5.0 out of 5 stars High tea has again been served.
I always find it fun to read on Amazon.com what others have to say about the books I like to read. Interesting and quite valid points usually get made somewhere in the process. ... If there was ever a professional victim, Scarpetta is it. And what teen-ager has never acted at one point like a brat? At least Arch has the potential of growing out of it. Some teens never do...
Published on March 17 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars A Culinary Mystery, Recipes Included
Caterer Goldy Schulz has been hired to cook an authentic Elizabethan luncheon and dinner at a castle (shipped over from England in pieces). But on the cold February morning of the luncheon, someone shoots out her living room window. Meanwhile, her police officer husband, Tom, is away on a case, and two of Aspen Meadow's most influential citizens are determined to see...
Published on Oct. 8 2007 by Debra Purdy Kong
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Culinary Mystery, Recipes Included,
This review is from: Sticks & Scones (Mass Market Paperback)
Caterer Goldy Schulz has been hired to cook an authentic Elizabethan luncheon and dinner at a castle (shipped over from England in pieces). But on the cold February morning of the luncheon, someone shoots out her living room window. Meanwhile, her police officer husband, Tom, is away on a case, and two of Aspen Meadow's most influential citizens are determined to see Goldy fail at her job. Relocating herself and her fourteen-year-old son to Hyde Castle, Goldy tries to persevere, but it isn't easy. Tom is shot, she spots a dead body in the water and learns that her abusive ex-husband has been granted early parole.
This is a lot of bad luck for one morning, and in Diane Mott Davidson's STICKS & SCONES, the bad luck keeps on coming, so much so that the story began to stretch credibility. Did I mention that the castle is allegedly haunted and a mysterious woman has shown up asking for Tom? By page two hundred, I kept wondering how Goldy could be in the wrong place at the wrong time so often, especially after refusing to listen to advice from Tom and other officers. Still, I liked Goldy and many supporting characters in this book. The main plot kept me turning pages and subplots were skillfully woven through the story.
My only other quibble is that recipes were placed within the text rather than at the end. At one point, Davidson takes a whole page to describe Goldy preparing a dish, which is followed by the five-page recipe. Afterward, two pages of story are tucked between four more pages of another recipe. I have to admit, though, that some of the dishes sound pretty good. I just might give Penny-Prick Potato Casserole a try.
3.0 out of 5 stars The Perils Of Goldie Continue,
It's 4:30 on a cold February morning. Goldie's husband, Tom, is out of town on police business. Someone shoots out the front window of the house. Not a pleasant way to wake up. The scene then shifts to a transplanted castle where Goldie has two scheduled catering events coming up. Descriptions of the old English castle were a little tedious in the beginning, but later proved to be essential to the mystery, so I'm glad I paid attention. A map would have been helpful. This was actually a very good mystery. Plenty of separate investigations for Goldie to pursue. I have to agree with some of the other reviewers here, that the characters do seem to be turning a little stale. I wish Goldie would stop referring to her ex-husband as The Jerk. It just seems rather juvenile. The recipes, as always, sound scrumptious. I didn't think I would be interested in recipes for the Elizabethan period, but Davidson has presented them in an updated form. For instance, Kidney Pie has been turned into Shakespeare's Steak Pie. I'm anxious to give that and the Plum Tart a try. I guess this would be described as a "cozy mystery". It was enjoyable, if not exactly riveting. As Goldie finds comfort in food prep, I find comfort in reading about it.
5.0 out of 5 stars High tea has again been served.,
By A Customer
I always find it fun to read on Amazon.com what others have to say about the books I like to read. Interesting and quite valid points usually get made somewhere in the process. ... If there was ever a professional victim, Scarpetta is it. And what teen-ager has never acted at one point like a brat? At least Arch has the potential of growing out of it. Some teens never do. And as I recall Ramses Emerson in Elizabeth Peters' Peabody series is a rather precocious fellow.
In comparion to other mysteries (Dr. Gidion Fell, for instance) Davidson's is rather lite reading. Read it for fun like I do. It is considerably better than Tamar Myers Pennsylvania Dutch series. Magdalena Yoder is totally off base to begin with. She makes Goldy look only slightly neurotic.
