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Dark Tort: A Novel of Suspense [Hardcover]

Diane M Davidson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 30 2006 Goldy Bear Culinary Mysteries

The New York Times bestselling author cooks up a knockout treat featuring the irrepressible caterer Goldy Schulz

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

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 incredibly dangerous and very liable to cook Goldy's goose.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of bestseller Davidson's delicious 13th culinary adventure featuring caterer Goldy Schulz (after 2004's Double Shot), Goldy stumbles over the body of neighbor Dusty Routt, a paralegal at Hanrahan & Jule, a boutique law firm in Aspen Meadow, Colo., with which Goldy has a lucrative contract to provide breakfasts and occasional lunches for its attorneys and well-heeled clients. By all accounts, Dusty's future was bright, no longer overshadowed by a tragic, poverty-stricken past. Her untimely death shatters her mother and grandfather, still reeling from the death of her brother while in police custody. When Dusty's mother, who distrusts the police, asks Goldy to investigate, the caterer feels she can't refuse. Between catering jobs, teaching son Arch how to drive and assuaging her own grief, Goldy chases down clues with the help of her policeman husband, Tom, and her catering partners. Though a few stones remain unturned (perhaps intentionally), Davidson delivers another entertaining whodunit with delectable recipes. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Caterer Goldy Schulz firmly believes that food is sustenance for the soul as well as the body. She has proved her theory in 12 previous mysteries, but she puts it to the test again in this delectable read. Arriving at a local law firm to ready breakfast for clients of one of the attorneys, she trips over the body of 20-year-old Dusty Routt, a young employee who lives down the street from Goldy. When Dusty's distraught mother, who has no faith in cops, begs Goldy to find out who killed her daughter, Goldy's curiosity kicks in, and she cobbles together a list of clues that lead back to the law firm and to paintings of food by artist Charlie Baker that decorate the firm's walls. The identity of the killer is a nice surprise, but a lot of the fun comes from the food. As usual, Davidson does more than just describe Goldy's yummy dishes; she gives us recipes (the "Strong-Arm Cookies" are exceptionally good). In the subgenre of foodie mysteries, Davidson remains the master chef. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
If you love to hate lawyers, you may well find this to be a five-star book. If you are a lawyer, well, I'm sure you'll enjoy the recipes.

For some time, I've been complaining that Ms. Davidson's novels too often treat Goldy Schulz like a punching bag. Thankfully, although Goldy has her share of accidents in this story, no one assaults her. For me, that was a major plus for this story. I hope Ms. Davidson will continue to show Goldy as a well-meaning klutz rather than as an abused woman.

How the mighty have fallen! Goldy finds herself depending on the good graces of a bunch of lawyers who don't thrill her . . . but who do like having great breakfasts, lunches and dinners at the office.

Arriving late one night to bake bread at the firm, Goldy trips and loses all of her ingredients over the reception area. But that's the least of the problem. She's just tripped over a dead woman who is her neighbor in the Habitat for Humanity house across the street. Goldy does her best to revive her friend, Dusty Routt, to no avail.

Dusty's mother is devastated by the news and begs Goldy to investigate the killing on her own. With Tom's forbearance, Goldy does just that . . . while carefully sharing what she learns with the sheriff's office.

In between, Goldy has a lot of catering to do, Arch is learning to drive (not very well), Gus and Arch are developing into a solid relationship as half brothers, Tom is learning to cook gourmet food for the family, and Goldy is puzzled by why some of artist-chef Charlie Baker's recipes don't work.

The investigation makes Goldy wish she wasn't investigating. It seems like Dusty may have been overindulging in her passion for older married men . . . and possibly running off with property that doesn't belong to her.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taste & Intrigue Welded In. Slurp & Sense. Oct. 2 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mesmerized by the luscious book jacket on DARK TORT, I picked up the hardback with my right hand, and ran my left fingertips over the face of the cool, smooth, brail effective jacket. I was more than ready to pick up on what this author had done subtly differently this time to continue infusing her stories with the edge and surge which had kept them riding tips of waves of cravings for culinary mysteries.

