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Dark Tort (Culinary Mystery Series #13)
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Dark Tort (Culinary Mystery Series #13)

3.5 44
by Diane Mott Davidson

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Goldy Schulz has a lucrative new gig, preparing breakfasts and conference-room snacks for a local law firm. It's time-consuming, but Goldy is enjoying it — until the night she arrives to find Dusty, the firm's paralegal, dead. The poor young woman also happened to be Goldy's friend and neighbor, and now Dusty's grieving mother begs Goldy to find out who


Goldy Schulz has a lucrative new gig, preparing breakfasts and conference-room snacks for a local law firm. It's time-consuming, but Goldy is enjoying it — until the night she arrives to find Dusty, the firm's paralegal, dead. The poor young woman also happened to be Goldy's friend and neighbor, and now Dusty's grieving mother begs Goldy to find out who murdered her daughter.

Just because the police are on the case doesn't mean Goldy can't do a little snooping herself. While catering a party at the home of one of the firm's lawyers, she manages to overhear an incriminating conversation and ends up discovering a few clues in the kitchen.

Before long, Goldy is knee-deep in suspects, one of whom is incre-dibly dangerous and very liable to cook Goldy's goose.

Editorial Reviews

Goldy Schulz loves her new gig: Catering breakfasts and conference room snacks for ravenous local lawyers is a cinch. Everything in the coffee-and-donuts patrol is running smoothly until one evening, when Goldy trips over a freshly dead paralegal. Never hesitant to mix sleuthing with food service, she begins a stealthy investigation into the unexplained homicide.
Publishers Weekly
Rosenblat is a performer of many tempos. When caterer Goldy Schulz trips over a corpse and searches for help, Rosenblat speaks at a heart-pounding pace to draw the listener right into the narrative. After the body is taken care of and the flying flour has settled, Rosenblat slows to chart Goldy's methodical search for the killer. But Rosenblat saves smoother tones for the cooking scenes between Goldy and her police detective husband, Tom. Eating is more enjoyable for Goldy than cooking, so Rosenblat lays on her silkiest tones for the dinner scenes between the couple and their son. It's probably best not to listen to this audio on an empty stomach. Rosenblat has her hands full as she deftly and singlehandedly performs a soap-opera sized cast with aplomb. There are recipes at the end of the last CD, and there are lots of good food preparation tips along the way, so listeners will want to take notes. Simultaneous release with the Morrow hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 6). (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Goldy Schulz must be the unluckiest caterer in the world. Most caterers just serve food; Goldy trips, falls, and finds lots of dead bodies. This time, after sending ingredients flying all over her clients' law offices, she notices the body of her protegee, Dusty Routt. Poor, hardworking Dusty had been determined to make a place for herself in a world that kept slapping her back. Had Dusty seen something in the office she shouldn't have? Dusty's mother asks Goldy to investigate, with suspects including lawyers (and their wives), the office staff, and an old boyfriend. Meant to be a commentary on the social divide between rich and poor, Dark Tort suffers from verbosity and drifting focus. From the long-winded account of Goldy's initial panic to the tedious and complicated plot wrap-up, this is a book in search of an editor. Fortunately, while not a great mystery, this is still a generally amusing novel. Barbara Rosenblat, who has read other titles in the series, does her usual superb job. Recommended with reservations for most collections.-I. Pour-El, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Boone, IA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Watch your step. Goldy Bear Schultz, of Aspen Meadows catering (Double Shot, 2004, etc.), has tripped over a body at the law office of one of her best clients. Dusty Routt, an ambitious young woman who had a tough life until her Uncle Richard, a partner at the H&J law firm, took her under his wing, has been strangled. Now her distraught mother begs Goldy to find Dusty's killer. It could have been a robbery gone wrong, but as Goldy picks up gossip from her network of friends and clients, she begins to see motives for murder. Dusty had been helping settle the estate of Charlie Baker, a chef whose paintings of food have made him rich. When a cache of his work turns up in Dusty's house with two very different inventory lists attached, Goldy suspects that Charlie, a terminal cancer patient, did not die from an accidental fall. Dusty's mysterious lover, a suspicious bishop, lawyers with shaky marriages and filthy lucre all provide additional possibilities. With help from her policeman husband Tom, her able assistant Julian, her son Arch and her wealthy pal Marla, Goldy solves the crimes, saves herself from being next on the murderer's menu and whips up more of her trademark scrumptious meals. Goldy and her coterie always provide some enjoyable moments, although the mind-boggling denouement may send you to the kitchen to try the 11 appended recipes.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Culinary Mystery Series , #13
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.05(d)

Read an Excerpt

Dark Tort

A Novel of Suspense
By Diane Davidson

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright ©2006 Diane Davidson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 006111992X

Chapter One

I tripped over the body of my friend Dusty Routt at half past ten on the night of October 19.

At first I thought it was a joke. Loaded down with bread-making supplies, I had just pushed through the heavy wooden door of Hanrahan & Jule, the boutique law firm in Aspen Meadow where I'd been catering breakfasts for several months. My foot caught and I stumbled forward. I thought, Those H&J clowns are up to something. Again.

The bag of flour I was carrying slid from my hands and exploded on the carpet. Two jars of yeast plummeted onto the coffee table, where they burst into shards and powder. My last bottle of molasses sailed in a wide arc and cracked open on the receptionist's cherrywood desk. A thick wave of sweet, dark liquid began a gluey descent across the phone console. My steel bowl of bread sponge catapulted out of my arms and hit the wall.

