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BOOK REVIEW: SWEET REVENGE
BY DIANE MOTT DAVIDSON

We hope you enjoy this book review by Douglas R. Cobb.



Looking for the newest taste sensation? Do you like your mysteries with espresso, topped with whipped cream, or with a slice of pie ala mode? Revenge is sweet indeed, as you'll discover when you devour Diane Mott Davidson's latest sumptuous feast for the most discriminating of mystery lovers, Sweet Revenge. Her catering/mystery-solving heroine, Goldy Schultz, is back in fine form, and trying to prepare for various Christmas parties and functions while becoming embroiled in solving the suspicious murder at the local library of ex-District Attorney, current map-dealer, Drew Wellington. 'Tis the Season, it would seem, for both catering and murder. But, who would want to kill such a nice man, in such a public location, and during the Christmas season?

It turns out, Goldy learns, that Drew Wellington was not such a nice man at all, and in fact likely was high at the tops of many people's "Naughty" lists who knew him with any degree of familiarity. He cheated his ex-wife out of half of her inheritance, and probably only married her in the first place to get as much of her money as he could get his hands on. Never one to let being married get in his way, his tastes in sex involved underage teenage girls and the date-rape drug, Rohypnol. His preferred method of obtaining the rare maps he sold was to cut them out of library atlases with an Ex-Acto knife. His business partners, rivals, and clients equally were tricked and swindled by him, sometimes offered maps he couldn't or didn't deliver on, or he'd undercut prices potential rivals might suggest, ruining their chances at sales. Why not? After all, he'd get the maps for free, so the overhead was relatively low.

How does a caterer, even one as talented as Goldy Schultz, discover so many things about a person's life? Having a husband, Tom, who is a Colorado policeman helps (the novel is set in Colorado), and a clientele and friends who are both wealthy and who love spreading rumors and gossip sure doesn't hurt, either. Julian, her assistant, also aids her, as well as being almost a part of her family. He even assists in taking her son and his friends to go snow boarding, and defends Goldy against an irate bald-headed map-dealer, Larry Craddock.

Drew's ex-business partner, Neil Tharp, is another possible suspect Goldy considers. Neil and Larry at times seem to collaborate and at other times seem to be at each other's throats, throwing drunken punches and disrupting Goldy's catered parties. Drew was drugged with Rohypenol in his thermos of coffee, and cyanide in his flask of whiskey, and his murderer had then stabbed him with - what else? - an Ex-Acto knife. Neil and Larry think Drew has hidden away valuable maps of Texas and North America, and Neil suggests to Tom that possibly "Larry Craddock stole the Texas and North America maps after he dumped the poison into Wellington's coffee."

Complicating matters exponentially, Goldy thinks she sees her deceased husband's (whom she calls the "Jerk," because he beat her and cheated on her) killer, Sandee Brisbane, at the library, when she supposedly perished in a huge forest fire. Sandee had been raped by the Jerk, then took revenge on him by killing him. She'd previously murdered her own mother for not acting on the knowledge that her father had been abusing her, and probably had killed her father. She had also been writing threatening e-mails to Drew, whom she had reason to hate and potentially take revenge on. Tom and the other police at first doubt that Goldy has seen Sandee, though her body was never recovered from the forest fire, but soon they're convinced that rumors of her demise (to paraphrase Mark Twain) had been greatly exaggerated.

Sweet Revenge is another delectable mystery from Diane Mott Davidson that will entice you to read on until late into the night to finish it, only to hunger for the next course - er, novel - from the pen of this wonderful author. With so many suspects available, so many who had sufficient reasons to murder Drew - and Larry Craddock - it's difficult to narrow the possibilities down. Can you solve the mystery before Goldy? If you're looking for a fun, suspenseful, page-turning read (A bonus! There are actual recipes at the back of the back of some of the dishes Goldy prepares for her parties!) that won't add pounds to your waist, you can't go wrong with Sweet Revenge!

REVIEWED BY DOUGLAS R. COBB

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, DOUGLAS R. COBB


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