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Dark Tort    by Diane Mott Davidson order for
Dark Tort
by Diane Mott Davidson
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I always enjoy spending time with Goldy Schulz and her serendipitous investigations, though I gain weight with every episode - reading about her scrumptious edibles tempts me to nibble as I turn pages. In Dark Tort, Goldy's thirteenth culinary adventure, she stumbles (literally) over a body in the legal offices of Hanrahan & Jule, where she's shown up to bake bread for a catered breakfast meeting the next morning.

Goldy is horrified to discover that she's tripped over the corpse of a good friend, young Dusty Routt, a paralegal at the firm who once dated Julian and whose impoverished family lives in a Habitat for Humanity house across the street from the Schulz home. Dusty's mother, who has a longstanding distrust of the police, demands that Goldy find out who killed her daughter. So, fueled by expressos, and with timeouts for Archie's driving lessons, follow-up on Roundhouse renovations, and catering gigs, Goldy digs for dirt.

The caterer is supported by the usual series suspects (the list has grown over the years): her supportive cop husband Tom; her catering apprentice Julian; her wealthy best buddy Marla, who can always be counted on for up-to-date gossip; her son Archie and his newly discovered half-brother Gus. Clues include a missing bracelet of Dusty's, and valuable paintings of food by deceased artist Charlie Baker. It seems that Dusty worked closely with Charlie, sorting out his legal affairs. Suspects range from Dusty's boyfriend to lawyers and a retired bishop.

As always, Davidson cooks up a clever plot and a mouthwatering story, in which readers learn the difference between a tort and a torte, while vicariously chopping, slicing, baking (and eating) alongside the PI caterer. The recipes - ranging from Dark Torte to Blue Cheesecake, with Strong-Arm Cookies en route - are listed at the back of this delicious book.

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