A caterer's nightmare...
Caterer Goldy Schulz is convinced things couldn't get worse. An unscrupulous rival is driving her out of business. An incompetent contractor has left her precious kitchen in shambles. And she has just agreed to cater a fashion shoot at a nineteenth-century mountain cabin with her mentor and old friend, French chef Andr? Hibbard.
A dash of cold-blooded murder...
Together Goldy and Andr? struggle in a hopelessly outdated kitchen to cater to a vacuous crowd of beautiful people whose personal dramas climax when a camera is pitched through a window...into the buffet. Then Goldy's contractor is found hanging in the house of one of her best friends. A second murder follows and Goldy must somehow solve a mystery and prepare for a society soir?e that could make--or break--her career.
A recipe for disaster...
It's a mystery that involves the dead contractor's unwholesome past, a food saboteur, the theft of four historical cookbooks, and an overzealous D.A. who has suspended Goldy's detective husband, Tom, from the force. What Goldy discovers is the perfect recipe for murder. And she may be dessert!
In the markedly lighthearted eighth outing (after The Grilling Season, 1997), Aspen Meadows, Colo., caterer Goldy Schulz is ousted from her kitchen. Bilked, like many other residents, by local contractor Gerald Eliot, her workplace in a shambles, she agrees to help her old teacher, Chef Andre, as he caters a Christmas catalogue fashion shoot. On the way home from the acrimonious set, she stops by to visit her friend Cameron Burr, whose house has also been ravaged by Eliot. Searching for a coffee pot, she discovers Eliot's dead body. At the scene, the police find one of four cookbooks that had been stolen from the museum where Eliot was a part-time guard. Goldy's husband, Tom (a cop), has a confrontation with his rude and politically ambitious boss and is suspended from the force while charges of insubordination are investigated. Compounding Goldy's problems is an aggressive new local caterer who seems bent on stealing Goldy's clients. When Andre is killed, Goldy slips into her super-detective mode to find out who murdered two such disparate victims and why the antique cookbooks were stolen. Despite the accumulation of bad news, Goldy retains her optimism. Davidson laces her frothy tale with 11 calories-be-damned recipes likely to keep readers satisfied on the gustatory front as well as the narrative one. Simultaneous BDD audio; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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February 28, 2000
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Excerpt from Prime Cut by Diane Mott Davidson
Like a fudge souffle, life can collapse. You think you have it all together--fine melted chocolate, clouds of egg white, hints of sugar and vanilla--and then bam. There's a reason things fall apart, my husband would say. But of course Tom would say that. He's a cop. On the home front, things were not good. My kitchen was trashed, my catering business faced nasty competition, and my fourteen-year-old son Arch desperately missed our former boarder, twenty-year-old Julian Teller. For his part, Tom was embroiled in a feud with a new assistant district attorney who would plea-bargain Hermann Göring down to disturbing the peace. These days, I felt increasingly frantic--for work, for cooking space, for perspective. Given such a litany of problems, life had brightened somewhat when my old cooking teacher, Chef André Hibbard, had offered me a one-day gig helping to cater a fashion shoot. My clients--the ones I still had--would have scoffed. Catering to models? You must be desperate. Maybe I was. Desperate, that is. And maybe my clients would have been right to ridicule me, I reflected, as I pulled my van into the dirt lot at the edge of Sandbottom Creek. Across the water stood the Merciful Migrations cabin, where the first week of the photo shoot would take place. My clients would have cried: Where are you going to hide your butter and cheese? I didn't know. The cloudless, stone-washed-denim sky overhead and remote-but-picturesque cabin seemed to echo: You're darn right, you don't know. I ignored a shudder of self-doubt, jumped out of my van, and breathed in air crisp with the high country's mid-August hint of fall. It was only ten a.m. Usually I didn't arrive two hours before a lunch, especially when the food already had been prepared. But show me a remote historic home and I'll show you a dysfunctional cooking area. Plus, I was worried about my old friend André. This was his first off-site catered meal since he'd retired four years ago, and he was a basket case. I opened the van's side door and heaved up the box containing the Savory Florentine Cheesecakes I'd made for the buffet. I expertly slammed the door with my foot, crossed the rushing water, and carefully climbed the stone steps to the cabin. On the deck, I took another deep breath, rebalanced my load, then pushed through the massive wooden door. Workers bustled about a brightly lit, log-lined, high-beamed great room. I rested my box on a bench and stood for a few minutes, ignored by the swirl of activity. Frowning, I found it challenging to comprehend my surroundings. Two workers called to each other about where to move the scrim, which I finally deduced was a mounted swath of fabric designed to diffuse the photographer's light. The two men moved on to clamping movable eight-foot-square wood screens--flats, I soon learned--into place. The flats formed a three-sided frame for "the set." Meanwhile, other folks rushed to and fro laden with hair dryers, notebooks, makeup trays, tripods, and camera equipment. Hoisting my box, I tried to figure out where André might be. As I moved along, the models were easy to spot. Mu