"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.
- Gail Cooke