I enjoyed this novel. Like her other novels in this series you have to read this one every day until you finish it in order to keep the train of thought. As long as you do that you will do well with it. Davidson hasn't quite noticeably slipped yet.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Mystery,
Things aren't going well for Goldie Schultz. Her catering business is slow, her husband is away on an assignment,her exhusband has been released from jail without the parole board notifying her as promised, and now someone has shot out her front window. Fortunately, her clients have invited her to stay with them in their authentic English castle. On the other hand, a couple she accused of child abuse after seeing the husband shake the child into unconsciousness, seem to be the castle owners' best friends and have the run of the castle, they even have keys! Goldie finds a dead body who turns out to be the fugitive her husband is looking for. He arrives at the scene, only to be shot in the shoulder. Is this enough action for anyone? This is all in the first couple of chapters.
I have never read any of the books of this series before and I was very happy with this one. The characters were very well developed and interesting. The story line was very interesting and very fast moving. I will definitely read more of these mysteries.
3.0 out of 5 stars Stick with this one, but just for the recipes!,
I just finished this book and while it was a major improvement over "Tough Cookie", which seemed like it was cranked out in about two weeks with NO plot development, this recent effort was a bit stale.
The setting was interesting until you recall that "Death by Chocolate" took place in a similarly bizarre setting -- the home of an eccentric ex-general. Goldy is once again "rescued" by some amazingly indulgent clients ("Come move in with us and bring your entire extended family!".) I think that rather than retiring Goldy, as a reviewer suggested, she needs a change of venue. She needs to live and work in a place where her beloved friend Marla doesn't show up at every event brandishing her wealth like a shield and where the Jerk can't exert his strangely effective influence on the weak and whiny Arch. Now THERE'S an annoying character -- emotionally he's about 6 in every book.
I think that having Julien show up (as he always does in a crisis) is getting to be a very tired plot device. Maybe the next book should have him scamming Goldy or murdering The Jerk, just to break out of the mold.
Unlike other reviewers, I thought the recipes were great and will definitely try a few. And however negative this review may read, I AM a great fan of DMD and of this series. However, she needs to grow her characters a bit -- and she needs a new nemesis. The Jerk is getting implausible and sounds more and more like a mental patient in every book. Come to think of it, there's a good way to get rid of him!
2.0 out of 5 stars IS IT TIME TO RETIRE GOLDY?,
"Sticks and Scones" is a major disappointment in light of the earlier efforts by Ms. Davidson. Goldy is back, and unfortunately, so is her ridiculously cartoonish ex-husband, John Norman, and her increasingly annoying fourteen year old son, Arch. Her usually enjoyable husband, Tom, is merely a plot device in this one, and none of his usual charm and security is evidenced. I don't know why Davidson had to give Tom an ex-lover mysteriously returned from the dead, and if Goldy really loved Tom as much as she says, how could she doubt him on such little evidence?
The murders in this book are so under-written that you find yourself not really caring if they are caught, and when the culprit is revealed, I found myself saying, "Big deal...who else could it have been?"
And as for the recipes, which once were novel and entertaining, they are now merely interruptions in the plot. And, besides, who would really eat this kind of "snobbish" food? Let's have some good basic recipes, or better yet, why don't we retire Goldy from the catering business. Let her go nuts and shoot and kill her ex-husband, send Arch off to a disciplinary boarding school and she, Tom and Marla can open their own detective agency.
It's sad to see a good series start to fail so miserably as in "Sticks and Scones."
4.0 out of 5 stars Femmes Fatales Everywhere!,
Diane Mott Davidson has written her most far-fetched plot, filled it with action, and added her usual excellent recipes (this time themed to Elizabethan times). If you treat this mystery as a satire on the kind of romance mystery novels that fill the bookstores, you'll love it. If you try to take it seriously, you'll be disappointed unless you have a few alcoholic beverages first to dull your rational mind. The main advantage of this book is that the unpleasant theme of violence at the hands of Goldy's ex (from The Grilling Season) turns into a minor key from a major one in that book.
