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Prime Cut [Mass Market Paperback]

Diane Mott Davidson
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
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Product Description

From Amazon

You could die from reading one of Diane Mott Davidson's culinary mysteries: this one includes recipes for Jailbreak Potatoes (butter, whipping cream, freshly grated Parmesan cheese) and Labor Day Flourless Chocolate Cake with Berries, Melba Sauce, and White Chocolate Cream (butter, chocolate, eggs, sugar, whipping cream). So you might want to take both the recipes and Davidson's pinball machine-like plots in small bites. This time, caterer Goldy Schulz careens between the worlds of contracting and high fashion models, with bodies from both camps falling into the food. It's all in fun, and readers have been lapping up Davidson's merry mélanges with increasing appetite. Catering to Nobody, The Cereal Murders, Dying for Chocolate, The Grilling Season, Killer Pancake, and The Main Corpse are available on the paperback menu. --Dick Adler --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

In the markedly lighthearted eighth outing (after The Grilling Season, 1997), Aspen Meadows, Colo., caterer Goldy Schulz is ousted from her kitchen. Bilked, like many other residents, by local contractor Gerald Eliot, her workplace in a shambles, she agrees to help her old teacher, Chef Andre, as he caters a Christmas catalogue fashion shoot. On the way home from the acrimonious set, she stops by to visit her friend Cameron Burr, whose house has also been ravaged by Eliot. Searching for a coffee pot, she discovers Eliot's dead body. At the scene, the police find one of four cookbooks that had been stolen from the museum where Eliot was a part-time guard. Goldy's husband, Tom (a cop), has a confrontation with his rude and politically ambitious boss and is suspended from the force while charges of insubordination are investigated. Compounding Goldy's problems is an aggressive new local caterer who seems bent on stealing Goldy's clients. When Andre is killed, Goldy slips into her super-detective mode to find out who murdered two such disparate victims and why the antique cookbooks were stolen. Despite the accumulation of bad news, Goldy retains her optimism. Davidson laces her frothy tale with 11 calories-be-damned recipes likely to keep readers satisfied on the gustatory front as well as the narrative one. Simultaneous BDD audio; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

In her ninth culinary mystery, Davidson (The Grilling Season, Bantam, 1997) whips up a delightfully entertaining concoction, sprinkled with both corpses and chocolate. Goldy Bear Schulz, owner of Goldilocks' Catering: Where Everything Is Just Right! is known in Aspen Meadow, CO, as "the caterer who figures things out." While her husband remodels their kitchen, Goldy escapes the chaos by catering a magazine fashion shoot. When her beloved friend and cooking teacher is "accidentally" slain, Goldy is determined to find the killer. Davidson has sauteed a savory caper of crime and cooking (she includes 12 tantalizing recipes), with a touch of a historical puzzle for a garnish. Recommended for all public libraries.?Jill M. Tempest, Ocean Springs Municipal Lib., MS
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Last seen in The Grilling Season , caterer Goldy Schulz returns in her usual fine form. However, things are a little disturbed in Aspen Meadow, Colorado, right now: Goldy's policeman husband Tom is having nasty arguments with a new assistant DA with political aspirations and no sense; there's a new caterer in town who seems to be underbidding Goldy at every turn and displays an extremely condescending attitude; and her kitchen is in a state of construction due to the defection of a contractor. Things go from bad to worse when Goldy finds the body of the missing contractor and an old friend, caught by circumstantial evidence, is arrested for the murder at the insistence of the obnoxious new DA. As usual, Davidson cooks up quite a stew, with Goldy as the prime ingredient, whipping up fantastic meals (recipes included) while sleuthing on the side. Good characterizations and a zippy style make this another enjoyable installment in this appealing series. Stuart Miller --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Diane Mott Davidson has found the recipe for bestsellers."
--The Atlanta Constitution

"Diane Mott Davidson's culinary mysteries can be hazardous to your waistline."
--People

"Davidson is today's foremost practitioner of the culinary whodunit."
--Entertainment Weekly

From the Publisher

Five-star praise for The New York Times bestselling mysteries of Diane Mott Davidson:

"The Julia Child Of Mystery Writers"
--The Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph

"Today's foremost practitioner of the culinary whodunit."
--Entertainment Weekly

"A cross between Mary Higgins Clark and Betty Crocker!"
--The Sun, Baltimore

"You don't have to be a cook or a mystery fan to love Diane Mott Davidson's books. But if you're either--or both--her tempting recipes and elaborate plots add up to a literary feast!"
--The San Diego Union-Tribune

