With the annoying and tired character of the Jerk (Goldy Schulz's ex-husband) gone, Diane Mott Davidson had an opportunity to create a new, improved direction for the series. Unfortunately, Ms. Davidson chose to change almost nothing . . . especially in keeping the catering clients (and guests) from hell and adding a new source of physical threats for Goldy. Why is it that Ms. Davidson cannot write a book without physical violence aimed at this character? I would like the series much better if Ms. Davidson could resist that particular temptation.
On the one hand, Sweet Revenge has a couple of appealing elements that fans of the series will like: Goldy has never done a better job of balancing the roles of mom, wife, friend, caterer, source for the sheriff's department, and detective; and Ms. Davidson presents us with a victim you'll love to hate. On the other hand, the plot is peculiarly convoluted and the mystery isn't mysterious enough to keep most readers interested. The plot seems unusually far-fetched. The recipes, however, are fun and will put you in the holiday spirit. Noteworthy offerings include Bleak House Bars, Unorthodox Shepherd's Pie, and Door-Prize Gingerbread.
At the end of Dark Tort, Sandee Brisbane admitted to killing the Jerk, who had raped her when she was a teen. Leaping into the inferno of a raging forest fire, Sandee was presumed dead . . . but no one ever found her remains. Why, then, is Goldy seeing someone who reminds her of Sandee driving . . . and later near a murder victim?
Being civic minded, Goldy agrees to cater the holiday celebration breakfast for the staff and volunteers of the Aspen Meadow library on a nonprofit basis. But her set-up the afternoon before is disrupted when local rare map dealer (and former DA) Drew Wellington is found dead just before the library closes. Suddenly, it seems like everyone in Aspen Meadow wants to question Goldy or get her help in one way or another. As the investigation proceeds, Goldy picks up more clues than the sheriff's department does . . . but can't seem to crack the case. But she does get to spend lots of time with obnoxious people.
Ms. Davidson is trying to make her stories more extreme. That's a mistake. Less is likely to be better when it comes to writing about Goldy Schulz . . . especially if the murder can be made actually mysterious rather than merely complex.
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I had not read this author for years and was delighted to find her readily available with a pair of new mysteries ... and LOTS of good recipes ... even if I'm 'over the hill' and not into 'doing fancy things' any more. She writes and cooks well ... and pleases me. I'm into re-reading these days and so read this AND her other recent one 2x pronto ... and enjoyed them as much or more the 2d time.
READ ON ::: and eat well ... or enjoy what others are eating.