The Cereal Murders (Culinary Mystery Series #3)

The Cereal Murders (Culinary Mystery Series #3)

by Diane Mott Davidson, Tolman

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Overview

Thanks to her recent adventures in Dying for Chocolate, Goldy Bear, the premier caterer of Aspen Meadow, Colorado, is no stranger to violence--or sudden death.  But when she agrees to cater the first College Advisory Dinner for Seniors and Parents at the exclusive Elk Park Preparatory School, the last thing she expects to find at the end of the evening is the battered body of the school valedictorian.

Who could have killed Keith Andrews, and why?  Goldy's hungry for some answers--and not just because she found the corpse.  Her young son, Arch, a student at Elk Park Prep, has become a target for some not-so-funny pranks, while her eighteen-year-old live-in helper, Julian, has become a prime suspect in the Andrews boy's murder.

As her investigation intensifies, Goldy's anxiety level rises faster than homemade doughnuts. . .as she turns up evidence that suggests that Keith knew more than enough to blow the lid off some very unscholarly secrets.  And then, as her search rattles one skeleton too many, Goldy learns a crucial fact: a little knowledge about a killer can be a deadly thing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553567731
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/28/1994
Series: Culinary Mystery Series , #3
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 106,622
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Diane Mott Davidson lives in Evergreen, Colorado, with her husband and three sons and is at work on her next novel.

Read an Excerpt

1
 
“I’d kill to get into Stanford.”
 
A you’ve-got-to-be-kidding laugh snorted across one of the dining tables at the headmaster’s house. “Start playing football,” whispered another voice. “Then they’ll kill to get you.”
 
At the moment of that sage advice, I was desperately balancing a platter of Early Decision Dumplings and Ivy League Ice Cream Pies, praying silently that the whole thing didn’t land on the royal blue Aubusson carpet. My job catering the first college advisory dinner for Colorado’s most famous prep school was almost over. It had been a long evening, and the only thing I would have killed to get into was a bathtub.
 
“Shut up, you guys!” came the voice of another student. “The only kid who’s going to Stanford is Saint Andrews. They’d kill to get him.”
 
Saint …? Using the school’s silver cutter, I scooped out the last three slices of pie. Thick layers of peppermint ice cream cascaded into dark puddles of fudge sauce. I scooted up to the last group of elegantly dressed teenagers.
 
Ultra-athletic Greer Dawson, who wore a forest-green watered-silk suit, moved primly in her ladder-back chair to get a better view of the head table. Greer, the school’s volleyball star, was an occasional helper with my business: Goldilocks’ Catering: Where Everything Is Just Right! Apparently Greer thought listing power serve and power lunch on her Princeton application would make her appear diversified. But she was not serving tonight. Tonight, Greer and the other seniors were concentrating on looking spiffy and acting unruffled as they heard about upcoming tests and college reps visiting the school. I needed to be careful with her slice of pie. Watered silk was one thing; ice-creamed, another. With my left hand I lowered plates to two boys before I balanced the tray on my hip and gingerly placed the last dessert in front of Greer.
 
“I’m in training, Goldy,” she announced without looking at me, and pushed the plate away.
 
The headmaster stood, leaned into the microphone, and cleared his throat. A gargling noise echoed like thunder. The bubbling chatter flattened. For a moment the only sound was the wind spitting pellets of snow against the rows of century-old wavy-glassed windows.
 
I zipped back out to the kitchen. Fatigue racked my bones. The dinner had been hellish. Not only that, but we were just starting the speeches. I looked at my watch: 8:30. Along with two helpers, I had been setting up and serving at the headmaster’s house since four o’clock. Cocktails had begun at six. Holding crystal glasses of Chardonnay and skewers of plump shrimp, the parents had talked in brave tones about Tyler being a shoe-in at Amherst (Granddad was an alum), and Kimberley going to Michigan (with those AP scores, what did you expect?). Most of the parents had ignored me, but one mother, anorexically thin Rhoda Marensky, had chosen to confide.
 
“You know, Goldy,” she said, stooping from her height with a rustle of her fur-trimmed taffeta dress, “our Brad has his heart set on Columbia.”
 
Greeted with my unimpressed look and decimated platter of shrimp, Rhoda’s towering husband, Stan Marensky, elaborated: “Columbia’s in New York.”
 
I said, “No kidding! I thought it was in South America.”
 
Refilling the appetizer platter a little later, I berated myself to act more charming. Five years ago, Stan Marensky’s fast-paced, long-legged stalk along the sidelines, as well as his blood-curdling screams, had been the hallmark of the Aspen Meadow Junior Soccer League. Stan had intimidated referees, opponents, and his team, the Marensky Maulers, of which my son, Arch, had been a hapless member for one miserable spring.
 
