? Alarms are meant to protect you from intruders wanting your stuff—not from shooters wanting your life. Yelling that it was me, it was Mom, I stumbled through my son's bedroom door.

Arch had turned on his aquarium light and was sitting up in bed. In the eerie light, his pale face glowed. His toast-brown hair had fanned out in an electric halo, and his hastily donned tortoiseshell glasses were askew. He clutched a raised sword—a gleaming foil used for his school fencing practice. I punched the phone buttons for 911, but was trembling so badly I messed it up. Now the phone was braying in my ear.

Panic tensed Arch's face as he leaned toward the watery light and squinted at me.

"Mom! What was that?"

Shuddering, I fumbled with the phone again and finally pushed the automatic dial for the Furman County Sheriff's Department.

"I don't know," I managed to shout to Arch. Blood gurgled in my ears. I wanted to be in control, to be comforting, to be a good mother. I wanted to assure him this was all some terrible mistake. "Better get on the—" With the phone, I gestured toward the floor.

Still gripping the sword, Arch obediently scrambled onto a braided rug I'd made during our financial dark days. He was wearing a navy sweat suit—his substitute for pajamas—and thick gray socks, protection from the cold. Protection. I thought belatedly of Tom's rifle and the handgun he kept hidden behind a false wall in our detached garage. Lot of good they did me now, especially since I didn't know how to shoot.

"We'll be right there," announced a distant telephone voice after I babbled where we were and what had happened. Jake's howl and the screaming security system made it almost impossible to make out the operator's clipped instructions. "Mrs. Schulz?" she repeated. "Lock the bedroom door. If any of your neighbors call, tell them not to do anything. We should have a car there in less than fifteen minutes."

Please, God, I prayed, disconnecting. With numb fingers, I locked Arch's door, then eased to the floor beside him. I glanced upward. Could the glow from the aquarium light be seen from outside? Could the shooter get a good purchase on Arch's window?

"Somebody has to go get Jake," Arch whispered. "We can't just leave him barking. You told the operator you heard a shot. Did you really think it was from a gun? I thought it was a cannonball."

"I don't know." If any of your neighbors call . . . My neighbors' names had all slid from my head.

The front doorbell rang. My eyes locked with Arch's. Neither of us moved. The bell rang again. A male voice shouted, "Goldy? Arch? It's Bill! Three other guys are here with me!" Bill? Ah, Bill Quincy . . . from next door. "Goldy," Bill boomed. "We're armed!"

I took a steadying breath. This was Colorado, not England or Canada or some other place where folks don't keep guns and wield them freely. In Aspen Meadow, no self-respecting gun-owner who heard a shot at four a.m. was going to wait to be summoned. One man had even glued a decal over the Neighborhood Watch sign: This Street Guarded by Colts. Although the county had sent out a graffiti-removal company to scrape off the sticker, the sentiment remained the same.

"Goldy? Arch?" Bill Quincy hollered again. "You okay? It doesn't look as if anybody's broken in! Could you let me check? Goldy!"

Would the cops object? I didn't know.

"Goldy?" Bill bellowed. "Answer me, or I'm breaking down the door!"

"All right!" I called. "I'm coming!" I told Arch to stay put and tentatively made my way down the stairs.

Freezing air swirled through the first floor. In the living room, glass shards glittered where they'd landed on the couch, chairs, and carpet. I turned off the deafening alarm, flipped on the outside light, and swung open the door.

Four grizzled, goose-down-jacketed men stood on my front step. I was wearing red plaid flannel pj's and my feet were bare, but I told them law enforcement was en route and invited them in. Clouds of steam billowed from the men's mouths as Bill insisted his companions weren't budging. As if to make his point, Bill's posse settled creakily onto our frosted porch. The men's weapons—two rifles and two pistols—glinted in the ghostly light.

