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on September 1, 2003
In contrast to other reviewers, I find the plotting in this Davidson novel to be more complex and the suspicious characters to be better developed than in her previous books. The victim was a bad guy, a good guy, a two-timer, a lover who wanted (and maybe expected himself) to become faithful, a good friend, and an exploiter -- yes, all rolled into one interesting, attractive man. Likewise, the people who might have knocked him off hardly arouse indifference.
Solve riddles, read recipes, go to a Shopper's Anonymous meeting, sigh at the mistakes we all make with our children: yes, indeed, you can get a lot done reading this book. It is also a great introduction to what passes for springtime on the eastern slopes of the Rockies and to the burgeoning (some would say out of control) commercial and residential development happening here.
I had allowed myself to be put off by reviews here and finally picked up the book for a holiday weekend. I was not in the least disappointed -- except that it had taken me so long to get to it. The book engaged my brain, made me laugh out loud, and brought on ruminations about how life -- and our outrageous mistakes in it -- catches up with us all.
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on August 25, 2002
Opening up a Goldy Schultz book is like curling up under an old quilt during a winter storm by a roaring fire with cocoa and chocolate chip cookies by your side. There�s just something about jumping into a Diane Mott Davidson mystery that�s so comforting.
It must be, in part, due to the way Davidson has a talent for establishing a mood that few other mystery writers can. She transports readers to Goldy�s warm and inviting kitchen filled with an array of aromas, from Shopper�s Chocolate Truffles to steamy espresso, described so tangibly that it makes you want to run in and whip up a batch of cookies and make a pot of coffee. This, intermingled with the soft snow falling outside in the icy, blustery Colorado winters, makes for some enjoyable reading.
To be able to mix this atmosphere with murder and still result in a fun, light-hearted book is Davidson�s true talent. For the books are really not about the murders at heart, but about Goldy and how she deals with them.
Davidson�s newest installment, "Chopping Spree", does not disappoint.
To fully appreciate this book, you need to read all the rest of the series in order. It�s important to understand where Goldy, Arch, Julian, and Tom have been in terms of their lives to understand why they are the way they are today.
True, as other reviewers have said, Arch has become a spoiled-rotten brat, and Goldy fosters this in him while all the while spouting her distaste for the ultra-rich, materialistic classmates Arch attends school with.
To declare this a fault of the book, however, is absurd. Everyone has her own faults, and a protagonist of a novel should not be immune. Many teenagers display far worse behavior than Arch, and many parents can�t say no to their children. Goldy is no different. While she hates materialistic values, she suffers from the guilt of the impact that previous ordeals in their lives, domestic violence, the Jerk being in jail, a new marriage, etc., have had on Arch. In turn, she spoils him.
If you�re looking for a likeable character, Julian, Tom, and Marla all suffice.
The murder-mystery in "Chopping Spree" is intriguing and suspenseful but does fall a bit flat in the conclusion. It is a little incredulous how Goldy is able to put together some clues in the end that seem a little far-fetched, and the motives of the killer mirroring other relationships in the book is a little too coincidental.
Nevertheless, "Chopping Spree" is a fun book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
In addition, if you ever get a chance to attend a book signing with Davidson, by all means go. It is interesting to hear how Davidson comes up with her ideas and how she goes about her research. She also shows up to every signing with a batch of homemade treats, a.k.a. Goldy-syle. Yum!
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on July 6, 2002
While Goldy's ex-husband is in jail, her marriage to policeman Tom Schulz is stable and happy and her catering business is successful beyond her wildest dreams. Her old school friend Barry Dean has commissioned her to cater an event at the Westside Mall but the evening ends in Barry's death and a trip to the hospital for Goldy.

The police question her, making it clear she's a suspect but they eventually arrest Julian, Goldy's assistant and a very dear friend. Julian's fingerprints are on the murder weapon, he failed a polygraph test, and a witness says that Julian tried to run Barry over earlier in the week. Despite the overwhelming evidence, Goldy knows he is innocent and sets out to prove it as only she can.

Readers will have a hard time deciding what is better: the mouth-watering descriptions of various recipes or the fast paced compelling story line. Diane Mott Davidson has once again constructed a clever and complex mystery starring a congenial heroine and her equally enjoyable friends. The protagonist's teen is so well drawn that every mother who raised a teenager will have a great deal of sympathy for Goldy.

Harriet Klausner
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on June 30, 2002
This mystery takes place during the snowy Colorado spring which made reading the book in 90 degree summer heat a pleasure.
Chopping Spree is the 11th in a series of mysteries that deals with how the rich in Colorado, when they aren't spending on luxuries, get knocked off at their catered events. All of the regular characters are back except The Jerk who is serving time--if you haven't read the previous books, their relationships are all explained. Arch is about to celebrate his 15th birthday and is starting to show some unpleasant teenage materialism and angst - or is this the first glimpse we get into behavior inherited from his father, The Jerk.
The novel series was started before the JonBenét Ramsey murder and the Columbine High School massacre; yet even with the limited violence and gentle writing style, we get a peek into how the very rich and pampered (and the wannabees that surround them) handle their children (or are handled by them) and why these well-off communities are set upon by such unfortunate occurrences. I love reading about the rich and how they screw up.
I dreamt of chocolate and coffee the other night because of this book instead of murder and violence.
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on September 13, 2003
Davidson's culinary mysteries explore the complex world of family relationships with as much intensity as they explore the mystery of the specific crime Goldie is investigating. The glory of the Rocky Mountain region is also a huge part of the charm of this series, as well as the appealing recipes. Arch's transformation into a regular teenager with all the problems that entails, enriches the sub-text of this excellent story.
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on September 21, 2003
This is a really good book. This has wonderful recipes! This time Goldy is catering to a bunch of ritzy custermers at the malll. To her dismay her employer is an old coolage friend. When he is murderd JULLIRN TELLER (their border)is convicted her apprentice do i metion friend of the family. She sets out to find the real murder before the murder goes free anf JULLIEN goes to jail.
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on July 10, 2002
I have enjoyed all of Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy Bear books. With Arch getting older, Goldy getting busier than ever, and Tom being his usual supportive self, Goldy is finding herself in still another mess and murder. The twists and turns can be surprising. Really enjoyed this one.
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on November 8, 2002
As usual, Diane Mott Davidson has written a charming, cozy mystery. It's a great book to curl up with on a cool autumn/winter evening. However, you may find the many wonderful recipes that are included inspire a trip to the kitchen for a late-night snack.
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on September 23, 2002
Davidson has indeed done it again. This latest entery in the Schulz series is exceptionally well written. It clearly shows she hasn't lost her touch yet. It is well worth getting and reading.
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on July 23, 2002
He who has a rapaciious appetite for the extraordinary in the culinary arts and in a mystery publication will be well satisfied after having read this book.
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