Dying For Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson

(Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery, #2)

Goldy Bear is the bright, opinionated, wildly inventive caterer whose personal life is a recipe for disaster, with bills taking a bite out of her budget and her abusive ex-husband making tasteless threats. Determined to take control, Goldy moves her business to the ritzy Aspen Meadow Country Club. Soon she’s preparing decadent dinners and posh society picnics—and enjoying the favors of Philip Miller, a handsome local shrink, and Tom Schulz, her more-than-friendly neighborhood cop. Until, that is, the dishy doctor drives his BMW into an oncoming bus. Convinced that Philip’s bizarre death was no accident, Goldy begins to sift through the dead doc’s unpalatable secrets. But this case is seasoned with unexpected danger and even more unexpected revelations—the kind that could get a caterer killed.

As mystery stories go, the villain wasn't predictable but possibly could have been guessed, while the reason and back story never could have. My issue really was that Goldy never seemed to do that much investigating. It was more prompting every once in awhile from Tom to ask questions, and she had to be there anyway, sometimes she would overhear stuff, other times she would be in the right place at the right time, and even still the wrong place at the wrong time. She didn't act like a detective besides perhaps one to two incidents, but then didn't carry them much farther other than to inform authorities higher up. Still, the mystery lasted but a week or so and there was plenty of action to keep one reading. 

 The cooking details, since she is a busy caterer, is of course a primary focus of the book. I was delighted to find so many generous recipes throughout, and am sure to try some, especially the Anniversary Hamburgers. I wish she had put the recipe for the Chocolate cake she made up, but since it included fillings of actual chocolate mouse and an outer painting of tempered chocolate, it sounds pretty complicated anyway. More's the pity.

Tom Schultz just doesn't seem like a desirable leading man to me. He seems sweet but from this book alone I didn't glimpse that much personality, attraction, or mystique. The unfortunate Phillip seemed a bit more interesting for the short scenes he had, just because of the looks, his work, and his dialogue dished out more human quirks than ol' Toms. Arch seemed like a typical child with a mouth when things get stressed but not a bad seed; the general was especially funny in his unusual and quirky ways. The abusive ex seemed to be portrayed realistically enough. He didn't get tons of time but enough to make the points needed.

Even if this ones mystery fell a bit flat in its execution, and the method of death was a tad unrealistic and far-fetched, I still greatly enjoyed the story. Goldy isn't a humorous fun type of character, but she's an interesting, stressed one. There's not much of a romantic involvement to speak of, despite claims that it's supposed to be so (just no spark anyway to make that count). The bizarre situations among the various catered parties helped create the book, especially when it surrounded the main whodunnit sort of characters that helped keep this story alive.

   Similar Reviews:

http://thepaperbackstash.blogspot.com/2014/01/inspector-and-mrs-jeffries.html http://thepaperbackstash.blogspot.com/2007/11/aunt-dimitys-death-by-nancy-atherton.html http://thepaperbackstash.blogspot.com/2007/11/murder-of-small-town-honey-scumble.html http://thepaperbackstash.blogspot.com/2007/12/murder-of-sweet-old-lady-by-denise.html http://thepaperbackstash.blogspot.com/2008/01/murder-fo-sleeping-beauty-by-denise.html