I’m reading a lot of mystery novels lately. Namely, ones my mom brought me by a Diane Mott Davidson. They feature a caterer named Goldy Schulz who seems to have a knack for solving crimes by snooping and ruminating on the clues while cooking delectable dishes. Along the way, she asks and gets answers from all kinds of normal-seeming and unsavory types. She also seems to get physically injured pretty badly each time – concussions, falls, hit-and-runs and nasty gashes. All this, plus loads of espresso and chocolate delights, too! She believes that imbibing caffeinated beverages (always loaded with heavy cream) and ingesting chocolate in some form give her increased mental abilities. I’m inclined to agree. Bring on the truffles!
I also like that she’s got a teenage son who gives her heck all the time. His character, Arch, seems very real and close to home, since I have an almost-teen myself. He’s no angel. He struggles to find his place in the world with a hardworking, clueless mom, new policeman stepdad (who also cooks, huzzah!), and a felonious father. I only say Goldy is clueless from his perspective. Let’s just say if Zac talked to me the way Arch does to his mom…Well…you get the picture.
She has a successful catering business called Goldilocks Catering, Where Everything is Just Right!, serving the wealthy clientele of Aspen Meadows and beyond, a fictional town set in the Colorado high country. Sure, they treat her badly, due to class differences and their own, it seems, rampant self-centeredness; Goldy is used to that. The part that bugs me is how often and how badly Goldy gets injured. It’s a bit unnerving, because only her best friend, husband and son seem to care. I’m thinking, Anybody see a pattern here?! She soldiers on, never taking anything stronger than ibuprofen for bruised ribs or back spasms. Really?! Doctor visits? Anyone? Doesn’t Goldy ever get tired of being used as a punching bag? Ever read Boundaries?
Because of Goldy’s love affair with coffee and chocolate, unruly curly hair and a few extra pounds that make her, in her own words “pudgy”, she is a likeable character. She gets in over her head trying to help people, even her abusive ex-husband who was framed for murder. She tries to “do it all”, like so many of us women. We love her for it.
And what of Tom, her policeman husband? He’s steady, reliable, kind, and protective. He warns her repeatedly to leave the investigating to him. But does she? Oh no. He realizes he’s like a broken record (if any of you young ‘uns get that analogy) but loves her anyway. He can be tough and assertive when he needs to be but has a few foibles of his own. Like going to the hardware store for an entire day and spending only a dollar. It’s a gift, my friends.
All of these characters are key ingredients in a good story. I like to cook, too, though I’m no sleuth. I’m going to make one of the featured recipes in her book Chopping Spree today. It’s my last book. Good thing Mom arrives today. She’s my book-pusher. She will provide another fix. And if the new books are anything like this one, I’ll be drooling in no time.