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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.
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As usual, Goldy Schulz, caterer cum sleuth, manages to solve the murder while producing sumptuous feasts, this time, in a castle, while battling her ex-husband, and agonizing over the return of her husband’s old girlfriend. She manages to adroitly leap from one crisis to another, accomplishing more in a day than most people do in a month. The action never stops. I also liked the sub-plot theme of trust in relationships.
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As usual, Goldy Schulz, caterer cum sleuth, manages to solve the murder while producing sumptuous feasts in a castle, battling her ex-husband, and agonizing over the return of her husband’s old girlfriend. She manages to adroitly leap from one crisis to another, accomplishing more in a day than most people do in a month. The action never stops. I also liked the sub-plot theme of trust in relationships.
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As usual, Goldy Schulz, caterer cum sleuth, manages to solve the murder while producing sumptuous feasts in a castle, battling her ex-husband, and agonizing over the return of her husband's old girlfriend. She manages to adroitly leap from one crisis to another, accomplishing more in a day than most people do in a month. The action never stops. I also liked the sub-plot theme of trust in relationships.
Narrator Barbara Rosenblat brings the story alive with her amazing range of voices. It fascinates me that she can actually sound like a man as well as a child. I’ve also enjoyed Ms. Rosenblat’s renditions of Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon park ranger mysteries and, amazingly, in Elizabeth Peter’s intriguing Egyptian archeologist mysteries, Rosenblat tells the story in an English accent.
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on August 25, 2003
Diane Mott Davidson's characters in "Sticks and Scones" may be more eccentric than usual, but the recipes are great, especially the scones recipe, and if you try them you'll be hooked on her books. In this one, she combats not only living people with questionable motives, but also what may be the ghost of her husband Tom's first love, a nurse whom he thought had been killed in Viet Nam.
Davidson is stretching it a little in her depiction of Tom's high school love---how unusual is it for a high schooler to be several years younger than his true love ? We all know girls mature much faster than boys!
That small objection aside, this book is full of fun, typical of all Davidson's works. Recommended.
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on April 10, 2003
This one wasn't my favourite of the Goldie series -- but it was entertaining. And I am compelled to state here: I rarely read the reviews of fictional books (this time is no exception) before I've read the book because SO OFTEN (as occurs in this string of reviews) someone feels compelled to write out the entire plot except for the final final outcome - and that is SO irritating. It is like telling someone 90% of a movie's plot when you KNOW they've not seen the movie. PLEASE don't do that. Refrain yourselves from re-capping and summarizing the entire book okay??
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on October 23, 2002
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!
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on July 14, 2002
I was enjoying this book until the ending which left a bitter aftertaste. In the begining, much was made of Goldy's problems arising from her reporting a case of possible child abuse and the resulting loss of income. At the end of the book, however, no mention is made of the more serious case of abuse--the little girl who was hidden because her parents were not married. This taught the child that she was something to be ashamed of. No amount of toys or other material things could overcome this basic message. Goldy, and the author, don't make any comment on this issue. This also brings up the problems with Archie and his relationship with is father; it is time he showed some understanding of his father's true nature and accept that the man is an abuser and a user of people, esp. Archie. It is a difficult thing to admit and could make for an important sub-text for a book. I will not buy this book.
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on July 10, 2002
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.
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on July 3, 2002
I enjoy Davidson's writing style -- no gratuitous sex, no grisly descriptions of violence, no bad language. It may be too clean for jaded city folks.
I enjoyed this particular book very much, and I always look forward to her next one. Her recipes are always excellent -- I've made many of them. The architectural descriptions of castle life in this one were somewhat sketchy, but interesting.
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