Fatally Flaky by Diane Mott Davidson

May 7, 2009 · 20 comments · Print This Post

in Book Reviews, Reviews

Fatally FlakyI’ve mentioned my little love affair with Diane Mott Davidson’s culinary mysteries in the past. In fact, a post of a recipe from one of her extremely enjoyable novels even won 2nd place in an online competition at The Kitchn so she and I (or at least her books and I) are very old friends. Each year I look forward to the release of her latest update to the Goldy Schulz sleuthing saga and she never disappoints. These books are on a whole sincerely entertaining and filled with unforgettable quirky characters that you look forward to reconnecting with time and again. For me it’s not so much about the traditional “whodunit” aspects of the stories, but more the way food, cooking, and entertaining weave their way into almost every scene in the novels.

Davidson’s latest installment, Fatally Flaky, opens with our caterer extraordinaire dealing with a nightmare bridezilla of epic proportions. The non-stop menu edits, date rescheduling, and finally even a location change have Goldy pulling her blonde curls out. Not even her daily yoga practice or her beloved espresso machine can quite take the edge off the insanity that Billie Attenborough leaves in her wedding obsessed wake. But then beloved local physician Doc Finn is killed in a suspicious car accident. Crab cakes and champagne take a back seat when Goldy’s godfather Jack, Doc Finn’s best friend, alerts Goldy and her handsome detective husband Tom to the good doctor’s suspicions that something untoward has been going on at the Gold Gulch Spa. Was Doc Finn murdered because of his curiosity?

As fate would have it Billie’s new wedding locale is the clandestine spa and Goldy dons her catering whites and gets right down to business. Unfortunately, in between appetizer prep, plating, and the bride and groom’s honeymoon escape Jack is attacked. What exactly is going on at the Gold Gulch Spa? Why do the plump patrons swear by the fruit smoothies, and who is behind these vicious acts of violence?

Determined to uncover the truth Goldy decides to go undercover as a cook at the spa and begrudgingly whips up low-calorie tasteless food for the clients at the insistence of the spa’s prickly owner. Meanwhile she also enlists her assistant Julian, and her off-the-wall best friend Marla to help her unravel the mounting mysteries. Will Goldy put all of the pieces together in time? Or will she find herself done in by fat-free mayo … or perhaps something slightly more sinister?

Even though Fatally Flaky is number 15 in the Goldie Schulz series I don’t really feel that you need to have read each novel in order to understand or follow the plot. They all stand up quite well on their own. In addition, once the mystery has been solved you have the opportunity to try out some of the scrumptious recipes from the story. This installment includes such tantalizing dishes as “Nutcase Cranberry-Apricot Bread,” “Figgy Piggy,” and “Totally Unorthodox Coeur a la Creme” just to name a few. Since beach season is right around the corner this would be the perfect novel to toss in your tote bag for a little light summer reading. What could possibly be better than listening to the sound of waves crashing on the shore while immersing yourself in a food filled mystery?!

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cheri May 7, 2009 at 10:14 am

I happened upon your site and was excited to see a new book by Diane Mott Davidson. I love her books and have tried a few of her recipes. I will be downloading it today!


2 Kelly May 7, 2009 at 12:23 pm

That sounds like a nice light read for the summer. I haven’t read any of her books so I’ll have to look for them at my local library.


3 joan May 7, 2009 at 2:22 pm

This reminds me of Joanne Fluke’s books. I will definitely look for this author. Sounds like a fun read.


4 LizAndrsn May 7, 2009 at 3:30 pm

In My Opinion:
I just finished that book, and for a week have been thinking that while it’s an enjoyable read, it was a little less than what I expect from DM Davidson’s books. Perhaps her recipe for writing could use a retooling? You can always count on her extended family, a nightmare catering event, and in the end whodunit is someone not in the first third of the book. The recipes given are attractive, but I’m left wondering why “culinary” mean having 15 or more ingredients in a single dish? (Perhaps I’m exagerating — but I had to wait an entire year for another new book, too. I’m cranky that way.)

There are so many books in the Goldy Schulz series. Her first couple books were a little sharp around the edges but the author really hit her stride after that. Too bad this one feels phone in by comparison, IMHO.


5 Erin May 7, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Liz – Well you win some you lose some. She’s certainly not Charles Dickens by any stretch of the imagination hence why I mention packing her up for a beach read, but I’ve been reading her since I was a young teenager and I still really enjoy her novels for a bit of escapist fun.


6 wummy May 8, 2009 at 9:01 am

Love reading her books every year!! What are you going to make from this book??


7 pjamma May 8, 2009 at 9:24 am

I too, am a Golde fan. Have missed a few so, will have to get that new library card and get caught up. Always copy recipes from the books but have yet to make any! Life tends to interfere. Will now have to remedy that. Thanks for letting us know that a new case is out.