A riveting intensity in the opening scene of DARK TORT (the legal term for wrongful act, not "torte" as in pastry) was sparked by the first sentence of chapter one, page one. But what welded the rivets for me was the culinary catastrophe in the third paragraph:

"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 onto the receptionist's cherry-wood desk. A thick wave of sweet, dark liquid began a gluey descent across the phone console. My steel bowl of bread sponge catapulted out or my arms and hit the wall."

With each sensory impression in that paragraph having opened gateways into my mind, I would be reading onward with awakened interest.

The first 40 pages had the feel of a nightmare; I had half expected Goldy to suddenly point to her pillow, at a place to ponder about the dream, which would, of course, be a clue to a murder which would occur later, in the waking state.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  133 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Catering to Lawyers Can be a Killer Job... June 7 2006
By L Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The 13th installment in the Goldilocks Catering Mystery series starts out with a big thud...over a dead body that is. Now catering for the law firm of Hanrahan & Jule (H & J), Goldy Shultz trips over the body of good friend and paralegal-in-training, Dusty Routt, while entering the law firm late one evening. Goldy was to meet Dusty there for a cooking lesson, as Dusty wanted to learn how to cook from the skilled caterer. Goldy struggles to deal with the death of her neighbor and friend, who has struggled her entire short life. Her family has dealt with several tragedies including the death of Dusty's brother while in police custody, the blinding of her grandfather while he was imprisoned, and the statutory rape of Dusty while she was in high school. Dusty seemed to be pulling herself out of her catastrophic past with a new job at her uncle's law firm, and was seen wearing a very expensive bracelet before her death. Goldy is once again pulled into solving another mystery by the plea of Dusty's mother, and quickly learns that the case will not be an easy one to solve.

I have really enjoyed this series, and the recipes that go along with it. I love the interactions between Goldy and her husband, Tom, and the relationship with Marla. Arch's learning to drive was also a source of amusement in this book, as well. I do, however, feel sorry for Goldie with all of the tragedy in her life (she is always finding someone close to her that has died). She drinks coffee and espresso like crazy, and I cringe every time she reaches for another cup. However, the mysteries are great, and have a lot of twists to them. There were some elements to the story that were left open (hopefully for the next book in the series), and I loved the chance to "visit" these great characters once again.

The first book in the series is called "Catering to Nobody". Enjoy!
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Continuing Continuity Problems April 17 2006
By Newt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have read all the books in this series, starting shortly after the first one (Catering to Nobody) was published. I have made the recipes, read the books often, and generally enjoyed the series.

That said, Dark Tort disappoints the faithful readers with *severe* continuity problems (which have popped up in other recent books). In Dark Tort, we are reintroduced to the Routts, Goldy's neighbors from Killer Pancake. Unfortunately, the "back story" for the Routts has changed dramatically. Any reader who recalls Killer Pancake will immediately notice the differences. While not necessarily integral to the conclusion of the mystery, it does affect Goldy's investigation and it *completely* affected my enjoyment of the story.

In addition to the problem with the Routts, there are other characters who would normally have made an appearance before (particularly an elderly parishioner). By bringing them in now, there is a level of frustration.

I have often overlooked the factual inaccuracies (usual as it relates to civil law) of the Goldy Bear series because I genuinely enjoy the characters and the stories. This time, the continuity problems and other factual issues hampered my enjoyment of the book. (Not to mention the continued decision to put the recipes at the back of the book, leaving no connection between the recipe and the story.)

So, devoted readers of the series: beware. But if you are new to the series, enjoy the Goldy mystery. In all likelihood, you will find it a quick, light, and entertaining read.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delicious Mystery May 3 2006
By Yum Yum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In Dark Tort, Diane has yet again combined an excellent mystery with some very special and memorable characters. Included on the list, is, of course, her talented, clever and lovable protagonist, Goldy, who is a caterer. Also talented and lovable is Goldy's husband, Tom, who is not only a skilled detective, but a also very good cook. Goldy has an extended family (which she keeps extending, much to the reader's delight). We sometimes get recipes from Julian, a remarkable young man whom Goldy took under her wing some time ago. As the family grows, we meet more cooks (and get more recipes).