Bill Quincy, his wide, chinless face grim, his broad shoulders tense, announced that he intended to go through the house, to see if the shooter had broken in. I should wait until he'd inspected the first floor, he ordered, pushing past me without further ceremony. Bill stomped resolutely through the kitchen and dining room, peered into the tiny half-bath, then returned to the hallway and cocked his head at me. I tiptoed behind him to the kitchen. He shouted a warning into the basement, then banged down the steps. If the intruder was indeed inside, there could be no mistake that my neighbor intended to roust him out.

Jake bounded up to Arch's room ahead of me. Scout, our adopted stray cat, slunk along behind the bloodhound, his long gray-and-brown hair, like Arch's, turned electric from being suddenly roused. Following my animal escort, I silently thanked God that none of us had been hurt, and that we had great neighbors. The cat scooted under the bed used by Julian Teller, our former boarder, now a sophomore at the University of Colorado. Arch asked for a third time what had happened. I didn't want to frighten him. So I lied.

"It just . . . looks as if some drunk staggered up from the Grizzly Saloon, took aim at our living-room window, and shot it out. I don't know whether the guy used a shotgun or a rifle. Whatever it was, he wasn't too plastered to miss."

My son nodded slowly, not sure whether to believe me. He shouldn't have, of course. The Grizzly closed early on Sunday night.

I stared at the hands on Arch's new clock, a gift from his fencing coach. The clock was in the shape of a tiny knight holding a sword, from which a timepiece dangled. When the hands pointed to four-twenty-five, a wail of sirens broke the tense silence. I pushed aside Arch's faded orange curtains and peeked out his window. Two sheriff's department vehicles hurtled down our street and parked at the curb.

I raced back to Tom's and my bedroom and slid into jeans, a sweatshirt, and clogs. Had someone unintentionally fired a gun? Was the damage to our window just some stupid accident? Surely it couldn't have been deliberate. And of all the times for this to happen . . .

I started downstairs. Today was supposed to herald my first big job in five weeks, a luncheon gig at a Gothic chapel on an estate dominated by a genuine English castle. The castle was one of Aspen Meadow's gorgeous-but-weird landmarks. If things went well, the castle owner—who was hoping to open a conference center at the site—promised to be a huge client. I didn't want anything to mess up today's job.

Then again, I fretted as I gripped the railing, I was a caterer married to a cop, a cop working on a case so difficult he'd been forced to search for a suspect two thousand miles away. Perhaps the gunshot had been a message for Tom.

Outside, the red-and-blue lights flashing on snow-covered pines created monstrous shadows. The sight of cop cars was not unfamiliar to me. Still, my throat tightened as I wrenched open our front door. Bill and the other gun-toters looked at me sympathetically.

Why would someone shoot at the house of a caterer?

I swallowed hard.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 11, 2013

    if you like her others you will like this one

    This one has funny places, it also has serious places where you just want to jump in the book and help her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2013

    Just awful.

    The author trips all over her own feet in this incredibly convoluted, improbable story. The characters are shallow, and any sensible police force would strip its chief of his badge for all the privileged information he passes on to the main character, a civilian caterer married to a police officer.The plot lumbers under the weight of the ancillary characters introduced in previous installments. The author shows off her weekend of library research into Medieval English castle construction to no effect other than to clutter up the page. Overall, an asinine fantasy sketch.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

    Boring

    The mystery kept getting mixed up with the food and idle chatter. I found it hsrd to follow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Entertaining as usual

    Loved this book

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  • Posted June 22, 2011

    Complex!

    I have read the whole series and like it, but it is somewhat complex. Not a quick and easy beach read by any stretch. Lots of twists, turns, and complexities that don't make sense. Read and enjoy - just be prepared!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2006

    Castles, Ghosts, and Murder

    As usual, Goldy Schulz, caterer cum sleuth, manages to solve the murder while producing sumptuous feasts, this time in a castle, battling her ex-husband, protecting her son, and agonizing over the return of her husband¿s old girlfriend. She manages to adroitly leap from one crisis to another, accomplishing more in a day than most people do in a month. The action never stops. I also liked the sub-plot theme of trust in relationships.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2002

