Bestseller Davidson is at the top of her form in her 14th culinary suspense novel to feature Colorado crime-solving caterer Goldy Schulz (after 2006's Dark Tort). As the Christmas season approaches, Goldy is thrilled to be catering not only a breakfast for the local library but also an elegant dinner for Hermie and Smithfield MacArthur, rich Southern transplants to Aspen Meadow. But when the body of Drew Wellington, the disgraced former DA, turns up in the library, Goldy is once again forced to put her recipes on the back burner and find the murderer. Discovering that Wellington was dabbling in antique map collecting, Goldy must track down a priceless map and steer clear of Wellington's fellow collectors, ex-girlfriends and clients. Further complicating matters are sightings of the allegedly deceased Sandee Brisbane, the young woman accused of murdering Goldy's ex-husband and then supposedly perishing in a forest fire. Readers will happily sink their teeth into Goldy's latest case and come away hungry for more. 11-city author tour. (Sept.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
In her 14th adventure, caterer Goldy Schulz is preparing a holiday breakfast for the staff and volunteers of the Aspen Meadow Public Library when the head librarian finds the body of a man in the stacks. A rare map that he had for sale is missing. Adding spice to this story line are sightings of Sandee Brisbane, the woman who murdered Goldy's ex-husband and who supposedly died in a forest fire, in the stacks and near the body of another map dealer. Of course, Goldy starts nosing around and causing much trouble for her police detective husband. If you have not read Davidson's culinary cozies in a while, try this one. With an entertaining plot and out-of-this-world recipes, it proves that the author is in top-notch form. The author lives in Colorado. [See Mystery Prepub, LJ5/1/07.]
Jo Ann Vicarel
Goldy Bear Schulz, talented caterer and successful sleuth, has a Christmas party everyday-if she can just find the time to cook between solving murders. Although a charming Dickinsonian repast has been prepared for the Aspen Meadow Library breakfast, everyone loses their appetite when the corpse of shady former DA Drew Wellington, a high-end map dealer, is discovered. Even more disturbing for Goldy is her certainty that Sandee Brisbane, the woman who killed Goldy's odious ex-husband, was lurking nearby well after she supposedly perished in a forest fire (Dark Tort, 2006, etc.). Both Drew's partner Neil Tharp and his pugnacious competitor Larry Craddock claim that some valuable maps are missing. Also on the list of suspects are Drew's girlfriend Patricia, his ex-wife Elizabeth and the elusive Sandee. As they continue to cater for their wealthy clients, Goldy and her talented helper Julian pick up tidbits of information along the way. Despite her policeman husband Tom's warning, Goldy can't keep her nose out of the investigation, which becomes more complicated by the murder of Larry Craddock. Goldy crashes her friend Marla's car in pursuit of Sandee, receives some nasty threats and narrowly escapes death at a snowboarding facility, but she keeps on cooking and sleuthing until she tracks down the murderer. Not Goldy's brightest day. Her legion of fans may well prefer the ten appended recipes to the tale itself.
Read an Excerpt
A month before Christmas, I saw a ghost.
This was not the ghost of Christmas past, present, or future. I didn't need to be reminded of bad things I'd done, nor, as far as I knew, of good things I ought to be doing. This wasn't, as my fifteen-year-old son, Arch, would say, any high woo-woo stuff either. I liked the past to stay in the past, thank you very much. Anything I hadn't handled well in my first thirty-four years I certainly didn't want to be reminded of in my busiest season, when I had twenty-five parties to cater between the first of December and the New Year.
Still, there had been that ghoul, that vision, that whatever it was.
The specter appeared on November 25, which fell on the Friday after Thanksgiving, when I was on my way to Smithfield and Hermie MacArthur's house to book two parties. I'd been looking forward to seeing the MacArthurs' place, because the events promised to fill my Christmas stocking with dough, and I didn't mean the kind I made into cinnamon rolls.
