on May 20, 2002
I actually started the series with this book, and I enjoyed it so much I bought the entire series. I just finished re-reading "Tough Cookie" (after reading all the books in order) and it's the best book in the series by far.
I like Diane Mott Davidson a lot, but her previous books lacked a tight focus of characters and plot (besides Goldy and Arch). This book really held everything together- the people in the book were presented in such a way that you were interested in their motives from the first page. Goldy gains a lot of self-confidence in this book- It was nice to see her out of the kitchen and not having to worry about her security system and keeping the doors locked all the time. I know it's been a major plot issue in other books, but when Goldy was able to stop worrying about her ex-husband, John Richard, showing up and beating the hell out of her, she was actually able to come out of her shell and have fun. I can only hope that "The Jerk" stays in prison for the rest of the series because I am getting sick of the constant abuse he dolls out to her and how even her policeman husband can't seem to stop it.
I sincerely hope that DMD continues letting Goldy shine the way she does in this book. I normally advise people to read series in order, but if you have a chance to read "Tough Cookie", go ahead. It's a fun read that really will keep you guessing. Viva la Goldy!
on October 14, 2000
I have read and enjoyed all the books in the Goldy Schultz series. I find them quite entertaining and relatively easy reading when you don't feel like reading something that would be mind boggling. I also enjoy her recipes and have tried quite a few of them. As far as the story goes, I am amazed, however, at how Goldy can just wander into her kitchen (after just being almost killed by someone, somehow) and whip up a fabulous meal. Better yet, she has a hunk of a husband that is a gourment cooking policemen too!! What a life! But I do think these books are fun. The only comment I would make about this one, is that I would have liked to have seen more participation in the story by her best friend Marla and also more of Julian. I think Tom (the husband) should have had more to do besides cook and work on the plumbing. I am hoping that in her next book her son starts to mature and not be so sullen all the time. If you are looking for a real serious novel, this isn't it. But if you enjoy a fun mystery and some recipes, this is your book! Enjoy! and I am looking forward to the next book.
on October 5, 2001
Normally I'd start a review for a DMD book encouraging readers to read the series in order. After going through the reviews, there seems to be an unusual number of new readers who aren't bothered by a lack of background and many old readers who are bothered by a lack of new material. I still enjoy getting reacquainted with the gang in each book but would agree that there isn't much progress in their lives in this book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. However, it had much to do with the setting - Killdeer resort. We spend lots of time in Summit County and it was great fun identifying the bits and pieces of the various resorts that Davidson borrowed to create her fictional resort. For example, The Bistro restaurant is clearly based on one of my favorite restaurants in Keystone. And, yes, all of the skiing is fun for a skier to read about.
The plot is probably more on the 3.5 star range. As usual, DMD assembles a reasonably interesting half dozen new folks and drops enough clues that any one of them could be the bad guy. I echo some of the other reviewers in our frustration with Goldy's underhanded investigative techniques and her inability to stop stupidly putting herself into peril. You'd think she'd learn to listen to Tom.
on May 16, 2001
I have to say that I loved the beginning books of the Goldie series, but have found the last few completely lacking. The one thing that bothers me the most is that althought it has been over ten years since her first book, "Catering to No One", no one in Goldie's books has aged. In this particular book,she seems to have forgotten traits of the major characters. For example Marla (who is the best part of this series) a woman who has previously eschewed anytime of exercise is found skiing like an expert. Within the book she seems to forget the story line. For the first half of the book Goldie bemoans the closing of her kitchen because she can't afford the drains. Yet later, with no appparent influx of cash, the drain miraculously appear.
I suspect Ms. Davidson is working with a publisher who cares more about churning out the books then the quality of them. I hope that Ms. Davidson returns to the quality of her earlier books. Until then, I will be taking them out of the library rather than paying for them.
on April 19, 2001
I have always found Diane Mott Davidson's 'heroine', the caterer Goldy Schultz to be willfully dysfunctional - putting herself in harm's way constantly, dealing foolishly with her abusive ex-husband and tolerating and encouraging the sullen and rude behavior of her adolescent son. This book is set at a ski area. Among all of those acknowledgements at the beginning of the book, wouldn't you think that Ms. Davidson could find one person who knows enough about skiing to correct at least the most egregious errors about the sport?
Her sneaky underhanded ways of gathering 'evidence' with no respect for the law or individual rights are beyond tolerating. Perhaps the smarmy references to churchgoing are supposed to encourage forgiveness for these lapses. We are further treated to recipes with ground beef and Velveeta. Maybe hamburger helper is gourmet food where she comes from and it is a nice change from the heart stopping cream and butter laden recipes of her past books, but really - don't bother with this book if you eat or if you ski, it is too annoying.
on August 2, 2000
I am a faithful fan of Ms. Davidson, but this one I was glad that I got from the library instead of buying. The end was very abrupt and rushed like a high school paper with a great beginning and then it was time to turn in so she slapped an ending on it.
