I’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?!