Hermie MacArthur had introduced herself to me at a church-women's luncheon I'd done earlier in the fall. In her midforties, with a much-powdered face, grayish-blond hair, and a commanding Southern accent, Hermie possessed an imposingly tall body that was shaped like a McIntosh apple—a hefty chest on stick legs. The luncheon speaker, a local woman named Patricia Ingersoll, headed a weight-loss group. Patricia had been droning on about how nobody should be consuming my gingerbread, made with unsalted butter and freshly grated ginger and—secret ingredient—freshly grated black pepper. I'd enjoyedcatering Patricia's wedding reception four years ago. I also felt very sorry that she'd lost her relatively new husband to cancer in just the last year and a half. But I did wish she could have found another outlet for her energies besides telling people to stop eating.
The churchwomen had been shifting, murmuring, and whispering about regretting inviting Patricia. I'd escaped to my event center's kitchen, where I'd been wondering what I was going to do if nobody ate dessert.
Hermie MacArthur had followed me in, cornered me, and said, "Darlin', we need to talk." She'd fingered her multiple strands of pearls and diamonds while telling me that she and her husband had lived in Aspen Meadow's Regal Ridge Country Club area for only ten months, and she felt the holidays would just be a heavenly time to get to know her neighbors better. Yes, yes, I'd echoed as I reached for my calendar. Great idea. I was all for rich folks getting to know one another better.
We'd set up our November meeting date. But Hermie had been reluctant to leave the kitchen, and it wasn't because she couldn't standto listen to Patricia anymore. I thought perhaps she wanted a second helping of something. Or an early piece of gingerbread? But no. Finally she confided that she was eager for the parties to go well, for her husband Smithfield's sake. It had been Smithfield who'd had the idea that they combine their holiday parties with a celebration of his hobby.
"And what is his hobby?" I'd asked with trepidation, fearing something to do with snakes.
"Why, darlin'," Hermie had replied, "it's map collecting!"
I'd almost choked as I imagined having to make a cake in the shape of North America, complete with squiggly lines for the rivers. But Hermie didn't mention a cake. I smiled and reminded myself that I'd had plenty of practice dealing with ultrawealthy people and their eccentricities. So if the MacArthurs wanted to haul out their Rand McNallys along with some mincemeat pies, who was I to complain?
I did tell Hermie that the one famous map of Aspen Meadow, with its maze of dirt and paved roads winding through the mountains, was You Use'ta Couldn't Get There from Here! She'd frowned. She said she was hoping I could do some reading on map collecting before I came, in case Smithfield wanted me to help with a slide, and I needed to reach for South Africa and not the South Bronx. Plus, Hermie went on, there would be at least two map dealers at the party, and one of them, Drew Wellington, was a former district attorney. Did I know Drew Wellington? she asked.
Yes, I said after a pause. I knew Mr. Wellington.
Hermie also wanted a touch of elegance, she said, and shook a ringed forefinger with a diamond the size of one of Arch's old marbles. Elegant was my middle name, I replied cheerily. Of course it wasn't, and my business, Goldilocks' Catering, Where Everything Is Just Right!, could be as low-down as a cowboy barbecue. But Hermie had seemed satisfied.
So there I was on November 25, tootling along Regal Road, the curving mountain byway that led past one of Arch's favorite snowboarding places and ended at the entrance to Regal Ridge Country Club, a relatively new fancy development built after Aspen Meadow Country Club had filled up. Hermie and I were set to make decisions on the menus for a dinner for eight to be held on Saturday, December 16, and a luncheon on Monday, the eighteenth. Elegant meant we weren't just talking soup to nuts. I was offering her crab dumplings in fresh herb broth to precede her first event, a curry dinner that would conclude with lime—not mincemeat, thank goodness—pie. For the Monday lunch, Hermie had asked for lamb and potatoes. I was going to propose lamb chops persillade and potatoes au gratin. The potatoes would be made memorable with fresh sage and caramelized onions. After we'd decided on the food, we'd hammer out the details of a preliminary contract. I would see how the MacArthurs' kitchen, dining, and living areas were set up. Then, most importantly from my point of view, Hermie would write a check for a down payment. Sweet Revenge. Copyright © by Diane Davidson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.