8 christine olson July 24, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Golde Fan from the beginning. I have never been disappointed in a recipe I have tried. Her monster cinnamon roles are to die for. I am a cook, an Episcopalian, a mystery nut and my dear friend is a caterer, I can’t help but to love this series. I only have one complaint. I am a quilter (these show up in her books too) and I listen to her books on cd while working. Why don’t the the cd publishers put a data file on the cd so I can print out the recipes. As it is I do save the recipe tracks on my computer. I have found a site that has most of them though. click here


9 Susan June 14, 2012 at 9:41 am

I ‘clicked here’ but there wasn’t anything. Can you tell me where you found the recipes? I would like to put them into my computer, some of them, from Fatally Flaky, & I don’t have that book to copy from! Darn! I can get it from the library, but if there were a computer site with Davidson’s recipes, that would be GREAT! Thanks for your help! 🙂


10 Coniqua December 13, 2009 at 8:13 am

I just recently stumbled on this series with Fatally Flaky.I too listened in audiobook format and hoped there was an easier way to access the recipes. I’d like to try the crab cakes.


11 Jenny May 24, 2010 at 10:40 pm

This was my first Goldy book. I enjoyed it but I loved hearing about the food! I also, like many others here, listed on audiobook and was disappointed at not having a printed version of the recipes. So, I immediately went to my local library and got a hard copy of the book so I could copy the recipes. I can’t wait to try the black and white cake 🙂


12 Emily December 21, 2010 at 12:56 am

Hi Erin,

The only title I do not have at the moment is: The Last Suppers!

Am reading “Catering To NoBody” at the moment (Yes! I know is the 1st book – but I do believe I read it long ago but cannot remember the storyline). Just read “Sticks & Scones” before this.

Tried a couple of the recipes and love love them! Hope to see more of Diane Mott Davidson’s recipes from you soon!


13 Pat February 28, 2011 at 9:44 am

This is the first book I’ve read by this author.I got it on cd at the library. I enjoyed it immensly .Can’t wait to try some of the recipes ,but I will have to go back and get the bound book to use them. I agree we need a downloadable version of the recipes.I want to try the chocolate sandwich cookies,and figgy piggy.I can’t wait to read(listen) to another of her books in this series.


14 Pat April 12, 2011 at 2:50 pm

I have since read about 10 books by this author. Any chance there is a cookbook with all the recipes in them. I find her a quick, enjoyable if predictable read.Pat


15 evelyn Stewart May 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I bried the “Nutcase Cranberry-Apricot bread” receipe. It was terrible!! It ended up in the garbage. ALL 3 loaves!!!! I went over the receipe 3 times. I did not make a mistake. There has to be a mistake in the book. The loaves were HEAVY, tasted like flour. I would love to try it again if there was a mistake. Thanks


16 Connie June 6, 2011 at 8:05 am

This was my first Diane Mott Davidson book. I enjoyed it and looking forward to reading others. I however was disappointed in the flatally flaky cookies. I owned a bakery for several years and have been catering now for about 15, so I am by no means a novice cook . I am not sure if there is a typo or what but they were not flaky, they weren’t tasty and they didn’t hold together at all. There would be no way to use them to make a sandwich cookie they just crumbled. After ready the review from evelyn stewart about the nutcase cranberry apriot bread I wonder if the recipes are really suppose to be used or if anyone tries them before printing.


17 Marilyn Sultar July 2, 2011 at 4:48 am

I am a Diane Mott-Davidson fan and have read many of her books. This one seemed to drag a bit. It definitely isn’t up to her usual. The recipes sounded great. I’m sorry to hear they aren’t as I was especially looking forward to making the cranberry nut bread and the chocolate cookies. I have not tried to make any of her other recipes either, but have high hopes of making them.

To answer a previous comment, Ms. Mott-Davidson states in her acknowledgments at the end of the book that she has a taste tester, and consults with some professionals, but I don’t think she states that the recipes are made and tested by others. You would think the editors would triple check the recipes with her!


18 Jennifer September 9, 2011 at 12:54 am

Hi Erin,
I’m also a fan of the Goldie recipes–yummy!! I’m currently trying to track down her recipe for a GREAT cold orzo pasta salad recipe from one of her earlier books. Its complicated by the fact that I’m currently living abroad and don’t have access to her books. I know I haven’t given you much to go on, but if you (or anyone else) can help me track it down I’d so appreciate it! And trust me, it’s super tasty! Thank you!! Jennifer


19 Erin September 9, 2011 at 9:25 am

Hi Jennifer,

I actually found the recipe on google books.

In case the link doesn’t work I’ll also email screenshots to you.



20 Susan June 14, 2012 at 9:46 am

I also agree that there should be a ‘cookbook’ of the recipes from all the Diane Mott Davidson books! I’ve tried a few & they are terrific! I haven’t tried any from the ‘Fatally Flaky’ book yet, but wanted to try that appear above from readers who thought they were awful. That surprises me, but also makes me a little leary… Anyway, either put out a ‘cookbook’ or a web site, with the recipes, please. Thank you! Cheers! 🙂


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