I wasn't sure I'd be able to change my own trajectory toward an end table. It was one of two rough-hewn, cabin-style monstrosities that the decorator had thought necessary to make Hanrahan & Jule look like what it claimed to be: "your Rocky Mountain neighborhood law firm!"

I hit the end table, ricocheted over to the desk, cried out, and finallylanded on my stomach. I had tripped over I-knew-not-what in a spectacular manner, and now I was prone on an imitation Native American rug. I shrieked, "Very funny, fellas!" But the lawyers who pulled these pranks didn't appear.

I wiped flour out of my eyes and waited for the guys to reveal themselves. When they didn't, I tried to focus on what I could see of the small lobby space. Lamps made of elk horns sat on the clunky tables. The bentwood couches, which were placed beneath homey paintings of food, were empty. I was lying on a sponge-soaked picture of a tepee. The pain assaulting my tailbone was excruciating.

Gritting my teeth, I figured I was about as upset as any caterer could be, when the bread for the following morning's breakfast has been wrecked the night before. I still hadn't seen what had caused my fall. Nor was there any telltale noise. In fact, the law firm of Hanrahan & Jule was completely quiet.

I'd ended up on the far side of the massive coffee table, a thick column of wood carved, I'd been told, from the trunk of an ancient blue spruce tree. I rubbed my behind and stared at the dark lacquered bark. Had I just stumbled over my own feet? No, I was sure the small cadre of lawyers who were not in Maui this week, ostensibly engaging in continuing education, was responsible for this mishap. I heaved myself onto my back, wondering if the guys -- and that's what all ten H&J lawyers were, guys -- would think this was more funny than when they'd put green food coloring into the cheddar omelettes. Or how about the live moths that had fluttered out of one of my folded tablecloths? And then, oh Lord, then -- there was the gin-switched-for-water in my espresso machine. Soon after that trick, I'd seen one of the partners pouring vodka into the very same machine's water well. I'd used my tray to whack him from behind -- accidentally, of course -- and spewed forty dollars' worth of Stolichnaya across the firm's huge kitchen.

Staring at the ceiling, I sighed. Now that my flour, yeast, molasses, and sponge were kaput, was the partner who'd ordered the breakfast going to run out and buy freshly baked loaves for his Friday-morning meeting with clients? I doubted it very much. I wrenched my body around to survey the damage.

And there, sprawled on the far side of the coffee table, was Dusty Routt.

In addition to being a friend, Dusty was our neighbor. She was also in training to become the firm's second paralegal, and she often got drafted into playing a part in these high jinks. At the very least, she was sometimes pressed into trying to cover them up, as I'd discovered after the spiked-coffee affair, when I'd caught her disposing of a plastic bag holding two empty gin bottles. "Orders from King Richard," Dusty had whispered conspiratorially. "He says I have to get rid of the evidence. Without you catching me, that is," she'd added with a characteristic giggle as she slammed the Dumpster lid shut. Since King Richard was Dusty's uncle, Richard Chenault, the same partner whose Stoly I later disposed of, I knew a confrontation was out of the question. Just this past August, Richard's secretary had been summarily fired when she'd had the audacity -- or stupidity -- to send a locket engraved for Richard's mistress to his, uh, wife. Richard's wife, a doctor named K.D., had promptly filed for divorce.

I stared at Dusty's back, waiting. I couldn't see her face. Still, I knew it was Dusty. There was her highlighted-at-home hair; there was the like-new beige Calvin Klein suit she was wearing. I'd actually found the suit for her at Aspen Meadow's secondhand store. Now I wanted to hear her high, joyful voice as she jumped up to cry, "Surprise!" I anticipated a trio of attorneys leaping out from behind the receptionist's desk and squealing, "Gotcha!"

But I still couldn't hear anything at all.

"Dusty!" I whispered hoarsely. "Get up. Gag's over."

She didn't move. I did finally hear something, but it was only the steady plink plop of beaten egg dripping onto one of the end tables. My gaze shifted from Dusty to where the sponge liquid had first landed, on Charlie Baker's painting of peach pie, one of three of his famous pictures of food that adorned the lobby walls. The frame was broken. Had I done that to dear, departed Charlie Baker's artwork?

Charlie Baker. I swallowed. Don't go there, I ordered myself. But then I squinted at some splotches and drips that had stained the painted pie, with its list of ingredients meticulously penned underneath . . .


Excerpted from Dark Tort by Diane Davidson Copyright ©2006 by Diane Davidson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Diane Mott Davidson is the author of seventeen bestselling novels. She divides her time between Colorado and Florida.

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Dark Tort 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read all the books in the series, and this will be my last. How odd that a sledge hammer was a feature in the book, because that's how I felt about the entire thing...hammer into the reader's head the same thing over and over again just in case we're too blind to see it. Add the charm of a wet noodle, absolutely no humor, plenty of whining and self pity and more references to past books than actual plot then drag it all down to a snail's pace and it all adds up to one incredibly boring book. You know whodunit and why withing the first 50 pages, and by the end when Goldy does her usual act of extreme stupidity (and you just know how she'll be saved this time) you don't really care. By the end of the book the only character I could still stomach was Julian. Maybe it's time to drop Goldy and follow this young man...he seems to be the only one with a brain and compassion and can still function in the face of disaster, with a smile.
AnnCarol More than 1 year ago
Loved the mystery and how they incorporated cooking into the story.
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Although this is't my favorite book in the series, it was still entertaining & had an exciting ending.
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Davidson never fails to both intrigue, entertain and certainly widen our recipe files. May she never stop. I loved this one
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mjtprn More than 1 year ago
yummy, good recipes
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