I walked back out to the dining room with more skewers of shrimp. I avoided the Marenskys. After that painful soccer season, Arch had decided to drop team sports. I didn’t blame him. Now twelve, my son had quickly replaced athletics with passions for fantasy-role-playing games, magic, and learning French. I’d tripped over more dungeon figures, trick handcuffs, and miniature Eiffel Towers than I cared to remember. These days, however, Arch had dual obsessions with astronomical maps and the fiction of C. S. Lewis. I figured as long as he grew up to write intergalactic travel novels, he’d be okay. With my career as the mother of an athlete over, I had heard only through the town grapevine that the shrill-voiced Stan Marensky had moved on to coaching junior basketball. Maybe he liked the way his threats reverberated off the gym walls.
 
I didn’t see the Marenskys for the rest of the dinner. I didn’t even think of Arch again until I was fixing the desserts and happened to glance out the kitchen windows. My heart sank. What had started that afternoon as an innocent-looking flurry had developed into the first full-blown snowstorm of the season. This promised icy roads and delays getting back to Aspen Meadow, where my son, at his insistence, was at home without a sitter. Arch had said it would make him happy if I didn’t worry about him any more than he worried about me. So the only things I actually needed to be concerned about were finishing up with the preppies and their parents, then coaxing my snowtireless van around seven lethal miles of curved mountain road.
 
The last two rows of Early Decision Dumplings beckoned. These were actually chômeurs—rich biscuit dough-drops that had puffed in a hot butter and brown sugar syrup. I had added oats at the behest of the headmaster, who insisted even the desserts have something healthful about them or there would be criticism. The parents would use any excuse to complain, he told me regretfully. I ladled each dumpling along with a thick ribbon of steaming caramelized sauce into small bowls, then poured cold whipping cream over each. I handed the tray to Audrey Coopersmith, my paid helper this evening. Audrey was a recently divorced mother who had a daughter in the senior class. Gripping her platter of china bowls chattering against their saucers, she gave me a wan smile beneath her tightly curled Annette Funicello–style hairdo. Audrey wouldn’t dream of complaining about the healthfulness of the chômeurs; she spent every spare breath complaining about her ex-husband.
 
“I just have so much anxiety, Goldy, I can’t stand it. This is such an important night for Heather. And of course Carl couldn’t be bothered to come.”
 
“Everything’s going to be fine,” I soothed, “except that whipping cream might curdle if it doesn’t get served soon.”
 
She made a whimpering noise, turned on her heel, and sidled out to the living room with her tray.
 
The chômeurs had steamed up the kitchen windows. I rubbed a pane of glass with my palm to check on the storm. Brown eyes like pennies, then my slightly freckled thirty-one-year-old face came into view, along with blond curly hair that had gone predictably haywire in the kitchen’s humidity. Did I look like someone who didn’t know Columbia was in New York? Well, those folks weren’t the only ones with high SAT scores. I’d gone to prep school, I’d even spent a year at a Seven Sisters college. Not that it had done me any good, but that was another story.
 
Outside the headmaster’s house, a stone mansion that had been erected by a Colorado silver baron in the 1880s, lamps dotting a walk illuminated waves of falling snow. The snowbound setting was idyllic, and gave no indication of Elk Park’s tumultuous history. After the silver veins gave out, the property had been sold to a Swiss hotelier who had built the nearby Elk Park Hotel. A day’s carriage ride from Denver, the hotel had been a posh retreat for wealthy Denverites until interstate highways and roadside motels rendered it obsolete. In the fifties the hotel had been remodeled into the Elk Park Preparatory School. The school had been through erratic financial times until recently, when Headmaster Alfred Perkins’ elimination of the boarding department, all-out PR campaign, and successful courtship of wealthy benefactors had put “the Andover of the West” (as Perkins liked to call it) on secure footing. Of course, one of the benefits of being a fund-raising whiz had been the current headmaster’s decade-long residency in the silver baron’s mansion.
 
The wind swept sudden, white torrents between the pine trees near the house. During the college advisory dinner we’d gotten at least another four inches. Late October in the Colorado high country often brought these heavy snowfalls, much to the delight of early-season skiers. Early snow, like a winning season for the Broncos, also helped yours truly. Wealthy skiers and football fans needed large-scale catered events to fuel them on the slopes or in front of their wide-screen TVs.
 
The coffeepots on the counters gurgled and hissed. Headmaster Perkins had given me a dire warning about the old house: any sudden electrical drain would bring the wrath of blown fuses down on us all. For safety, I had brought six drip pots instead of two large ones, then had spent forty minutes before the cocktail hour snaking extension cords around the kitchen and down the halls to various outlets. The parents had found the old house—with its Oriental rugs, antique furnishings, and higgledy-piggledy remodeling—charming. Clearly they had never had to prepare a meal for eighty in its kitchen.
 
After the cord caper, my next problem was finding room for salad plates and platters of roast beef as they teetered, askew, on buckled linoleum counters. But the real challenge had come in making Yorkshire puddings in ovens with no thermostats and no windows through which to check the dishes’ progress. When the puddings emerged moistly browned and puffed, I knew the true meaning of the word miracle.
 
