A Journalist's Archive

Sweet Revenge
Diane Mott Davidson
Reviewed by Kathy Hare

WARNING: Readers have been known to ingest large quantities of chocolate while reading “Sweet Revenge” by Diane Mott Davidson.

Davidson found the recipe for success by combining her cooking and writing skills to create a delicious mystery series featuring caterer/sleuth Goldy Schulz. 

Goldy has a habit of stumbling onto murder victims while providing mouth-watering meals for clients in the fictitious town of Aspen Meadows, Colorado.

“Sweet Revenge” begins as Goldy heads up a mountain pass to the MacAuthur’s house to discuss the menu for two upcoming Christmas parties. Slowing down for a particularly nasty curve, Goldy thinks she recognizes the driver in the approaching vehicle. “Impossible,” Goldy decides – after all Sandee Brisbane, the woman who confessed to killing Goldy’s ex-husband, died six months ago. Goldy calls husband Tom, detective for the Furman County Sheriff’s Department and asks, “Is it possible Brisbane could be alive?” Tom chalks up the sighting to exhaustion; after all, having 25 bookings between Thanksgiving and Christmas is enough to make any caterer see ghosts. But readers know Brisbane will reappear.

The first body turns up between the book stacks as Goldy is making preparations for a Christmas Breakfast at the Aspen Meadows Library. Did former district attorney Drew Wellington die of a heart attack, or is it foul play? Who was that shadowy figure lurking in the library just before Wellington’s body was found? Could it have been Wellington’s ex-wife Elizabeth? Why was Neil Tharp, Wellington’s business associate, asking if a map was found on Wellington’s body?

Investigators quickly determine Wellington was murdered and arrest Pat Ingersoll, Wellington’s fiancée, after finding a bloody X-Acto knife between the pages of a scrap book, but Goldy believes Ingersoll was framed.

Goldy gathers clues to solve the mystery from Marla, the town gossip, and through tidbits of conversation she overhears at community functions. Packed in between the clues are endless descriptions of wonderful recipes. 

My first urge for something sweet occurred while detectives were stuffing their faces with Goldy’s “Bleak House Bars,” a yummy concoction of pecans, cream cheese, chocolate chips, and raspberry jam. A cup of hot chocolate satisfied my sweet tooth that time, but before reaching the read of the mystery, I found myself in the kitchen cooking homemade chocolate pudding with cherries as I followed Goldy from one Christmas feast to another. This book is dangerous for anyone on a diet, but for those readers who want to reproduce some of Goldy’s treats, Davidson provides 10 recipes at the end of the book.

Davidson’s “Goldy” series offers readers a great escape without the blood and guts found in other novels.

Readers who know Colorado will quickly notice many similarities between Aspen Meadows and Davidson’s hometown of Evergreen. Perhaps that is one feature which makes this book so enjoyable, Coloradans can fully appreciate the story as Goldy navigates the snowy roads between the outlandishly expensive mountain homes and the town center. Davidson created believable characters, placed them in everyday occupations, threw in a mystery, and topped the whole creation with chocolate.

Challenge your dieting skills. Read “Sweet Revenge.” See if you can finish the novel without eating any chocolate.

First published in The New Falcon Herald
Article Copyright © 2008 Bluestack Consulting, Inc.
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