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Crunch Time    by Diane Mott Davidson order for
Crunch Time
by Diane Mott Davidson
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Goldie Schultz, Aspen Meadows full-time caterer and part-time unofficial criminal investigator, has a husband who is not too pleased with her. She is once again sticking her nose where he feels it doesn't belong.

A well-liked neighbor has been shot and killed. He became an investigator after leaving the local police department. Yolanda and her great aunt Ferdinanda were left homeless after their little rented cottage burned to the ground. Goldie and her husband Tom invite their friends to stay with them while they decide what to do.

The dead neighbor's house is torched. Yolanda and the incapacitated but feisty aunt - who is in a wheelchair because she was the victim of a hit-and-run - feel they are being stalked. Yolanda's ex-boyfriend abused her and she is afraid of him. And then ... oh, gosh, this gets complicated. Not too hard to follow but too hard to synopsize.

As always, Goldie ends up in the middle of trouble and narrowly escapes death and destruction. She's a gutsy woman, herself a victim of marital abuse in her first marriage. Now wed to a gentle police officer, she just can't keep from getting involved when she feels someone else will be harmed if she doesn't act. This makes for great dialogue between husband and wife.

Goldie caters a memorial dinner for the murdered neighbor and we are given the heavenly recipes for this meal to try ourselves. Tom is also a good cook and fixes luscious meals for Goldie. Where was he when I could have used some of that special care? It's always prime time for a Goldie Schultz mystery. And I, for one, am very pleased.

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