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3.1 out of 5 stars
3.1 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 13 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
HALL OF FAMEon December 16, 2007
I'd heard about this series from friends, but this is the first one I've actually read. Chopping Spree is book eleven of the series, which now has fourteen books.

1. Catering to Nobody
2. Dying for Chocolate
3. The Cereal Murders
4. The Last Suppers
5. Killer Pancake
6. The Main Corpse
7. The Grilling Season
8. Prime Cut
9. Tough Cookie
10. Sticks and Scones
11. Chopping Spree
12. Double Shot
13. Dark Tort
14. Sweet Revenge

The series features Gertrude "Goldy" Schulz, a Colorado caterer who solves murder mysteries between courses. What's different about these books is that each book includes a set of recipes for dishes being served up by Goldilock's Catering.

Everybody who knows me knows that I'm no cook, but I do enjoy good food and a murder mystery. Unfortunately, something seemed missing from this book, and I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would have.

Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):

Goldy is hired to cater a party at a shopping mall for a group of "Elite Shoppers".
Goldy consumes a lot of espresso and chocolate
Someone tries to run a truck over Goldy and friends just before the event starts.
Someone succeeds in killing somebody else, with a knife, in the shopping mall.
The clues point towards Goldilock's Catering.
Goldy downs more caffeine.
Goldy hunts down the killer, keeps her hubby happy, tolerates her bratty son, chops and dices, snoops and spies, deals with personal problems of her assistants, and yes, drinks enough coffee to cause a worldwide bean shortage.

Recipes in this book:
1. Spice of Life Cookies
2. Shoppers' Chocolate Truffles
3. Sweethearts' Swedish Meatballs in Burgundy Sauce
4. Diamond Lovers' Hot Crab Dip
5. Quiche Me Quick
6. Today-Only Avocado-Shrimp Boats
7. Super spenders' Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler
8. Ad Guys' Roast Beef and Gravy
9. Wild Girls' Grilled Mushroom Salad
10. Chopping Spree salad

This one is marred by a slightly ridiculous plot and some puzzling situations, but would be fine for those times when your brain cells won't tolerate literary abuse. Also recommended for those who aren't challenged when it comes to culinary matters.

