The Whole Enchilada by Diane Mott Davidson

 

Cozy MysteryThe Whole Enchilada by Diane Mott DavidsonTheir sons were born on the same day 17 years ago. Now Goldy Schulz and her friend Holly Ingleby are having a joint belated birthday party for Arch and Drew. Goldy, Holly, and Goldy’s best friend Marla are all doctor’s ex-wives and had been part of a self-help group years earlier. Now they’re not as close but still good friends. The party went well and the boys had fun. Then Holly collapsed walking out to the car. She died before CPR could be administered. She appeared to have had a heart attack.

The next day numerous guests complained of hallucinogenic dreams. Most people react with the dreams. But it killed Holly. Goldy’s husband, Tom, a homicide detective, knows he can’t keep Goldy from doing her own investigating. She wants to know what happened to her friend and who killed her.

It is the beginning of a busy weekend for Goldy’s catering company. After the birthday party on Friday, there is a fund raiser for their church on Sunday and a wealthy family’s daughter’s twenty-first birthday party on Monday. Her father is very demanding and picky. Goldy still takes time out to visit Holly’s ex-husband and his new wife. He had stopped sending child support while he and Holly were battling in court over those payments. They had not been invited to Drew’s birthday party but came anyway. Holly made them leave without seeing his son.

Goldy has another problem she is trying to ignore for the time being. There is another woman in Aspen Meadows who is starting a catering business. She chooses a company name similar to Goldy’s, changes her appearance to look similar to Goldy, and paints her van like Goldy’s. Then she calls the church priest, the wealthy father and other clients Goldy has booked over the summer. She offers to undercut Goldy’s prices.

Diane Mott Davidson keeps Goldy’s stories cute. Davidson also continues Goldy’s personal story arc in The Whole Enchilada continues. Thing get chancy when Goldy is attacked not once, but twice, but since she’s the narrator of the book, the reader knows she survives. The recurring characters are busy. Arch and his half-brother spend most of the time together. This time they are working for the wealthy birthday girl’s fiance to make hiking paths in the nearby parks. Julian is now Goldy’s employee and fellow chef. “His” vegetarian recipes are included along with “Goldy’s” recipes at the end of the book. Tom’s coworker, Officer Boyd, is around to be Goldy’s body guard when it appears she may be a target. Marla is maintaining her healthy lifestyle while she helps with Goldy’s catering over the weekend. Tom is Tom – over protective and very loving husband who is also an excellent detective.

The recipes from Goldy’s and Julian’s kitchen at the end sound wonderful. There is one for a sugar free gelato for diabetics. There’s a vegetarian fudge recipe as well as a vegetarian torta. There’s also spinach dip – but its name is “Not So Skinny Spinach Dip”. Included within the story itself are cooking hints as well – for example, it never occurred to me that you could grill the meat separate from the vegetables in shish kabob then assemble them so you don’t have burnt vegetables. The ones I’d like to try? One for cinnamon French toast and one for spicy brownies.

The mystery is puzzling for the first half, but then things fall together for the reader. By the time the murderer was revealed in The Whole Enchilada I knew who and part of why (there was more that wasn’t too obvious). Davidson gives an ending to the book that could be the ending of the Culinary series. I don’t know if it is or not. It has a closed feeling to it, but the series is open enough that another book about Goldy and Aspen Meadows.

The Whole Enchilada is a comfortable murder mystery that is a pleasant escape (as long as you don’t dwell on the murder part, of course).

Notice: Non-graphic violence, Suggestive dialogue or situations

More books by Diane Mott Davidson
The Culinary Series at Stop! You’re Killing Me!

Link to Amazon.com BooksLink to BetterWorld Books

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