Goldy's best friend Marla, who couldn't boil water (even at high altitude), is another endearing character who appears in Diane's books, as is her teenage son, Arch.

To the mix, Diane adds the results of her excellent research skills. To top off her creation, she gives us recipes for some marvelous munchies, created by Goldy as well as some members of her family, so that we may eat while we eagerly await her next book.

Having devoured Dark Tort, I plan to prepare and devour her asparagus quiche this weekend.

I am afraid I have never purchased a Goldy book from Amazon. I attend Diane's book signings at local bookstores. I have met Diane and find her delightful.

Dark Tort deals with the antics of the members of a medium size law firm. The issue that leads to the murders is a complicated probate matter. I am a lawyer and I have done probate work. Diane has figured out its complexities.

I've met lawyers who are mirror images of Diane's characters. As a result, although I've enjoyed all the Goldy books, I found Dark Tort especially amusing.

In addition to my addiction to mysteries, I enjoy cooking. I am looking forward to preparing and eating that quiche, as well as to the next Goldy book.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark Tort - Marginal Sept. 3 2006
By Vicki Henderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have every book in the Mott Davidson catering mystery series. Dark Tort was not anywhere near as good as the previous books because Davidson has moved away from the very elements that attracted me to her characters in the first place.

In Dark Tort, Goldy does virtually no cooking. In fact, she appears to be moving away from catering and into sleuthing. What makes Goldy Bear's adventures so wonderful is Goldy and her catering business. Davidson's talent is her ability to describe scenes and characters for all of your senses. Her descriptions of Goldy's cooking, personal relationships, family life and interactions are really what attracts me to these books. Dark Tort leaves all of those aspects out.

Diane - if you read these, please go back to your roots!
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A SUSPENSEFUL CULINARY CAPER April 13 2006
By Gail Cooke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"I tripped over the body of my friend Dusty Routt at half past ten on the night of October 19."

And so begins Diane Mott Davidson's 13th adventure of can't-take-no-for-an-answer caterer Goldy Schulz. Goldy has served this author well, winning her an Anthony award and placing her on the New York Times bestseller list. No wonder - Goldy's likable, energetic, smart, and shares delicious recipes.

This time out Goldy has a new gig - she caters breakfasts and snacks for a local law firm. (By local, the setting is Aspen Meadows, Colorado, slightly west of Denver.) Hanrehan & Jewel isn't exactly a mega law firm but it's big time for Aspen Meadows. Goldy loves her job with them as did the late Dusty who was being trained to be the firm's second paralegal.

Now, when Goldy goes to the firm's office that night she's loaded down with supplies. So tripping over an inert form sends her skittering toward a heavy coffee table and doing serious damage to her tail bone. She's sure it's some kind of a joke, after all the lawyers are the kind of jokesters who put green food coloring into her cheddar omelettes and plant live moths in her folded tablecloths. But, this is no joke; it's deadly serious.

She suddenly remembers what her husband, Tom, a sheriff's department investigator, had always told her, "Never stay alone at a crime scene that hasn't been secured." She got out of there as fast as she could. Realizing that she had left her cell phone in her car, she heads for the nearest shopping center and a telephone. From then on this fast paced tale takes on a life of its own.

Dusty had been both friend and neighbor. When her bereft Mom implores Goldy to find her daughter's murderer, our kitchen sleuth can't refuse. Fortunately or almost unfortunately for Goldy she's working a lawyer's party when she happens to hear a very interesting conversation. Before she knows it she's in a real stew, and fears she'll end up someone's main course.

Davidson, as always, closes this culinary caper with 23 pages of recipes, everything from a mouth-watering Chicken Piccata Supreme to Strong-Arm cookies, rich with pecans, cherries, and chocolate chips.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke
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