The book opens with Goldy home with Arch and Jake in the wee hours of the morning, while Tom is gone in New Jersey on a manhunt for a suspect in a FedEx truckjacking. A shotgun blast takes out her living room window, and the neighbors arrive with arms to look for the culprit. They find no one. Goldy is supposed to cater a job later in the day, so she clears out with the food and Arch. Before the day ends, Goldy finds the man Tom was tracking dead in a creek near her client's castle. When Tom joins her to investigate, a rifle shot rings out and wings him. Soon they are on a helicopter headed for the hospital in a hurry, because Tom has lost a lot of blood. This powerful beginning is Ms. Davidson's best in this series.
Plot complications soon pile on. Her ex-husband, Dr. John Richard Korman, has been released from jail on parole. Could he be shooting at Goldy and Tom? What about the parents she accused of abusing a baby? Who is the mystery woman staking out the house?
Goldy and Arch move in with their clients in a restored castle transported from Europe, while Tom recovers in the hospital. The story rapidly evolves to include a letter from Henry VIII, some of the world's rarest stamps, exotic castle features, ghosts, unlikely co-conspirators, confidential e-mails, old girl friends, passion, love, and revenge.
Normally, all of this would make a delightful story. In this case, the story is flawed by far-fetched twists and turns that stretch credibility well past the breaking point. With less imagination, this story would have been more. As written, it is such a fantastic tale that you will be disappointed when you find out the resolution.
As you think about this story, I suggest that you consider the question of balance in your life. When is more too much? If one ice cream soda tastes good, are four better at one time? How about twelve?
Seek balance in all that you do!
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the author's best catering mysteries,
Though her beloved spouse Tom is on a police matter in New Jersey, Aspen Meadow, Colorado resident Goldy Schultz feels a bit encouraged now that she has her first major catering job in a month. The Hyde Castle event means future jobs for Goldilocks Catering recovering from the debacle of the Lauderdale incident.
However, her upbeat feelings collapse when she learns her ex-husband has been released early from prison and someone shoots out her window. Not long afterward, Goldy finds the murdered corpse of Andy Balanchek in the creek near the Hyde Castle Chapel. When Tom who just returned home joins her there, an unknown assailant fires a shot and wounds him. Goldy has to balance her son's time with his biological father, nurse her current beloved husband, cater an Elizabethan feast at the castle, and uncover the identity of a killer. Any one of these ingredients could destroy her recipe.
The latest Goldy mystery is like all the others: fun and entertaining due to a fabulous heroine and a strong support cast. The story line moves quickly never allowing a terrible tasting treat to grace its pages. Goldy is one of the top female amateur sleuths because her chef Diane Mott Davidson always bakes a winner.
4.0 out of 5 stars Members of the Family,
This review is from: Sticks & Scones (Mass Market Paperback)
Having read the nine previous mysteries featuring caterer Goldie Schulz, she and her family have become almost real to me, have almost become friends. I am always excited to buy the new one and delve into it. This one did not disappoint me. The mystery begins when Goldie's living room window is shot out in the middle of the night, then Tom is shot, and there are mysterious ghost-like happenings occurring at the reconstructed medieval castle in which she is catering some events. There are plenty of red herrings thrown into the mix and plenty of oddball characters to make it interesting. I really like the fact that Diane Mott Davidson can usually write interesting characters without making them caricatures...although I have to say here that Goldie's ex-husband's new girlfriend is not written so well, being the stereotypical blond bimbo type. I also was very happy that Julian played a big part in this episode as I like him...now let's have more from Marla, Ms. Davidson. Great series!
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun mystery, wonderful recipes!!,
Diane Mott Davidson has done it again, another fun mystery involving Goldy, the caterer/sleuth along with murder and missing valuable stamps, not to mention an appearance by Goldy's husband's old girlfriend. The story begins with Goldy's picture window being shot out, a suspect in a police case turning up dead near a catering sight, and after that , the clues and suspects mount up faster than the calories in the recipes!! There are wonderful recipes for scones, shortbread cookies and the totally fantastic and irrestible chocolate emergency 911 cookies!!! Davidson's mysteries are fun and interesting, and while some may find them a bit of a stretch for their imagination, the story is very entertaining and enjoyable. You will not be dissapointed. The characters are interesting, and some of them are really out there, and that is what makes the story move! I have read all of this series of books, and while some are better than others, this one is one of the most fun!!
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Sticks & Scones by Diane Mott Davidson (Audio Cassette - April 3 2001)
Used & New from: CDN$ 86.32