Amanda Richards
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on July 29, 2003
I have stated in my reviews of some of Diane Mott Davidson's other books in this series that I have come to regard Goldy and her family, along with Marla & Julian, almost as real people as she has done such a good job of describing them and making their lives so realistic.
I don't know what in the world has happened during the writing of this book. As I was reading this book on vacation with family, I told them a few times that if it were not for the dedication in the front of the book, I would almost believe someone else had written it. In this book, Goldy is completely irresponsible as a parent, Arch is a caricature of an angst-ridden teenager, Marla is in a few scenes and behaves like a rich snob towards everyone, including her supposedly best friend Goldy, Tom was nearly non-existenet except to make an occasional meal and pamper to Goldy's whining....and the list goes on.
All of these anomalies were so distracting to me, that I really didn't care much who did what to whom with regards to the murder and other crimes. I hope the next in the series will be back to Ms. Davidson's writing standards.
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on June 24, 2003
Goldy Schulz, owner and operator of her Goldilocks Catering, is hired by her old coffee drinking friend Barry Dean to cater a party at the high-scale shopping mall he's the manager of. Barry is murdered at the mall after the party and the whodunit begins. Goldy is on the case at once and not only because it was her friend that was murdered, but also because her family friend is the prime suspect!! Goldy puts the clues together in between cups of espresso and solves the mystery.
Chopping Spree was the first Diane Mott Davidson book I have read. I wasn't sure if I would like the book but must admit it was a very easy to read book. The plot was good and moved along at a fast pace. The characters were all interesting, even though they may not all be likable. I believe this book would have been more enjoyable had I read the previous books by this author. Even though this is a free standing book it seems as if the characters had a history that was revealed in earlier books. The reader might better understand the relationship between Goldy and Arch and Tom had they read the earlier books in order. But once you get going in this book it doesn't really matter because everyone and everything gets sorted out and becomes understood. This book is a light mystery also which was very pleasing. There isn't a lot of yucky blood and gore scenes. This was a definite plus in reading this book.
I wasn't really fond of the recipes right in the middle of the chapters. I found I was reading along at a good pace and then would have to spend extra seconds turning through recipes. I agree with earlier reviewers that the recipes should have been at the end of the chapters or the back of the book.
All in all this was a very satisfying book to read. There is enough coffee drank and food ate to make you gain five pounds while reading, but it's all worth it. I am now trying to decide which Goldy book I want to read next!
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on April 17, 2003
Reading a Goldy series book by Diane Mott Davidson is like coming home to a cozy fire with your favorite afghan and of course, a great cup of coffee (with a little of the finest chocolate on the side), and reading a long letter from a dear friend. I had read several uncomplimentary reviews of Chopping Spree, but being a fan of the series, I had to decide for myself. The rating of 3 stars is in relation to all books of any genre. Davidson has never claimed to be a world class author of fine literature. What she does claim is an ability to create a lovable cast of characters that you feel you know, and to create twists and turns that keep you guessing. Goldy's "annoying" tendencies to ignore common sense at times is part of what endears her to the reader. She is like a friend that exasperates you, but you "gotta love her." As to anyone who criticizes Davidson for Gold's son, Arch's behavior, has certainly never had a teenager! All in all, an as-usual FUN read. 'Can't wait for the next one!
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on October 21, 2002
Chopping Spree is another fun, food and murder mystery made to order by Diane Mott Davidson. This novel delves into the world of compulsive shopping, upscale mall managing and catering to those who shop there. Goldy is catering at an upscale jewelry leasing event when things go out of control. From hit and miss drivers, to competitive compulsive shopping, to murder, it all seems to unravel itself in Goldy's presence. As she tries to fit the pieces together, she soothes herself with luscious treats and delightful beverages that seem to aid her navigation through the criminal activities, as she attempts to pinpoint the motive for murder and thereby reveal the murderer. The novel is woven with some tantalizing recipes from Chocolate Truffles, to Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler, a Grilled Mushroom Salad and Swedish Meatballs in Burgundy Sauce to name a few.
Her usual delightful array of friends, Marla and Julian and her wonderfully understanding and forgiving husband are all present in this novel. She also continues to cope with a teenage son who is testing his limits and his mother's limits as well.
Chopping Spree is a fun culinary mystery the Murder She Wrote television series but with a super culinary twist and lovable main characters as well as those you love to hate!
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on July 2, 2002
My devotion to this series can best be illustrated by the fact that I braved driving to the mall after eye surgery to get this latest installment. I wasn't disappointed, and a night and a half of eye strain later, I had digested a full buffet of emotional characters, clever clues, intriguing recipes, and interesting plot twists. Davidson writes well, and her main characters typically are likable and sensible. It's always nice to finish a book without once screaming at the main character, "Don't you get it, you moron?"
Unfortunately, the good elements of Chopping Spree were overshadowed by the negative behavior of Goldy's son. In the early books, he was described as an introverted prodigy. It was easy to feel motherly toward him as he struggled to fit in with other kids, despite his less-than-perfect family situation. However, in the last several books, his shyness has evolved into an abusive intensity that goes beyond teenage angst. He repeatedly verbally berates Goldy, and his self-absorption exceeds anything that should be acceptable in a real family. The most disturbing part of the story is that Goldy exercises no discipline and does not explain to him that his childish outbursts and tantrums would not be acceptable for a 4-year-old, much less a 14-year-old. Is Davidson trying to illustrate that Goldy still has doormat tendencies left over from her abusive marriage? Is she a proponent of no-discipline parenting techniques? (If this is the case, I hope she knows her way to the visitors' area in the local jail). Regardless of the author's motives, the abusive child-parent relationship threatens to overshadow all of the typical good qualities that make Davidson's series such a joy to read.
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on November 6, 2002
I have read all of this author's mysteries and find them enjoyable and entertaining, but with one big flaw: Arch. Or perhaps I should say Goldie's responses to Arch. This relationship mars the enjoyment of the books. On the other hand, what can one expect from a teen-ager whose father is a pathological liar who is in jail for assault, and whose mother has absolutely no respect for the laws against breaking and entering, forgery, concealing evidence (and that's just in this book - in previous books her lawbreaking would certainly have landed her in prison. Not even Tom would be able to protect her.) And why doesn't she trust Tom with the evidence she uncovers?
I guess the best way to read these books is to consider the characters caricatures of real people.
I have never tried any of the recipes in these books, but one or two in Chopping Spree actually look eatable. At least they are not all diet foods. I get very tired of the menus that are fish, pasta, and more fish.
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on September 8, 2003
This latest in the generally excellent culinary mystery series by Diane Mott Davidson, is a little less inspired than some of her other works. Even the recipes are more mundane----a quiche recipe you could find in a lot of cookbooks, a roast beef with burgundy recipe that has also been around a long time.
Goldy Schulz' teenage son Arch is in a difficult period now, and readers will miss his tractable sweetness of earlier books. Julian is in---catch this---JAIL as a murder suspect. Goldy's best friend Marla appears infrequently, as does her stalwart cop husband, Tom. For much of the book Goldy is on her own, trying to withdraw (without much success) from her twin pleasures of caffeine and chocolate, even as she suffers from various injuries incurred in the course of her investigation of the murder.
If you're new to the series, read some of the earlier books first to get to know Goldy, Tom, Arch and company. This one's a lesser light among many bright books.
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on July 8, 2002
Goldie the Colorado caterer is back - this time investigating strange shenanigans in the land of Shopoholics: the upscale local mall. Diane Mott Davidson's recipes and regular cast are back too - which is both good news and bad news for her devoted fans. Tom, Julian and Marla are great fun. Son Arch needs to go off to college - or the military would be even better! (See the reviewers' consensus here and from the previous installment of this series, "Sticks and Scones.") His whiney attitude and sense of absolute entitlement due to over-indulgent parenting are getting in the way of the stories - enough to make some of us reluctant to revisit this series. Davidson is so busy trying to deal with this brat that there are loose ends at the end!
Dr. Spock - No not Leonard Nimoy's character on Star Trek- the OTHER Spock -Dr. Benjamin Spock -the one who told Boomer's parents how to raise us, would not be amused. ;-)
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on August 1, 2003
Davidson's books are easy reads and good for vacationing, but no mind challengers. I've found that, after reading several over the years, I'm impatient with the main character who often comes across as a bungling, stupid "female". Not a good strong female role model. Luckily, the plot lines are at least interesting and the recipes make for a nice side bar.
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