Most helpful critical review
A Culinary Mystery, Recipes Included
on October 8, 2007
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.