Her inventive recipe for mixing first-class suspense and five-star fare has made Diane Mott Davidson a favorite of mystery lovers and a mainstay on major bestseller lists across the country. Now she has prepared another irresistibly tempting tale spiced with mystery and mayhem...
For Colorado caterer Goldy Schulz, business isn't just booming--it's skyrocketing. Her friend Marla is constantly warning her, "Success can kill you." But Goldy doesn't take the warning literally until her next booking: a cocktail party for the Westside Mall's Elite Shoppers Club.
While setting up, Goldy is nearly run down by a truck with no intention of stopping. Then she finds an old friend in a pile of sale shoes--stabbed with one of Goldy's new knives. Goldy must catch the real killer between whipping up Sweethearts' Swedish Meatballs, Quiche Me Quick, and Diamond Lovers' Hot Crab Dip. Why was the victim carrying a powerful narcotic? Who hired a private investigator shortly before the murder? Goldy's gourmet instincts tell her the final course in this case will be a real killer.
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March 03, 2003
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Excerpt from Chopping Spree by Diane Mott Davidson
Chapter 1 Success can kill you. So my best friend had been telling me, anyway. Too much success is like arsenic in chocolate cake. Eat a slice a day, Marla announced with a sweep of her plump, bejeweled fingers, and you'll get cancer. Gobble the whole cake? You'll keel over and die on the spot. These observations, made over the course of a snowy March, had not cheered me. Besides, I'd have thought that Marla, with her inherited wealth and passion for shopping, would applaud the upward leap of my catering business. But she said she was worried about me. Frankly, I was worried about me, too. In mid-March I'd invited Marla over to taste cookies. Despite a sudden but typical Colorado blizzard, she'd roared over to our small house off Aspen Meadow's Main Street in her shiny new BMW four-wheel drive. Sitting in our commercial kitchen, she'd munched on ginger snaps and spice cookies, and harped on the fact that the newly frantic pace of my work had coincided with my fourteen-year-old son Arch's increasingly rotten behavior. I knew Marla doted on Arch. But in this, too, she was right. Arch's foray into athletics, begun that winter with snowboarding and a stint on his school's fencing team, had ended with a trophy, a sprained ankle, and an unprecedented burst of physical self-confidence. He'd been eager to plunge into spring sports. When he'd decided on lacrosse, I'd been happy for him. That changed when I attended the first game. Watching my son forcefully shove an opponent aside and steal the ball, I'd felt queasy. With Arch's father--a rich doctor who'd had many violent episodes himself--now serving time for parole violation, all that slashing and hitting was more than I could take. But even more worrisome than the sport itself, Marla and I agreed, were Arch's new teammates: an unrepentant gang of spoiled, acquisitive brats. Unfortunately, Arch thought the lacrosse guys were beyond cool. He spent hours with them, claiming that he "forgot" to tell us where he was going after practice. We could have sent him an e-mail telling him to call, Arch protested, if he only had what all his pals had, to wit, Internet-access watches. Your own watch could have told you what time it was, I'd told him, when I picked him up from the country-club estate where the senior who was supposed to drive him home had left him off. Arch ignored me. These new friends, he'd announced glumly, also had Global Positioning System calculators, Model Bezillion Palm pilots, and electric-acoustic guitars that cost eight hundred dollars--and up. These litanies were always accompanied with not-so-tactful reminders that his fifteenth birthday was right around the corner. He wanted everything on his list, he announced as he tucked a scroll of paper into my purse. After all, with all the parties I'd booked, I could finally afford to get him some really good stuff. And no telling what'll happen if I don't get what I want, he'd added darkly. (Marla informed me that he'd already given her a list.) I'd shrugged as Arch clopped into the house ahead of me. I'd started stuffing sauteed chicken breasts with wild rice and spinach. The next day, Tom had picked up Arch at another friend's house. When my son waltzed into the kitchen, I almost didn't recognize him. His head was shaved. "They Bic'd me," he declared, tossing a lime into the air and catching it in the net of his lacrosse stick. "They bicked you?" I exclaimed incredulously. "Bic, Mom. Like the razor." He rubbed his bare scalp, then flipped the lime again. "And I would have been home on time, if you'd bought me the Palm, to remind me to tell the guy shaving my head that I had to go." I snagged the lime in midair. "Go start on your homework, buster. You got a C on the last anatomy test. And from now on, either Tom or I will pick you up right from practice."