"Diane Mott Davidson's culinary mysteries can be hazardous to your waistline."
--People

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

"Diane Mott Davidson has found the recipe for bestsellers."
--The Atlanta Constitution

"Diane Mott Davidson's culinary mysteries can be hazardous to your waistline."
--People

"Davidson is today's foremost practitioner of the culinary whodunit."
--Entertainment Weekly

About the Author

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

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Like a fudge souffle, life can collapse. You think you have it all together--fine melted chocolate, clouds of egg white, hints of sugar and  vanilla--and then bam.  There's a reason things fall apart, my  husband would say. But of course Tom would say that. He's a cop.

On the home front, things were not good. My kitchen was trashed, my  catering business faced nasty competition, and my fourteen-year-old son  Arch desperately missed our former boarder, twenty-year-old Julian Teller.  For his part, Tom was embroiled in a feud with a new assistant district  attorney who would plea-bargain Hermann Göring down to disturbing the  peace. These days, I felt increasingly frantic--for work, for cooking  space, for perspective.

Given such a litany of problems, life had brightened somewhat when my old  cooking teacher, Chef André Hibbard, had offered me a one-day gig  helping to cater a fashion shoot. My clients--the ones I still had--would  have scoffed. Catering to models? You must be desperate.

Maybe I was. Desperate, that is. And maybe my clients would have been  right to ridicule me, I reflected, as I pulled my van into the dirt lot at  the edge of Sandbottom Creek. Across the water stood the Merciful  Migrations cabin, where the first week of the photo shoot would take  place. My clients would have cried: Where are you going to hide your  butter and cheese? I didn't know.

The cloudless, stone-washed-denim sky overhead and remote-but-picturesque  cabin seemed to echo: You're darn right, you don't know. I ignored  a shudder of self-doubt, jumped out of my van, and breathed in air crisp  with the high country's mid-August hint of fall. It was only ten a.m.   Usually I didn't arrive two hours before a lunch, especially when the food  already had been prepared. But show me a remote historic home and  I'll show you a dysfunctional cooking area. Plus, I was worried  about my old friend André. This was his first off-site catered meal  since he'd retired four years ago, and he was a basket case.

I opened the van's side door and heaved up the box containing the Savory  Florentine Cheesecakes I'd made for the buffet. I expertly slammed the  door with my foot, crossed the rushing water, and carefully climbed the  stone steps to the cabin. On the deck, I took another deep breath,  rebalanced my load, then pushed through the massive wooden door.

Workers bustled about a brightly lit, log-lined, high-beamed great room.  I rested my box on a bench and stood for a few minutes, ignored by the  swirl of activity. Frowning, I found it challenging to comprehend my  surroundings. Two workers called to each other about where to move the  scrim, which I finally deduced was a mounted swath of fabric designed to  diffuse the photographer's light. The two men moved on to clamping movable  eight-foot-square wood screens--flats, I soon learned--into place. The  flats formed a three-sided frame for "the set." Meanwhile, other folks  rushed to and fro laden with hair dryers, notebooks, makeup trays,  tripods, and camera equipment. Hoisting my box, I tried to figure out  where André might be.

As I moved along, the models were easy to spot. Muscular young men and  impossibly slender women, all with arrestingly sculpted faces, leaned  against the log walls or slumped in the few stripped-bark bentwood chairs.  The models' expressions were frozen in first-day-of-school apprehension.  And no wonder: They were about to undergo the cattle call for the famed  Prince & Grogan Christmas catalog. Prince & Grogan was an upscale  Denver department store. Auditioning to model Santa-print pajamas for  their ads had to be anxiety-creating.

I plowed a crooked path to what I hoped was the kitchen entrance. As I  feared, the dark, cramped cooking space featured plywood glued along the  one wall not covered by cupboards. Above the plywood, a dusty lamp hung to  illuminate the battered sink. Next to the sink, buckled linoleum counters  abutted a gas oven that didn't look much newer than a covered wagon's camp  stove. In the center of the uneven wood floor, short, paunchy,  white-haired André Hibbard surveyed the room with open  dissatisfaction. As usual, my old friend and mentor, who had made a rare  compromise when he'd immigrated, anglicizing his name from Hébert to  Hibbard,  sported a pristine white chef's jacket that hugged his potbelly.  His black pants were knife-creased; his black shoes were shiny and  spotless. When he saw me, his rosebud mouth puckered into a frown.