Goldy is beginning to be unrealistic the more I read. She doesn't even skip a beat when she is seriously hurt in an auto accident just goes into her kitchen to whip up some food. I would really ditch this woman if she were in my life...too many bad things happen to those in her life. There was no big thing that she killed a man and noses into things that are none of her business. How many times has she been told to keep her nose out? Most people would start to think that her obstruction of justice and her many brushes with trouble would make her guilty by association.
It was a nice easy read just very frustrating that the book seems to tries to end everything in the last 5 pages. It did however like most of her books make me want to go into the kitchen and cook. She does need to learn to deal with her son. Her cleaning up his botched experiement and Arch in general is just off. Although it has been awhile since I was around 14 year olds.
on July 11, 2000
This is one culinary mystery series that ages well. Diane Mott Davidson has always had the perfect recipe for mystery and mayhem, and this one is no exception. My growling stomach and scratched head are testaments that the menus will make you go "mmmm, " and the mystery will make you go "hmmm."
Goldy Schulz's catering business is temporarily out of service due to plumbing problems, and she is trying to find ways to make enough money to get it running again. She hosts a PBS cooking show and attempts to sell a rare pair of skies. When the buyer of the skies is found dead, the circumstances do not look good for Goldy, but with the PBS taping at Killdeer Ski Resort, Goldy is able to do a little skiing and a lot of snooping to solve who really wanted her ex-boyfriend, the art critic, dead and why. Goldy's other problem seems to be that everyone is getting wise to her other skill as an amateur sleuth so getting answers to her clues are a bit more difficult this time around.
The plot is as cleverly laid out, as are the mouth-watering recipes. The twist and turns are as subtle as Goldy's secret ingredients - just when you've got it - you don't. This ninth episode in Goldy's mystery series shows she is one tough cookie, and "Tough Cookie" is one great read.
on June 20, 2000
"Tough Cookie" is a great way to be distracted and entertained at the same time. Goldy once again manages to get herself into more trouble and sure she should know better, but if she did, then we wouldn't have a book, would we? Diane's characters again are interesting, complex and for the most part, believable. This time out Goldy is caught up in the murder of an old boyfriend (although they only had three dates) and the previous death of an old friend in an avalanche. The ski setting, Christmas background, and snow, snow, snow, are great assets in this mystery. I have to admit that the killer is easier to pick out in this one, but that's okay; she throws enough red herrings to make you think you're wrong. And the climax is a good one. This would do great on film. I ponder, though, one fellow customer's review who thought Tom Schulz was fat. Did I miss something way back in his introduction. I never got the impression he was fat? Just big---there is a difference! Oh, well, Davidson fans rejoice---it's a solid entry in this entertaining and mouthwatering series!
on May 22, 2000
I, too, wish that Goldie's life were not in perpetual crisis. As a series progresses, it's nice to have the characters learn from experience. I get very impatient with Goldie for making the same mistakes from book to book even though, as a former victim of abuse [child, not spouse], I find her attitude believable. I was already middle-aged when I filed four EEO complaints in 14 months [those complaints are all public record in Arizona]. I kept making the same mistake in trusting the wrong persons, being nice and hoping that would help, and being ridiculously shocked at the next level of harassment escalation. Luckily, it was the same years of therapy that gave me the courage to fight back that enabled me to switch tactics and end the harassment. I recommend more therapy for Goldie, for Arch, and definitely for this book's overly-suspicious pregnant widow (or I fear for that baby's emotional health). That aside, I enjoyed the book. The disasters on the cooking show, the art gallery scene, the descriptions of people and places, that Marla is once again permitted to be stylish though fat and that Goldie is permitted to find her fat husband sexy, and the chilling chase scene at the climax. Speaking of Arch, it's rather a pity that Marla doesn't give Goldie a complete set of "Calvin & Hobbes" books. Reading them might enable Goldie to count her blessings. I'm not at all happy with the dust jacket, though. Yes, it's a cute visual pun on the title. However, I grew up with the covers of Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton; and science fiction and fantasy paperbacks. I got my parents to buy me my first Dana Girls book, *The Winking Ruby Mystery*, just because I loved the cover. I pulled the book out and looked at it again not so long ago, and it had the same power to compel my gaze as it did over 30 years ago. When I think of what a marvelous opportunity for a knockout cover this book's climax is, with Goldie's terrified run through that breathtaking scenery, a ruthless armed killer coming ever closer -- and we get a chef-shaped cookie jar with a gun. If I were my cat, I'd hiss!
on April 6, 2000
Although a recipe for successful cookies is a good act to follow, a recipe for a cookie cutter mystery is no mystery at all. I have enjoyed Ms. Davidson's previous novels with a healthy appetite, always looking to return to her good cooking. But neither her recipes (my, goodness, Velveta! I'd rather have her recipe for meatballs.) nor her writing are at all tasty in this hastily thrown together goulash. Characters pop in and out (Marla, Julian, Tom) with no explanation and no reason except some nod to her loyal readers. A newcomer to this venue would be baffled by their ties to this self-centered caterer.
And you know, this COULD have been a killer recipe -- good villain, multiple suspects, a friend in trouble, good setting, and good descriptions. But the book is much too insubstantial and the characters mere meringue.
I hope that next time the author goes for more solid fare with much improved character development and motivation, better dialogue, and some stick to your ribs recipes.