The Magazine for Crime & Mystery



Val McDermid Interview

Nevada Barr on writing HUNTING SEASON plus an excerpt

Paul Doherty's short story THE KYRIE MAN

Stark Contrasts Michael Carlson examines the pulp fiction of Richard Stark

Have you got what it takes to be a Writer? by Fiona Shoop

It Could Only Happen in Hollywood

Dying for Chocolate

Diane Mott Davidson

Allison & Busby £17.99

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Reviewed by Gwen Moffat

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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.

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