"Thank goodness." His plum-colored cheeks shook; the silvery curls  lining his neck trembled. "Are these people pigs, that I have to  work in this trough? I may need money, but I have  standards!"

I put down my box, gave him a quick hug, and sniffed a trace of his spicy  cologne. "André! You're never happy. But I'm here, and I brought the  nonmeat entrée you requested. Main-dish cheesecakes made with  Gruyre and spinach."

He tsked while I checked the ancient oven's illegible thermostat.  "The oven is hot. Whose recipe is it?"

"Julian Teller's. Now training to become a vegetarian chef." I lifted the  cakes from the box and slid them into the oven to reheat. "Now, put me to  work."

I helped André pour out the tangy sauces that would accompany the  delicate spring rolls he'd stuffed with fat steamed shrimp, sprigs of  cilantro, and lemongrass. Then we stirred chopped pears into the red-wine  vinaigrette, counted cornbread biscuits, Parker House Rolls, and sourdough  baguettes, and discussed the layout of the buffet. Prince & Grogan was  the client of record. But the fashion photography studio, Ian's Images,  was running the show.

"Ian Hood does fashion photography for money," André announced as he  checked his menu, "and nature photography for fun. You know this?"

In André's scratched, overloaded, red cooking equipment box--one I  knew well from our days at his restaurant--I pushed aside his garlic press  and salamander, and  nabbed the old-fashioned scoop he used to make butter  balls. "I know his pictures of elk. You can't live in Aspen Meadow and  miss them."

André pursed his lips again and handed me the tub of chilled butter.  "The helpers are day-contractors working for Prince & Grogan."

The word contractor, unfortunately, instantly brought my trashed  kitchen to mind. Forget it for now--you have work to do. I scraped  the butter into dense, creamy balls. I wrapped the breads in foil while  André counted his platters. Because the cabin kitchen was not a  commercially-approved space, he had done the bulk of the food preparation  at his condo. While he gave me the background on the shoot, we used  disposable thermometers to do the obligatory off-site food-service tests  for temperature. Was the heated food hot enough? The chilled offerings  cold enough? Yes. Finally, we checked the colorful arrangements of fruit  and bowls of salad, and tucked the rolls into napkin-lined baskets.


When the cheesecakes emerged, golden brown and puffed, they filled the  small kitchen with a heavenly aroma. André checked their temperature  and asked me to take them out to the buffet. I stocked the first tray,  lifted it up to my shoulder, and nudged through the kitchen door. When I  entered the great room, a loudly barked order made me jump.

"Take off your shirt!"

I banged the tray onto the ruby-veined marble shelf that a note in  André's familiar sloping hand had labeled Buffet. The shelf,  cantilevered out of the massive log walls, creaked ominously. The tray of  cheesecakes slid sideways.

"Your shirt!"

I grabbed the first springform pan to keep it from tipping. This was not  what I was expecting. Because the noise outside the kitchen had abated,  I'd thought the room was empty and that the models' auditions had been  moved elsewhere. I was obviously wrong. But my immediate worry was the  cheesecakes, now threatening to toboggan downward. If they landed on the  floor, I would be assigned to cook a new main dish. This would not be  fun.

With great care, I slid the steaming concoctions safely onto the counter.  Arguing voices erupted from the far corner of the great room. I grabbed  the leaning breadbasket. The floor's oak planks reverberated as someone  stamped and hollered that the stylist was supposed to bring out the gold  chains right now! I swallowed and stared at the disarray on the  tray.

To make room on the counter, I skidded the cheesecakes down the marble.  The enticing scents of tangy melted Gruyre and Parmesan swirled with  hot scallions and cream cheese spiraled upward. The thick tortes'  golden-brown topping looked gorgeous, fit for the centerfold o...

From AudioFile

Goldy Schulz takes on a rival caterer, solves a historical mystery, and finds a murder--all in the course of catering to a group of models. Rosenblat's interpretation of Goldy gives the character so much dimension that she seems wholly alive. Rosenblat's performance carries through with the others in the cast also, providing realistic, natural interactions and appropriate emotional responses. Adept at the French accent of Andre, Rosenblat nimbly switches to young American male speech for Goldy's son, Arch, and just as adeptly flows into the German accent of the rabbi. Rosenblat's talent, style and interpretations guarantee listening pleasure. P.A.J. (c) AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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