Dying for Chocolate
Diane Mott Davidson
Allison & Busby £17.99
Reviewed by Gwen Moffat
|This novel is strong on
culinary features. Goldy Bear is a single mother trying to earn
a reasonable living as cook in a private house while at the same
time catering to various functions in an up-market rural
community in Colorado. Recipes (given in full) will have
followers of TV chefs drooling: oozing as they are with cream,
butter, eggs, chocolate, and no regard to cost or calories. The
background is the foothills of the Rockies, the immediate
setting is Goldy's kitchen with its state of the art equipment,
its chandelier, the stray cat on the counter.
The book held me. Some Americans do live like this - and even
more would like to; the UK has no monopoly on obesity. The
characters are well-drawn; Goldy, the battered wife still
harassed by her ex-husband: a feisty woman but with the usual
and plausible excuses for having endured abuse for seven years.
She has a close relationship with her asthmatic son who, at
eleven, is poor at sport but a promising magician. Goldy is
likeable: friend rather than servant to her employer: a retired
general who was in intelligence and demolition (but no longer
proficient at either); she is friend rather than lover to two
men, one des-tined to be the first victim, the other a large and
somewhat colourless cop who investigates his murder - which was
accomplished by a surprising and possibly unique method.
Davidson researches carefully and her writing is smooth if the
reader makes allowances for Amercanisms. In the States it is as
acceptable to eat cold pasta and serve salad before the entrée
as it is to pour whisky over ice. Not wrong, just different.
Having said that, it' s refreshing to find an author who uses "as
if" for "like"
. The odd joke is neat and
all the loose ends are satisfactorily tied in a confession and a
scene that culminates in an attempt at murder involving poison,
Goldy and a stolen detonator.