    Defies Credulity

    Cooking is my favorite hobby, next to reading murder mysteries, and until now, Ms. Davidson had been one of my preferred authors. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, keeping up with the antics of the ever-entertaining heroine, Goldy. Did I mention that I, too, am blonde? No matter. Anyhow, this book was a considerable letdown. The killer's motive makes no sense, although perhaps it might resonate among those still living in the Victorian era. There are other things about this book that make no sense as well, including Goldy's survival of an encounter with hypothermia that defies belief. Frankly, I was badly disappointed, and I won't rush to buy this author's next book. There are too many other good writers out there who credit their readers with a bit more intelligence.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2001

    Femmes Fatales Everywhere!

    Diane Mott Davidson has written her most far-fetched plot, filled it with action, and added her usual excellent recipes (this time themed to Elizabethan times). If you treat this mystery as a satire on the kind of romance mystery novels that fill the bookstores, you'll love it. If you try to take it seriously, you'll be disappointed unless you have a few alcoholic beverages first to dull your rational mind. The main advantage of this book is that the unpleasant theme of violence at the hands of Goldy's ex (from The Grilling Season) turns into a minor key from a major one in that book. The book opens with Goldy home with Arch and Jake in the wee hours of the morning, while Tom is gone in New Jersey on a manhunt for a suspect in a FedEx truckjacking. A shotgun blast takes out her living room window, and the neighbors arrive with arms to look for the culprit. They find no one. Goldy is supposed to cater a job later in the day, so she clears out with the food and Arch. Before the day ends, Goldy finds the man Tom was tracking dead in a creek near her client's castle. When Tom joins her to investigate, a rifle shot rings out and wings him. Soon they are on a helicopter headed for the hospital in a hurry, because Tom has lost a lot of blood. This powerful beginning is Ms. Davidson's best in this series. Plot complications soon pile on. Her ex-husband, Dr. John Richard Korman, has been released from jail on parole. Could he be shooting at Goldy and Tom? What about the parents she accused of abusing a baby? Who is the mystery woman staking out the house? Goldy and Arch move in with their clients in a restored castle transported from Europe, while Tom recovers in the hospital. The story rapidly evolves to include a letter from Henry VIII, some of the world's rarest stamps, exotic castle features, ghosts, unlikely co-conspirators, confidential e-mails, old girl friends, passion, love, and revenge. Normally, all of this would make a delightful story. In this case, the story is flawed by far-fetched twists and turns that stretch credibility well past the breaking point. With less imagination, this story would have been more. As written, it is such a fantastic tale that you will be disappointed when you find out the resolution. As you think about this story, I suggest that you consider the question of balance in your life. When is more too much? If one ice cream soda tastes good, are four better at one time? How about twelve? Seek balance in all that you do! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2001

    Castle Mystery-Sticks&Scones

    First time read for this author, and I really liked it and will be reading more.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Goldy remains golden

    Though her beloved spouse Tom is on a police matter in New Jersey, Aspen Meadow, Colorado resident Goldy Schultz feels a bit encouraged now that she has her first major catering job in a month. The Hyde Castle event means future jobs for Goldilocks Catering recovering from the debacle of the Lauderdale incident. <P>However, her upbeat feelings collapse when she learns her ex-husband has been released early from prison and someone shoots out her window. Not long afterward, Goldy finds the murdered corpse of Andy Balanchek in the creek near the Hyde Castle Chapel. When Tom who just returned home joins her there, an unknown assailant fires a shot and wounds him. Goldy has to balance her son¿s time with his biological father, nurse her current beloved husband, cater an Elizabethan feast at the castle, and uncover the identity of a killer. Any one of these ingredients could destroy her recipe. <P> The latest Goldy mystery is like all the others: fun and entertaining due to a fabulous heroine and a strong support cast. The story line moves quickly never allowing a terrible tasting treat to grace its pages. Goldy is one of the top female amateur sleuths because her chef Diane Mott Davidson always bakes a winner. <P>Harriet Klausner

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