From the dining room came the ponderous throat-clearing again. I nipped around the corner with the last row of dumplings as the headmaster began to speak.
 
Excerpt From: Diane Mott Davidson. “The Cereal Murders.” iBooks.

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Cereal Murders 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved every book so far, this one included.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cereal Killer Strikes again The Cereal Murders, By, Davidson, Diane Mott Mystery 303 p.g. Police officer and father of two, John Salter, was murdered. Forensic Scientist believe it is the same whom killed several people through out Montgomery County. Wife and children are still mourning over the mans death. Audrey is a teenage collage student, tries to collect clue as an amomonous cereal killer strikes through town. Alex, witnessed a murder years ago when he was five years old, he starts to have memories about the murder, can these frightening memories bring them one step closer to finding the killer? Join Audrey and Alex as they discover deadly secrets from the past that may help stop a killer. This spine tingling novel by, Diane Mott Divan is sure to make your top ten list. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did, and if you did there are several more books by Diane mott davison.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the 1st time I have read any of Diane Mott Davidson's books. I am now a huge fan of this series! I enjoyed this one& am now hooked on her books. My neice sent this to us around Valentine's, she'd told us about it at Christmas, said they are very popular in Colorado, & now I see why. (The recipes are great, too). My family have all loved the ones I have tried out on them. I enjoyed the 'love' story that is so true to life, how many of us has fallen in love & had to 'snick' around because of the kiddies at home? You want the best for her & her policeman all the way through this great read. A pleasant way to end the day, curled up with this book, a cup of hot tea & maybe a piece of Sorry Cake.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was alright . I think she had to much other things going on extas thing that didn't need to be added. It was hard to follow
RavenDark More than 1 year ago
I did enjoy this work, almost as much as I enjoyed Dying for Chocolate. Goldy has a penchant for being in the wrong place at the wrong time (or perhaps the right place at the right time, considering). Davison's characters are complex, selfish, whiny, entitled at times, but they are fun to read about. Goldy can come off as a weak character at times, not speaking her mind to those who should be put in their place, but in the end, the right people get their comeuppance and you wonder if Goldy knew all along. I will definitely be reading the rest in this series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a fantastic combination of fun, murder, and school. This depicts what happens to seniors and their parents to a t-ee if not a little streched. I know that the book is probably seems unreal but if you've been throught the exiperence you understand. It also shows high school antatics and how cruel people can be. This was diffently my favorite in the series about Goldy Bears, the caterter/under cover slueth.
MsBeautiful on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enjoy this character, love hearing about cooking/recipes
cbl_tn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Caterer and divorced mother Goldy Bear has been hired to prepare food for a series of college advisory events sponsored by her son's private school. Anxiety abounds at the first school dinner as the seniors and their parents fret about grades, test scores, class rank, extracurricular achievements, and the competition for admission to elite schools such as Stanford and Princeton. It's a deadly serious business, as Goldy learns when she finds the body of the class valedictorian during her after-dinner cleanup. Then a series of malicious pranks threaten Goldy, her seventh-grade son Arch, and school senior Julian, Goldy's catering assistant who lives with Goldy and Arch. The events bring Goldy and her admirer, homicide detective Tom Schulz, closer together as they try to protect Goldy's family.I wasn't completely satisfied with the mystery aspects of the book. The author doesn't leave any loose ends, but the clues didn't really point to any particular culprit. Goldy eventually pieced things together and identified the right person, but following the same pattern of reasoning, I think the clues could have pointed to a number of other individuals. This is one of the earlier books in the series, though, and I know that this aspect of the series improves as it continues. The characters and the overall story line are interesting and fun, and this will keep me coming back to this series.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading more simplistic mysteries, it is refreshing to read a mystery where there are lots of clues, lots of factors, and no simple resolution. The recipes make this story fun, and I was pleased to see the progression of Goldy's relationship with Tom Schultz. My only difficulty with this storyline is that I had a hard time believing that parents could be so obsessive about their childrens' college aspirations - but maybe I'm just not hanging out in the right circles!!
GJbean on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pretty good book with Goldie the chef getting caught up in more murders and mystery.
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Goldy keeps finding dead bodies at the school her son attends. Not only that, but someone seems determined to harm her and her household. Never-the-less, she is determined to continue her catering and her life.Not my favorite mystery series, yet this story was more entertaining than the others I've read by Diane Mott Davidson. A couple of the recipes look try-able. Many of her characters do not seem realistic to me, and the motivation for such rampant murdering just doesn't fly in my book, not that it couldn't happen in real life, sadly, similar things have happened, but I didn't buy it in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a good, easy read! It was suspenseful and you never knew who the bad guy was! I could not read fast enough in the last part of the book!
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I am reading these in order, and they are easy reads with fun plot twists and quirky recurring characters. Fun to read and the main characters continuing story makes your want to keep reading.
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FPC More than 1 year ago
the book was really good I will be reading more books by her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about a valvictorian who gets murdered. If you like cozy mysteries this book is for you. Book 3 in the series.
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